Submission Underground is back in Portland on Sunday, January 29th for SUG3. Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground grappling series has been nothing short of a massive success. The first two events featured some of the best jiu jitsu practitioners and mixed martial artists on the planet. For the promotion’s third installment, Sonnen and crew have again pulled out all the stops. This card is sure to excite MMA fans and jiu jitsu nerds alike as it features multiple jiu jitsu world champions, two former UFC title challengers, and even a former Olympic judoka. In total, this event is tentatively scheduled to feature 18 matches. This card will air live on FloGrappling.com. The complete main card is listed below.
- Dillon Danis vs AJ Agazarm
- Jeff Glover vs Chad Mendes
- Gordon Ryan vs Joe Baize
- Hector Lombard vs Garry Tonon
- Jeff Monson vs Ronny Markes
***As always, card is subject to change
Are you not yet sold on this card? Are you an MMA fan who appreciates jiu jitsu and just wants to see some of the best competitors in the world do the damn thing? Are you still not sure who some of these guys are? Well allow me to help you out.
Who You’ll Want to Know
Dillon Danis – Danis is a hot name at the moment. He recently garnered national attention when Conor McGregor inquired about his services as a jiu jitsu instructor prior to his second fight with Nate Diaz. With the McGregor seal of approval, Danis has quickly become known as, “Conor McGregor’s jiu jitsu coach” to some MMA fans. That isn’t the worst distinction in the world but far from why you should care about the Marcelo Garcia black belt. 2014 was truly a breakout year for him on the jiu jitsu circuit. He won the Pan American Championship (brown belt), Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship (brown), and World Championship (brown). His competition as a black belt is not as highly decorated just yet but he did win the Pan American No Gi Championship in two separate divisions in 2016. Having momentum on his side and riding a wave of popularity Danis is certainly someone to watch at SUG3.
AJ Agazarm – Agazarm is a prolific jiu jitsu competitor. His championships and competition wins are staggering. With over 80 career competition wins, he has finished nearly half of all his opponents by submission. He is a very well rounded competitor and is a former division 1 collegiate wrestler. His takedowns and scrambles are highly regarded and his control techniques (thanks to his wrestling prowess) have given him a decided edge in many of his matches. He is a beloved member of the Gracie Barra family and is a black belt under Eduardo De Lima and Carlos Gracie Junior. With a wealth of experience it is clear why he was asked to headline this card with Danis.
Joe Biaze – Here’s the thing about Joe Biaze. If you know who he is and you are about to have a match him you know that your legs are in danger. Biaze is one of those people who just have a gift for finding the leg-lock. Just ask his SUG2 opponent, Shaun Kiatvongcharoen, who was submitted by him in just 34 seconds in their meeting. If you need more assurance, as a mixed martial artist, he has 7 of his 11 career wins coming by leg-lock as well. With a specialist like him on the card, it will make for an intense match, as everyone in the room will know what to be watching for. Biaze may not be the most decorated guy in the room but he is certainly one of the most dangerous.
Garry Tonon – For fans of jiu jitsu, Tonon is a name people love to talk about and rightfully so. He is a black belt under highly regarded coaches, Tom DeBlass and Ricardo Almeida. Tonon is a no gi jiu jitsu specialist and is a multiple time no gi world champion. Additionally, Tonon has won the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) three years in a row and in 2015 he won the event in two separate divisions. His experience at EBI events plays heavily in his favor as SUG uses a modified version of the EBI rules. He has won over 75% of all tournament matches he has competed in and has only been submitted twice in competition throughout his career. Tonon will be a welcomed addition to the night’s matches and is my pick for top athlete to watch at this event. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was asked back to headline SUG4.
What You’ll Want to Watch For
Finishes – The format of SUG has proven to promote the finish. In the first two events, 24 of the 32 matches ended in a submission. That is 75% of all matches being finished. Paying close attention is recommended as these submission experts can finish a fight at a moment’s notice.
The Return of Chad Mendes – Chad Mendes has been absent from major competition since his loss to Frankie Edgar in December of 2015. Shortly thereafter, Mendes was handed a two-year suspension for taking a banded substance. He will not be eligible to fight professionally until June of 2018. That being said, he is surely inching for competition. As a lifetime athlete and two-time division 1 NCAA All-American, the transition to mixed martial arts was a smooth one for Mendes. His success led him to fight for UFC gold on two occasions. Inside the cage, he is known as a wrestler with great punching power but an often-overlooked aspect of his game is his jiu jitsu. While he is certainly more of a wrestling based grappler, his attack on the neck is devastating. He has a powerful grip and if he can find a position to lock up a guillotine, he can finish just about anyone. It will be interesting to see how Mendes looks physically and just how comfortable he looks inside the cage.