Card preview: SUG 13 – Sonnen’s SUG shoulders the combat scene once again

LIVE SPORT. You read right, live sport is back this weekend as Chael Sonnen delivers the 13th instalment of his Submission Underground (SUG) promotion via UFC Fight Pass, featuring a bout between arguably the greatest two active grapplers on the planet right now. Portland, Oregon is set to host the event which sees Craig Jones and Vinny Magalhaes put their undefeated submission grappling records on the line in a mouthwatering main event.

‘Mr VanZant’ Austin Vanderford faces the ‘Boogeyman’ Richie Martinez in an equally interesting curtain-jerker, while other anticipated bouts see UFC veteran Jake Ellenberger looking to make good on an upset loss in the last SUG event, and Diaz brothers pupil Nick Maximov promising to make a splash on the big stage. Check out the full card in our preview, along with our predictions for each.

WHERE TO WATCH: UFC Fight Pass (Subscription)



Australian heel hook extraordinaire Craig Jones takes on Brazilian BJJ and MMA veteran Vinny Magalhaes in the night’s main event, with both men looking to further push their names toward the ambiguous title of ‘world’s best’ with victory. Though the two have never previously faced-off, they have a mutual opponent in Gordon Ryan – the third name in the hat for being the best active grappler on the planet. Jones was defeated via rear-naked choke by Ryan in the famed QUINTET format, but Magalhaes got a leg up on the American in 2018 in a lengthy battle. Given combat maths seldom makes sense, it’s probably best we just appreciate the show rather than read too much into that. Four-time BJJ world champion Magalhaes backs himself against anyone, but will have to pull off something special here given the format and how aggressive Jones will be, but we already know how sound his defence is. It will have to be on early, and he should test Jones should the bout get to overtime.

Predicition: Jones in overtime.


The co-main event pits two fighters who don’t back down from a challenge against each other, as 10th Planet cult hero Richie Martinez takes on the man dubbed ‘Mr VanZant’ online. Uncle Chael told a story of how Martinez, unknown to him at the time approached him on the streets of Hawaii looking to take on Jake Shields in the SUG promotion. The bearded ‘Boogeyman’ won via armbar against the revered MMA veteran, again setting up an interesting combat maths triangle. Vanderford, an undefeated MMA pro of Bellator fame across multiple weight classes, lost to Shields upon getting his own chance, but don’t let that or his online stature take away from his credentials. This will be another great test for the up-and-comer against a seasoned black belt, and a win would do wonders for the current brown belt going forward. Martinez is the vet though, and will come in as favourite.

Prediction: Martinez in overtime.


UFC veteran Jake Ellenberger will be on the hunt for redemption in his bout against Brazilian whiz Gabriel Checco, hoping to rectify a disappointing loss in his last SUG appearance. The 35-year-old suffered an upset loss to Ben Egli last time out and was, well, upset by the defeat. Despite having a hard time of it both in and out of the octagon of late, there is no denying the American’s credentials, with 31 professional MMA wins under his belt. But Ellenberger faces a tricky opponent in Checco, who will be no freebie on the road to redemption. Nicknamed ‘Zangief’ after the Street Fighter character, Checco is 1-0 in the SUG promotion and was previously scheduled to fight Vanderford. This is the match-up though, and it should be a good one.

Prediction: Ellenberger in regulation.


Four fighters are set to return to the promotion after bouts at SUG 12, starting with Jake Smith in his bout against Charles Gilpin. After defeating George Martinez last time out, we think he gets the chocolates here too with more experience under his belt. Maximov is one of the more hyped features on the card, set to tussle with Joe Baize. The Nick Diaz Academy graduate has an undefeated resume at 22 years of age, and looks the goods. Two SUG 12 winners in Don Stone and Alex Larmey match-up down the order, with both men able to push the pace and show their willingness to play to the submission format. While he didn’t get the submission last time out as Stone did, expect Larmey to again impress. Another returning fighter, Cris ‘Sunshine’ Lencioni will be keen to back up his submission win over Logan Skinner, before Andrew Alexander and Ethan Crelinstein take to the mat.


Jake Smith v. Charles Gilpin

Nick Maximov v. Joe Baize

Don Stoner v. Alexander Larmey

Ethan Crelinstein v. Andrew Alexander

Cris Lencioni v. Austin Daffron

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