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Australian grappling ace Craig Jones didn’t have much of an
audience at Submission Underground 12, but it didn’t matter.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and decorated grappling champion
tapped out UFC and Bellator veteran — and Rickson Gracie black belt
Kevin
Casey
with a heel hook at the 2:40 mark of regulation, earning
a verbal submission from his opponent.

Due to coronavirus concerns, Submission Underground 12 took place
behind closed doors at a facility formerly used as a grain silo in
Portland. That wasn’t all in terms of precautions: Only one
cameraman was allowed in the venue, and Chael
Sonnen
, the founder of SUG, served as a commentator via UFC
Fight Pass from a remote location outside the venue. Additionally,
the cage was sanitized in between matches.

“I’m getting way too much credit for this,” Sonnen told
UFC.com
prior to the event. “We had this on the calendar. A
deal is a deal and we said we were moving forward and there’s a lot
of people involved with this. People who have trained, people who
have goals, people who, in all fairness, need to make a living. Not
just the athletes, either; we’re talking production and everything.
There’s just a lot of dominoes and if you say you’re going to do
something in this space, you do it.”

In the co-main event, Ben Egli
threatened with multiple submissions before eliciting a tapout from
retired UFC veteran Jake
Ellenberger
at the 3:30 mark of their match. Egli, an Oregon
based mixed martial artist with an 11-3 mark, attacked with a
guillotine choke and a triangle before submitting his opponent with
an americana.

Egli was a replacement for Carlos
Condit
, who dropped out of the event in the wake of the
COVID-19 pandemic. UFC talent Roxanne
Modafferi
also pulled out of the event ahead of time. “Roxanne
was very sweet about it,” Sonnen said. “She did everything in her
power but said simply, ‘I just don’t want to get on an airplane
right now.’ Which, full respect to. Carlos Condit wanted to come,
but he called me and said, ‘I’ve got no training partners.’ I guess
the gym kind of dried up. Jake Ellenberger is a hard match, they
fought one time and it was a razor close decision on short
notice.”


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