By CRAIG HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
The first ever New York State-Hayastan Grappling Challenge Submission Only event was held Saturday at Fredonia High School, hosted by Norman?Yonkers and the Karate Connection.
With submission only, a match can last a minute or it can last an hour.
The match everyone in attendance will be talking about was the Superfight between WNY MMA’s Michael Dauenhauer and Buffalo BJJ’s Larry Backlas, as it lasted more than an hour and 40 minutes.
The match started 35 minutes before any other division began and by the time it was over, six champions were crowned.
“It’s a real technical major game of chess going on,” promoter Norman Yonkers said while watching the match. “A lot of times when you see that opening, these guys are so technical, they want to make sure it’s locked before taking that transition. It’s a game of inches and one inch can make a huge difference in the whole battle. Right now it’s for bragging rights. It’s a big deal to say you won a submission only rather than to say you beat them by points. Who is going to have the duration to go the distance?”
Dauenhauer used a triangle to submit Backlas for the win.
“I threw a triangle,” he explained. “I had been looking the whole time from the guard (position). I would throw it and he would block it. He did a great job blocking.”
While most in the stands realized how long the match had been going on for, Dauenhauer was oblivious to the time.
“Honestly, I thought we were 30-40 minutes in and the ref said about hour and a half,” he said. “I thought he was kidding. My brain said I was going to go for something. But then I thought he might think the same thing and he might try to end it, so I said forget it. I stayed relaxed and grinded it out. He gave me an opening and I took it.”
It was the longest match of Dauenhauer’s career and he admitted he has never rolled for more than an hour in practice.
“Backlas is good and we were evenly matched,” Dauenhauer said. “I knew it would be a lot of fun and a great match. Jiu Jitsu is a real feel game and with an equally good competitor, you can feel when you overstep it. I would go for something and feel him not giving it. If you go for something and miss it, then you give something. Its a give-take situation.”
More than 100 competitors competed in the event. The usual competitions Yonkers hosts has a time limit and a point system. This event was submission only.
“It’s the first one we have done,” Yonkers said. “It brings out a different bread in animals. Everyone seems to like it and says they will come back to it.”
Competitors came from Canada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Ohio.