Dave Markus is a superstar by any standards. I may be torn over his audacious body frills of late (the frosted hair, the tats, the piercings), but as a submission wrestler, he is more god than man. In Davide Stefano, however, he may have just hit a wall. Markus's match with Stefano could be the toughest of either wrestler's Movimus career (this is only Stefano's second, following his April debut against Case "CT" Thornton). It gets sweaty fast, and it stays sweaty and breathtakingly intense for the full stretch, five falls in all, in 33 minutes. Fine camerawork adds to the excitement, circling the athletes up close as the contest nears its climax. Throughout, Dave and Davide acquit themselves like gentlemen and sportsmen, but a fight's a fight, and these gents kill it.
The first submission occurs at the video's midpoint. It's a win for the Italian. Dave is unruffled. He prefers to win, but he accepts that in this instance he's been out-maneuvered--and by a stronger, heavier adversary. It's not his first loss, and he knows how to take a pounding, come up for air, and jump right back into the scrap. Davide is the very picture of calm from start to finish. He's a tactician. He keeps Dave on his back for as long as he can, limiting the options for self-defense, gradually wearing the man down. For all their outward composure, there is tension; the strain and swelling of their muscles and the lavish perspiration tell us what their faces do not. Each knows he is facing tough competition. The remaining four falls seemingly accelerate as the two bodies struggle with fatigue.
I count this match as one of Movimus's all-time best. This one belongs in the collection of anyone even mildly drawn to the sport and science of submission wrestling. (Happily, Movimus is running a sale that started yesterday and lasts through Monday. You can take 20% off purchases of $25 or more, 40% off purchases of $50 or more.)