Firm Grip

Shawn Duncan vs Kurtis Rivers: The Rematch (Movimus)

The Rivers vs Duncan rematch at Movimus absolutely satisfies my yearning for hard grappling competition. Both are noted for their strength and mat savvy, and the give and take here would be difficult to improve on. Shawn is the more expressive of the two, his face advertising each victory and each agony with infectious enthusiasm. Kurtis is a cool and steady mat scientist, not much for emotion, but strong on kill instinct. It hasn't been two months since these two first tangled. If, as I said in May, the two wrestlers had chemistry befitting opponents who have been fighting for years, here they seem to be inside each other's head, one suspenseful minute to the next.

With 90 seconds left at the end, Rivers and Duncan are tied 2:2, having averaged a fall by submission every five or six minutes. Sixty seconds later, it's a done deal, with one guy swaggering off a victor while the other writhes, exhausted and humiliated, face down on the mat.

Newcomers Martin and Basset follow Rivers and Duncan up with another fine event. This is Luke's third time on the Movimus mats, Tanner's second. If hairy-chested Basset thinks the teen in green will be a pushover, Martin gives him cause to rethink his presumption. Tanner may have the angelic looks of a Billy Budd and the disarming smirk of a boy-band baritone - but the kid confidently controls Luke for more than two-thirds of the match. At one point he lifts his opponent off his feet and dismissively slaps him down on the mat. Though both men smilingly shake hands afterwards, the move ratchets up the fight's intensity, speeding to the contest's first fall just a minute or so later.

The score is tied shortly after the midpoint, and the last nine minutes sees two more submissions, leading to as decisive a victory as I have seen.

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