Tobias Baker prepared for his Submission Underground debut against Charles Gilpin
Tobias Baker sat down and spoke to the Fightlete Report to talk about how the COVID-19 crisis has affected his training as well as how he feels about his next fight on Submission Underground 14.
Covid-19 has created a lot of uncertainty in the world; fortunately for UFC fans and fighters alike, the question of whether Submission Underground (SUG) 14 will take place on May 31 is not one of them. SUG, is continuing with its second event during the nationwide quarantine, which has left most other sports in the dark. Tobias ‘Heathen’ Baker is prepared to make his SUG debut fighting against Charles Gilpin at the event.
Baker and Gilpin are set to compete in a match this upcoming Sunday. Both men are wrestlers and are poised for an intense matchup. SUG hosts a different set of rules compared to various MMA competitions in that the rounds themselves are only five minutes long, and they are submission only.
Despite not fighting in many SUG fights before this one, Baker is confident that his typical strategy will still hold up.
“For me, that’s how I usually go into a fight; in that first five minutes, I want to get a finish,” Baker said. “I really like it because it creates a sense of urgency in the grappling. You can’t just lay there; you can’t just stall because it’s going to hurt you in the long run.”
Baker has also spoken of how the pandemic has affected his ability to train.
“I think the pandemic has caused more of a prohibition time—everybody training in secret. If you’re not training in secret and just doing strength and conditioning more power to you,” responded Baker. “A lot of lessons are learned from these times.”
Baker spoke with us about the changes he made to his training since his last fight against Aaron Thomson, which concluded with Baker losing by way of submission.
“After that, I got back into the gym, and I really buckled down on my Jiu-Jitsu. After I moved to American Top Team now, I’m dealing with some of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the country. Fabiano Scherner is an amazing professor,” said Baker. “I have all the tools that I need to show that I have a good ground game.”
Baker spoke of his opponent’s last performance, where Gilpin faced Jake Smith at SUG 13. Baker was unimpressed by the fight.
“When it comes down to it, sometimes it’s just that guy’s day. At the end of the day, Jake had to worry about his career,” Baker said. “He fights for Bellator, and he doesn’t want to risk it on a submission fight.”
“Maybe in a fight, that scenario is going to go a little different. Trying to avoid injury at all costs is really important, especially in a submission-only event. I definitely think it was an early tap,” Baker said. “He got that win, and I thought his wrestling was alright, it looked kind of weak. I’m excited to go in there and display my wrestling and show why it’s a different level.”
According to Baker, the venue is doing temperature checks and testing.
“Chael Sonnen changed the rules so now you have to wear a long sleeve rash guard and long sleeve spats. Even though you’re going to be sweating in each other’s faces, you can only avoid it so much. Obviously, they clean the cage between every match. I think they’re taking the most precautions you can possibly take."
Baker and Gilpin face off on May 31. The bout is available to stream exclusively through UFC Fight Pass.
Written by: Patryk Stepien