Josh looked up at me and smiled but for the first time I could see he was genuinely worried. The smile lacked any warmth or humour. It was only there to appease me. Tucker, on the hand, looked directly up at me too and, when he smiled, I could see the amusement in his eyes. This was a fight he'd been looking forward to and if he had been given carte blanche to wipe Josh out like I suspected, then he'd be chafing at the bits with enthusiasm.
Josh and Tucker faced each other and to my surprise, Tucker extended a handshake. Josh accepted it, no doubt suspiciously, and as they shook, Tucker suddenly squeezed. His bicep bulged as he crushed Josh's hand. Josh bowed under the pressure and Tucker swung his other arm around Josh's head.
Josh dropped to the ground, flipping Tucker over, but Tucker used his momentum to flip Josh back to the ground, all the while keeping his forearm wrapped around Josh's head.
Josh kept the momentum up and reversed the move again, but this time Tucker reached up, pressing his palm into Josh's pec and squeezing hard, his other arm still pulling down on Josh's head.
The pec claw forced Josh to try to roll off. Tucker took the advantage to roll onto him. Josh brought up a knee into Tucker's arse, knocking him off balance before he could gain control. The duo separated and turned to face each other on their knees.
They locked in a grapple and Tucker uppercut Josh in his injured shoulder. Josh yelped and Tucker slammed him to the ground, sitting on his face and laying a round of punches to Josh's gut.
Josh's feet swung up, catching Tucker around the head and flipping him off.
Back on their feet, they circled. Tucker swung a kick at Josh's ribs but Josh caught it, holding fast. Belying his bulk, Tucker launched his other foot in the air, using Josh's hold as leverage. He kicked Josh in the side of the head, sending him staggering sideways as he hit the ground with grunt.
Tucker sprung to all fours and pounced like a leopard as Josh saw stars. They crashed to the ground and Tucker squeezing hard on Josh's injured shoulder. Josh cried out as Tucker pinned Josh's other arm above his head. Josh bucked and struggled, but Tucker maintained the hold and the overpowering, sharp pain.
Josh punched Tucker in the neck and threw him off, rolling away and rising, rubbing his shoulder. As Tucker rose, Josh leapt into the air, landing a foot square on Tucker's chest. Tucker reeled backwards and Josh leapt forward, landing on the muscleman's torso and pounding a fist in Tucker's chest.
Tucker raised his hands to defend himself but Josh fisted his pec again, then grabbed one of Tucker's hands by the wrist and bent his fingers back. Tucker yelped and punched Josh in his explosed ribs, throwing him off again.
Tucker dropped on Josh's back and hooked him into a full nelson. He changed grip and lifted Josh's chest off the ground, hooking him into a camel clutch.
It was an impossible hold to escape from, and Tucker pulled back on Josh's neck more painfully than necessary. Josh rode the wave of pain that consumed him as his back arced unnaturally. Tucker held him in place with one arm around his throat. The other flexing for the sake of the appreciative crowd who had already witnessed a fight more evenly balanced than they would ever have expected against Tucker.
Josh's face was discolouring from the strain. His body convulsed with a sharp jerk, arcing him back slightly further. It was enough to throw Tucker off balance where he crouched. Josh yanked an arm free with a twist, freed his other arm and pulled Tucker's forearm from his thoat, all in a matter of seconds.
Never slow on the uptake, Tucker responded. He grabbed Josh's wrists, pinning his arms to the ground. Tucker was still on top and Josh was face down, leaving him no power to push up against Tucker's hold.
Josh forced his arms forward instead, sliding them along the ground above his head. Tucker fell on top of him, his grip still firmly around Josh's wrists.
Josh bucked, and pulled an arm free from Tucker's grip, but as he tried to roll over, Tucker hooked an arm into a half nelson. They rolled over but Josh was face up, leaving Tucker to maintain control behind him.
Josh rammed an elbow into Tucker's side. He pulled his arm free from the nelson and spun off Tucker and into a crouch. Tucker sprung to his knees but Josh was on him before he could gain his balance.
As their chests collided, Josh twisted an arm behind Tucker's back. They hit the ground and Josh grabbed Tucker's pec, squeezing hard, returning the favour of Tucker's earlier torture. Tucker yelped and squirmed, his powerful torso trusting out over the arm pinned behind his back.
He reached up and clawed Josh's face. Josh released him and fell away, clutching his eyes. Tucker threw himself onto Josh, wrapping one arm around the back of Josh's neck and the other reaching down to hook his leg. Tucker folded Josh's head and leg together in a cradle.
Josh's mouth hung open as he tried to press his leg down against Tucker's hold, but Tucker had locked him up firmly, clasping both hands together to hold the position. With one hand trapped under Tucker's body, Josh swung his other fist over, striking Tucker's pec. Tucker grunted but held on until Josh punched at him again, loosening the hold just enough for Josh to power out of it.
They staggered to their feet and Tucker lunged at Jacob, only to have Jacob side step him and pull their bodies together from behind. Josh forced one of Tucker's arms under his own armpit and locked Tucker into an abdominal stretch. Tucker's free arm grasped at Josh's knee fruitlessly as Josh pounded his exposed chest and stomach.
Tucker's free arm swung up, punching Josh square in the face. It broke all rules of engagement and sent Josh reeling backward, clutching his face. Tucker grabbed him around the waist from behind and lifted Josh off his feet and over the shoulder into a break breaker. Josh cried out as he arched backwards over Tucker's shoulder. His arms flailed in the air while Tucker's arms wrapped tightly around his legs and he bounced up and down.
The debilitating hold left Josh contorted in pain as Tucker finally dropped him to the ground. Rolling Josh onto his back, Tucker pounded a fist into Josh's injured shoulder, and I saw Josh's mouth open in a powerful scream that was only drowned out by the onlooking crowd's bloodlust.
Satisfied by the reaction, Tucker landed another fist in Josh's shoulder and this time Josh rolled onto his shoulder, keeping it out of reach. It left him side on to Tucker. Such a fatal move could only be a sign of how much pain he was in, and it was exactly what Tucker needed to go in for the kill...