It's showtime! In the world of martial arts, we have the luxury of seeing high-level combatants perform live on Pay Per View or live streaming from our phones, tablets and smart TV. So Bellator MMA, Legacy Fighting Alliance, and the UFC draw fans in droves. The best part of watching mixed martial arts for me is the fact that most MMA superstars have a background in top-level tournament competition today specifically I am talking about wrestling. We hear TV announcer Joe Rogan speak highly of wrestling in the MMA world and for a good reason. UFC Legend and former champion George St. Pierre is known for training diligently with the National Canadian wrestling team. Yes, it is true wrestling only a piece of a puzzle for a successful MMA artist, but I would suggest it is the largest.
Many MMA fighter consider their wrestling skill level to be top notch. However, This weekend June 9th - June 10th USA Wrestling is going to be a wrestlers workshop in other words 'Must See TV.' These men will be fighting tournament style all day, match after match, at the end of the tournament we will crown 8 champions who will then be representing the United States in the 2017 Senior World Championships. I am looking forward to seeing David Taylor III battle with J'den Cox in the 189 lb/86kg division.
David Taylor is on a mission to get where all the scouts said he would be which is an Olympic gold medalist. So let me break this down. There is a man by the name of Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan (2012 Olympic gold medalist) well David Taylor defeated him, Taylor then went on to defeat Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran) who won the 2016 Olympics at 74kg/163lb. So now we have J'den Cox an Olympic Bronze Medalist of the 2016 games, J'den is a 3x NCAA Divison 1 National Champion and also holds victories over David Taylors nemesis 4x NCAA champion Kyle Dake. These two wrestlers are on a collision course for greatness, and it's happening this weekend June 9th - June 10th.
We also have Kyle Dake competing at 74kg/163lbs he will be looking to earn a rematch with the most dominate American wrestler since 2012 Jordan Burroughs. These two have wrestled so many times, will we see more of the norm or does Dake have what it takes to change the trend? Unlike the NBA there are no substitutions or free agents to help get over the hump. If Kyle Dake plans on representing the United States at Senior Worlds his journey goes through Jordan Burroughs.
If you like flash, aggression, athleticism, and pressure Jordan Oliver is your man to watch 65 kg/143 lbs. The weight class is stacked with hungry competitors all of them see themselves as the best Jordan Oliver will be mindful of opponents like Zain Retherford, Frank Molinaro and welcome back BJ Futrell. I am looking to see how this weight division irons out.
There is plenty more talent to watch; this is just a glimpse of what USA Wrestling has to offer If you are a fan of MMA or Olympic style wrestling make sure to check this event out.
*side note: United World Rankings courtesy of TAYLOR MILLER, USA WRESTLING | JUNE 05, 2017 No. 1 at 97 kg – Kyle Snyder, Woodbine, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) No. 2 at 70 kg – James Green, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC/Nebraska RTC) No. 3 at 61 kg – Logan Stieber, Columbus, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) No. 4 at 74 kg – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska RTC) No. 5 at 86 kg – J’den Cox, Columbia, Mo. (Missouri Wrestling Foundation) No. 6 at 86 kg – David Taylor, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC) No. 15 at 125 kg – Dom Bradley, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids WC) No. 16 at 57 kg – Tyler Graff, New Brunswick, N.J. (Titan Mercury WC) No. 16 at 65 kg – Bernard Futrell, Philadelphia, Pa. (Titan Mercury WC/Pennsylvania RTC) No. 19 at 74 kg – Alex Dieringer, Stillwater, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC)