Wrestling mats by Dollamur @ Grapple in the Garden

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Grapple in the Garden

 

from teamusa.org

Plenty of stars put on show at Grapple at the Garden

The crowd of nearly 5,000 fans at the world’s most famous arena was treated to an amazing show.

Stars like World champion Joe Warren, World silver medalist Helen Maroulis, UFC champion Frankie Edgar, and NCAA champions Bubba Jenkins and Jesse Delgado provided much of the entertainment.

And a heavyweight from Cornell University delivered to lift his team to a dramatic win over Illinois in a battle of top-10 teams.

The second Grapple at the Garden event offered a unique and action-packed smorgasbord program of wrestling and the supportive Madison Square Garden crowd had plenty to cheer about on Sunday.

Jenkins won the main event in a battle of past NCAA champions at 163 pounds. Jenkins and former Penn State teammate Frank Molinaro were tied after regulation before Jenkins struck for the winning takedown to win 4-2 in overtime.

Jenkins, a past Junior World champion in freestyle, is now competing in mixed martial arts.

“It was a lot of fun because I got the win against a guy I don’t like that much,” Jenkins said. “I had more heart than he did. This is what I love to do and that’s what the crowd loves to see. It’s great to have a lot of MMA guys giving back to wrestling. It’s big for the sport.”

Edgar, well-known for being hugely successful in MMA, looked dominant in recording a quick fall over Phillipe Nover. Edgar and Nover compete in the lightweight division as fighters.

“It was great – it’s been eight years since I competed in wrestling,” Edgar said. “To be able to do this again, and my kids get to watch, it’s a blessing. Wrestling in the Garden, how can you say no to this? Wrestling is in my blood and it’s the best sport in the world. This is so cool that fans get to see a full array of wrestling out here. It’s the best of both worlds.”

The charismatic, high-energy Warren, a World champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and a Bellator mixed martial arts champion, delivered perhaps the best show for the fans.

Warren went for broke from start to finish, building a huge lead before body-locking and pinning Mike Torriero in his freestyle bout.

Warren led a group of current MMA stars with wrestling ties who took part in a dual meet in freestyle wrestling. A pumped-up Warren executed a back flip in celebration of his win Sunday.

“This was a lot of fun,” Warren said. “My first love is wrestling. We’ve got a huge Madison Square Garden full of people. This is my kind of place. Anything to help the kids and bring back wrestling, the baddest man on the planet will be there for. I was honored to be a part of this event.”

Past World Team member Shawn Bunch, who qualified the U.S. for the Olympics in 2012 at 60 kg/132 lbs. in freestyle, earned a 2-1 win over three-time NCAA Division II champion Waylon Lowe. Bunch prevailed despite looking about 20 pounds lighter than the burly Lowe.

 

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