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The Burroughs Project

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  • The Burroughs Project


    We at The Burroughs Project are dedicated to discussing how Isaiah Martinez (hereinafter "IMAR") can beat the all-time great Jordan Burroughs at Final X on June 15 in Lincoln, Nebraska. To do this, we have assembled a group of the best wrestling analysts from across the globe, including Ben Askren and Sun Tzu. The first order of business, of course, is to know our enemy.


    Jordan Burroughs is a medium-sized land mammal of the Family: Hominidae, with a scientific species name of Homo Sapien. He is believed to be between the ages of 30 and 60, and weigh from 150 to 300 pounds. He enjoys cooking salmon and pineapple, which he apparently ingests at some point.

    Burroughs will have a hometown crowd and home cooking, including that tasty salmon and pineapple dinner. He has experience in age, and in having wrestled many tough freestyle matches while facing great pressure. He is very quick and has the advantage of having won the last Final X matchup with IMAR by a 2-0 count. So, how does IMAR beat him this time?

    Our panel of experts has determined that IMAR must wrestle like a Russian. Trying to out-quick Burroughs, even at his advanced age, is not a winner. On the other hand, the major problems that Burroughs has had in the past have been caused by Russian wrestlers.


    Burroughs' first World Championship loss came to Russian Denis Tsargush. His first loss in the Olympics was to Russian Aniuar Geduev, and his last loss in a World Championship came to current World Champion Zaurbek Sidakov, a Russian.


    Let us look at the match between Burroughs and Sidakov. As you can see from the video, Sidakov is taller and leaner than IMAR. He almost looks gangly. On the other hand, he is an underhook specialist like the ILLINI legend.

    At the beginning of the match it is apparent that Sidakov wants to tie up with Burroughs. Burroughs lets him. At the :31 second mark, the Russian has his first underhook dug in. Within a couple of seconds, tries a shrug that looks amazingly like the one in this IMAR video for Rudis:

    Sidakov is unsuccessful because his shrug is too powerful, and Burroughs is flung across the mat. This is evidence that the great Jordan Burroughs can be susceptible to the short offense. Up to this point, Burroughs has attempted two ankle grabs, which weren't true ankle picks. He just reached out and tried to grab the Russian's ankle. The ref is not buying it, and gives Burroughs a first caution for stalling at :49.

    (Doubtful that IMAR can count on something like that in Lincoln.).

    At 1:14, Sidakov digs in his second underhook. At 1:40, the ref puts Jordan Burroughs on the clock. At 1:54, Sidakov digs in his third underhook. While still on the clock, Burroughs tries a shrug, but doesn't get much separation.

    This is where Sidakov commits wrestling malpractice and should have lost the match:

    How many times have we seen a Burrough's re-attack while sitting on his haunches? At a minimum, Sidakov should've had his hands up to push Burroughs to the side. Defend yourself at all times! Instead of going up 1-0, the Russian gives up the takedown and goes down 0-2.

    According to Google, a snake has a striking distance equal to a third to a half the snake's length. The striking distance of a Jordan Burroughs is up to eight-feet away.

    At 2:35, Sidakov is jamming in his fourth underhook, and he is doing it with authority, like IMAR. By 2:38, he's running a head-pinch and moving quickly around Burroughs who is trying to step over him. Burroughs fails, and Sidakov secures the takedown via head-pinch. Here's a video of Ben Askren teaching the IMAR head-pinch:

    At 4:38 of the Burroughs/Sidakov video, the Russian again commits malpractice and is not ready for a Burroughs re-attack. For this one, he wisely stepped out, giving up only one point. This gives the American the 3-2 lead. Sidakov attempts a sloppy double at 5:45 and ends up in a front headlock for a few energy-draining seconds. That's not how you score on Burroughs!

    At 7:12, Sidakov proves me a liar and shoots a very ugly high-crotch/single leg from distance and scores. Burroughs definitely lost a step there. Burroughs comes back and scores with 8.4 seconds left on the clock with a snatch single that he turns into a double. That gives him the lead. Sidakov's winning move was to dive at Burrough's ankle, work his way up, and with time expiring, carry the American off the mat.


    Burroughs was susceptible to the short offense of an under-hooker. Sidakov was remarkable in his ability to hit those moves with violence and speed. On the other hand, the Russian was dim-witted when it came to Burroughs' re-attacks. Sidakov disguised much of his offense with hand-fighting. Later in the match, Burroughs became susceptible to leg attacks.

    Although the transitive property is not too useful, it can provide some encouragement. During the last World Cup, IMAR beat the Iranian by the same margin that World Champion Sidakov beat the Iranian.


  • #2
    One drill that I would run with IMAR would deal exclusively with Jordan Burroughs' re-attacks. He scores a lot of points using the element of surprise on re-shots. You are so busy patting yourself on the back for defending his original shot, you don't protect yourself as he springs across the mat from his haunches or from his knees.

    First, I'd make sure IMAR had knee pads and soccer shin guards on. Then, I'd have him face two quick, athletic guys (maybe Emery Parker and Coach Poeta). Have one guy shoot in, then as soon as IMAR defends it and before he can completely stand up, have the other guy dive at his ankles.

    Burroughs scored most of his points against Sidakov (3) with these re-shots.

    GO IMAR!!!


    • #3
      Your posts never lack effort. When is that match series? How does this effect the Olympics?
      There are two guys in that zebra costume! Very funny...


      • #4
        June 15th.... Winner goes to the Olympics


        • #5
          Originally posted by ChiefIllini1 View Post
          One drill that I would run with IMAR would deal exclusively with Jordan Burroughs' re-attacks. He scores a lot of points using the element of surprise on re-shots. You are so busy patting yourself on the back for defending his original shot, you don't protect yourself as he springs across the mat from his haunches or from his knees.

          First, I'd make sure IMAR had knee pads and soccer shin guards on. Then, I'd have him face two quick, athletic guys (maybe Emery Parker and Coach Poeta). Have one guy shoot in, then as soon as IMAR defends it and before he can completely stand up, have the other guy dive at his ankles.

          Burroughs scored most of his points against Sidakov (3) with these re-shots.

          GO IMAR!!!
          It would be poetic for I-Mar to beat Burroughs, the man who kept Poeta from 2 NCAA titles.


          • #6
            Originally posted by HuffHall View Post
            June 15th.... Winner goes to the Olympics
            Is it? I thought the trials were next year? This is for worlds.


            • #7
              Sorry yes my bad, the match is June 15th you are correct on the other part, my head was up my arse


              • #8
                Originally posted by dadudaman4 View Post
                It would be poetic for I-Mar to beat Burroughs, the man who kept Poeta from 2 NCAA titles.
                It would be ultra poetic for IMAR to beat Burroughs by wrestling from his knees, like Burroughs did most of his title match against Poeta. What's good for the goose....

                A couple other notes before we break down the Geduev match. First, there are people at claiming that Burroughs won't let IMAR dig in his underhooks. Well, in the Sidakov match, the Russian dug in at least 8 underhooks. He was tenacious about it.

                I think IMAR will want to be in Burroughs' face as much of the match as possible, which will mean using his most comfortable weapon. If you stay in his face--and I mean right in his face the whole match--there is a greater chance that Burroughs (a) won't wind up one of those double legs for exposure points, (b) will get tired, or (c) will get flustered.

                Moreover, within 40 seconds of the start of the first match between IMAR and Burroughs at Final X last year, we see an underhook. I think he didn't do it sooner because he tried a head-pinch first and Burroughs took a shot!

                Second, I want to analyze the first Final X between these two guys, but I don't know how much value that will have. It was almost like IMAR was happy to be there last year. (Like Illinois State in the NCAA basketball tournament). This year, IMAR's riding high, just got engaged, and dominated an old rival. I think the intensity (which was pretty good last year) will be at an entirely different level.

                GO IRTC!!!


                • #9
                  Jordan Burroughs versus Aniuar Geduev

                  The first thing to note is that Geduev is the exact opposite of Sidakov. The latter is lanky and almost seems goofy-footed. Geduev looks more like IMAR if IMAR was on steroids. Moreover, Geduev is more of a brawler, while Sidakov is a tactician.

                  This match occurred in the 2016 Olympics, and it had lasted all of 9 seconds before the ref had to warn Burroughs for slapping Geduev in the head (obvious foul) and then with the match stopped, Geduev shoved Burroughs in the chest (very obvious foul).

                  Within the first thirty seconds, Geduev has a front headlock on Jordan Burroughs and tries to walk it around. He is unsuccessful. That had to take a lot out of the American. Nothing much happens for the rest of the first minute except that the Russian's head slapping opens up a cut on Burroughs' forehead.

                  After blood time, Burroughs shoots a slow single and gets to eat mat in another front headlock. Geduev doesn't try to roll with the headpinch, he just tries to walk it around. He is unsuccessful. But it must be taking a toll on Burroughs.

                  (For the first 1:42 of the match, Geduev has kept Burroughs distant with head pushes, or he's kept him up close with tight ties.)

                  Even with nothing but defensive front headlocks, it is Burroughs who is put on the shot clock. He tried to score but couldn't. Russia 1; USA 0. It is not until 2:31 in the match that Burroughs touches one of Geduev's legs. That was a touch and not a grab.

                  Geduev jumps the gun on the restart (you can see him shooting and the ref has just started to raise his hand, and by the time he's into Burroughs' legs, the ref's hand comes down). This weak-kneed ref let him get away with it! He pulls in a single and makes Burroughs dance around for a few seconds before time runs out on the first period.

                  In the second frame, Burroughs finally wakes up and begins to wrestle. Still, Geduev keeps position and ends up pushing the American out for one point. Russia 2; USA 0. Twice Burroughs gets distracted because Geduev got him in the Roman Knuckle locks with his fingers, and while Burroughs was trying to wave Geduev's hand off of his, the Russian shot single legs. The second one he pushed Burroughs out for another point. Russia 3; USA 0.

                  (While this is all going on, there are multiple blood time outs for Burroughs' cut. Geduev gets at least 5 minutes of rest during the match.)

                  With 47 seconds left and down 0-3, Burroughs finally snags a single leg and lifts it up. Geduev leaps away. With ten seconds left, Burroughs finally goes behind on a single. (Geduev must have thought that was the safe thing to do.). Final 3-2.

                  CONCLUSION Geduev did not score with the front headlock, but it won him this match. It put a lot of stress on Burroughs and sapped a lot of his energy. A winning match from IMAR will have at least a couple of front headlocks like this:

                  Perhaps walk it around for a little bit then arch for exposure? Depends on IMAR's gameplan: Tire him out or go for the big points. Seems that the old Roman Knuckle lock is a bit of a pet peeve for Burroughs. He gave up a single leg twice trying to free his hand. It only cost him one point, but in a 3-2 match, one point is very dear.

                  GO ILLINI!!!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HuffHall View Post
                    Sorry yes my bad, the match is June 15th you are correct on the other part, my head was up my arse
                    To narrow it down the best we can, we know that Session 2 in Lincoln on June 15th starts at 6:00 pm. I imagine this is Central Time Zone, but the idjits didn't specify. IMAR's first best-of-three match with Burroughs will be the headliner:

                    Session Two – 6:00 p.m.

                    Bout 1: Women’s FS 62 kg – World bronze medalst Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Kayla Miracle (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC)
                    Bout 2: Women’s FS 53 kg – World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/OTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion vs. Katherine Shai (Denver, Colo./Titan Mercury WC)
                    Bout 3: Women’s FS 76 kg – World champion Adeline Gray (Denver, Colo./New York AC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Precious Bell (Lancaster, Calif./unattached)
                    Bout 4: Men’s GR 130 kg – World silver medalist Adam Coon (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC/Cliff Keen WC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Cohlton Schultz (Parker, Colo./Sunkist Kids/EAP)
                    Bout 5: Men’s FS 61 kg – World bronze medalist Joe Colon (Fresno, Calif./Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Tyler Graff (Princeton, N.J./Titan Mercury WC/NJRTC)
                    Bout 6: Men’s FS 97 kg – World silver medalist Kyle Snyder (Columbus, Ohio/Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Kyven Gadson (Ames, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC/Cyclone RTC)
                    Bout 7: Men’s FS 70 kg – U.S. Open champion Ryan Deakin (Broomfield, Colo./Titan Mercury WC/Chicago RTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion James Green (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC)
                    Bout 8: Men’s FS 57 kg – U.S. Open champion Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Thomas Gilman (Iowa City, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)
                    Bout 9: Men’s FS 74 kg – World bronze medalist Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Isaiah Martinez (Champaign, Ill./Titan Mercury WC/Illinois RTC)

                    Max Nowry and Ellis Coleman are co-headlining Session 1 at Rutgers at 12 noon (Eastern Time Zone, I presume):

                    FINAL X: RUTGERS
                    At the RAC in Piscataway, N.J., Saturday, June 8

                    Session One – 12:00 noon

                    Bout 1: Men’s GR 87 kg – U.S. Open champion Joe Rau (Chicago, Ill./Titan Mercury WC/Chicago RTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Ben Provisor (State College, Pa./New York AC/Nittany Lion WC)
                    Bout 2: Women’s FS 72 kg – U.S. Olympic champion Alyvia Fiske (Napa, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Victoria Francis (Litchfield, Ill./Titan Mercury WC)
                    Bout 3: Men’s GR 82 kg – U.S. Open champion Kendrick Sanders (Marquette, Mich./New York AC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion John Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps)
                    Bout 4: Women’s FS 50 kg –U.S. Open champion Whitney Conder (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Victoria Anthony (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids)
                    Bout 5: Men’s GR 55 kg – U.S. Open champion Max Nowry (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Brady Koontz (Plover, Wis./Ohio RTC)
                    Bout 6: Men’s GR 67 kg – U.S. Open champion Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Jamel Johnson (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps)
                    Bout 7: Women’s FS 57 kg – U.S. Open champion Becka Leathers (Chapel Hill, N.C./Titan Mercury WC/Tarheel RTC) vs. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion Jenna Burkert (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

                    GO IRTC!!!


                    • #11
                      Jordan Burroughs versus Denis Tsargush

                      Burroughs' first loss to an international wrestler came to Russian Denis Tsargush in the 2014 World Championships. Tsargush won 9-2, but this was an injured Burroughs, who had an entire leg wrapped. This is what the American looked like in the match:

                      Tsargush was the heir to the great Russian Buvaisar Saitiev in just about every way possible. Like Saitiev, Tsargush was not an imposing figure. But he was a good tactician, and he loved the 2-on-1 Russian hold. This is a picture of Tsargush using that hold on Burroughs in the 2014 World Championships:

                      This makes three different Russians who have beaten Burroughs, each with a different body type and a different go-to move. All very Russian. I'm not going to do a description of the 2014 World Championship match because Burroughs was a wounded warrior, and it would be a waste of time.

                      The 2012 Olympics

                      On the other hand, Burroughs and Tsargush had a great match up at the 2012 Olympics. This was back when FILA had the possibility of three two-minute periods in a match. During that era, Tsargush and Burroughs matches always went the maximum three periods, and Tsargush always had great success with his 2-on-1, getting takedowns.

                      This is video of the Burroughs/Tsargush semifinal match at the Olympics in 2012. The match ended 3-1, 0-2, 2-1, so it was very competitive. (The finals against the Iranian was much less interesting and competitive; it only went two periods). Also, back at that time, everything was scored one point. A takedown was one point, an exposure was one point, and not making your bed when your Mom told you to make it was worth one point.

                      So 3-1, 0-2, 2-1 was actually a very action-packed match. Within seconds of the opening whistle Tsargush grabs a wrist and pulls it in so he can secure his trademark 2-on-1 hold. Burroughs tries an ankle pick with his free hand, but Tsargush knows how to defend that. He just lowers Burroughs shoulder with the 2-on-1 and puts the American off balance.

                      Tsargush used the 2-on-1 to jump into a single leg, and he finished it. (The beauty of the 2-on-1 is that, if you are comfortable with it, it eliminates a lot of exposure risk, and it allows you to control the balance of your opponent). Tsargush made his decision, committed totally, and then swooped in like a falcon.

                      continued in next post....


                      • #12
                        Jordan Burroughs versus Denis Tsargush (cont.)

                        We left Burroughs and Tsargush early in the first period of their Olympic semifinal match with the Russian having just scored a takedown to lead 1-0. At about the 2:00 mark of the video, Burroughs gets upset that Tsargush is pushing on his face. You might have noticed that Burroughs likes to use the head-push often, but he doesn't want anybody doing it to him.

                        In a quick flurry near the end of the first period, it is Tsargush who succumbs to his "choleric temper" and leaves himself exposed as he clubs down on the American's arms. Burroughs shoots a double, a quick exposure with a leg lace and then a step out a few seconds later. That gives Burroughs the first period at 3-1.

                        In the second period, Tsargush seems like he's going for a 2-on-1 but instead uses a drag by to pull Burroughs into a single leg. He scores. Burroughs is now behind and tries a single, but Tsargush uses a whizzer to defend, which magically turns into his 2-on-1. The second time that happens, he forces Burroughs out for a step-out point. Here's Tsargush turning a whizzer into a 2-on-1 and using the leverage to force Burroughs out of bounds:

                        Second period goes to the Russian 2-0.

                        The third period has Tsargush trying the Roman Knuckle lock as a set up to a double-leg. (This must be taught by the Russians!). It doesn't work. Tsargush makes the mistake of not getting in close with his ties, and Burroughs shoots a double that scores.

                        They trade step outs in the last few seconds, and Burroughs escapes with the 2-1 win.


                        It is possible to get under the skin of Jordan Burroughs. You can't let yourself get caught up in it. That mistake left Tsargush open to attacks while he was trying to throw haymakers. Also, it might be nice to see IMAR throw in a 2-on-1 if he finds himself in a whizzer position, or he just grabs it.


                        • #13
                          ISAIAH MARTINEZ VS. JORDAN BURROUGHS I

                          At last year's Final X, Burroughs won the spot on the world team by going 2-0 versus IMAR. The first match was a battle of step-outs. IMAR forced a step out, but Burroughs forced four step outs. The final score was 4-1.

                          Here is video of that first match. As you can see, within two seconds of the start of the match, they are in a collar tie. Within 13 seconds, Burroughs is standing straight up while the announcers are saying, "Jordan didn't appreciate that head tap one iota."

                          IMAR was too far away to take advantage of Burrough's straight-up posturing. Distance being a key in a match with him.

                          In the next few seconds, IMAR had a 2-on-1 and "threatened a head-pinch." At the :40 mark of the match, you can see IMAR jamming in his underhook. Burroughs is warned for passivity, and IMAR shoots in. He backs off and Burroughs does a re-attack, grabbing a single and driving IMAR and his whizzer off the mat. 1-0, Burroughs.

                          On the restart, IMAR immediately slips in his underhook, starts a throw by of Burroughs while grabbing his left knee. (See picture). This very nearly led to a 2-point takedown for the ILLINI legend.

                          Burroughs slips in a whizzer and fights off the takedown, but with the leverage and momentum gained, IMAR forces Burroughs out of bounds (see second picture) for a point. 1-1, Tied.

                          After the re-start, IMAR does his own Roman Knuckle locks, but the hold is given up immediately. Shortly afterwards, though, they get their fingers caught up again, and you can see Burroughs' frustration. That would be a good time to attack! Unfortunately, the ref blew his whistle.

                          IMAR next tries a gentle snap-down or throw by, but he doesn't throw Burroughs far enough away. In fact, Burroughs is right there ready for a re-attack (see picture). Against Burroughs, IMAR will need to be aggressive and impose his will, gentle snap-downs will only put yourself in trouble!

                          As you can see, the gentle snap down/throw by actually placed Burroughs in his favorite position, ready to leap frog onto an opponent's legs. Somehow, IMAR manages to fight him off long enough to hop out of bounds and only give up one point. 2-1, Burroughs.

                          Before the period ends, IMAR must have figured out that Burroughs will stand straight up after a head-push, as IMAR shot in quickly. He was unsuccessful, but it was a nice attempt. 1st period over.

                          At the beginning of the second period, Burroughs gets a step out point. It was another re-attack off an IMAR shot. 3-1, Burroughs.

                          With 1:51 to go in the match, IMAR hits a nice throw-by from an over-hook. (see picture). Burroughs was quick enough to square himself up, but it did place Burroughs in a position where he could've eaten the mat from a front headlock, but he slipped out.

                          Right there, this was very close to being a 3-3 match. IMAR underestimated Burroughs' quickness, and did not convert. Burroughs gets a final step out after another re-attack on an IMAR shot.


                          The match was very competitive, but it seemed that near the end, IMAR was just happy to be there. I expect that the intensity will go up exponentially for this next battle. IMAR did a great job with the head-pushes and head-taps. These flustered Burroughs and kept him at bay. He also came very close a couple of times to scoring takedowns, which would have upped the pressure on Burroughs. IMAR will need to re-calibrate for Burroughs' speed. Most importantly, he needs to be ready for Burroughs' re-attacks.

                          I would pull Emery Parker out of his Senior frat parties and have him attack IMAR relentlessly from his knees. Then, have another quick and strong wrestler jump in and try to push IMAR across the mat. (Everybody on their knees). If IMAR can confidently defend this position, he can beat Burroughs. At one point, Burroughs shot in a quick double, but IMAR met him at the same level and exploded Burroughs to a stop. IMAR can already defend the Burroughs double.


                          • #14
                            ISAIAH MARTINEZ V. JORDAN BURROUGHS II

                            Fourteen seconds into the second matchup at Final X, IMAR had dug in a lefty underhook. Within 18 seconds of the start of the match, IMAR had used the underhook to drive Burroughs off the mat (see picture) for a point. 1-0, IMAR.

                            Jordan didn't like giving up that point and shoved IMAR off of him.

                            With 1:36 left in the first period, Burroughs shoots a low single off a re-start and converts it for two to take the lead. Burroughs worked for the leg lace and got it for 4 more exposure points. 6-1, Burroughs. The period ends with no further action.

                            Within 4 seconds of the start of the second period, IMAR has dug in a lefty underhook. Burroughs gets a step out. 7-1, Burroughs. It's another re-attack that leads to a Burroughs takedown. 9-1, Burroughs. Burroughs tries a serious attempt at a gut, but IMAR fends it off. IMAR loses his concentration, and a go-behind leads to the tech.


                            All but a few of Burroughs' points came off of re-attacks or jumping the whistle on a restart. You have to defend yourself at all times against him. IMAR gave up one takedown to Burroughs through a match-and-a-half of Final X. He lost his concentration, and gave up a couple of more after that.

                            IMAR will need to have plans in advance to go hard for a couple of takedowns of his own, especially using the short offense. Or, later in the match, he can go for a leg attack. The key will be to go hard for those attacks and commit to them; however, if Burroughs escapes, be ready to meet him at his level for the re-attack.

                            GO IRTC!!!


                            • #15
                              The IMAR/NOLF WTT Series

                              I wanted to end this thread with analysis of the California State Finals match between Jesse Delgado and Isaiah Martinez, but I cannot find video anywhere. How in the world can you not have video on the internet of two NCAA 2xers meeting in a state championship final?

                              Instead, we will go with a more timely and relevant series of matches between IMAR and Jason Nolf. This was the best-of-three finals of the most recent World Team Trials. The matches ended with the ILLINI legend as the 2-1 winner, even though he had a last-second hiccup in round two. That makes the lifetime series between the two a pretty dominating 4-2 in IMAR's favor.

                              Considering that Nolf has lost about 6 matches in the last four years, that's pretty good.

                              The "bad ankle" claims

                              First, I wanted to address claims from blue and white Kool-Aid drinkers that Nolf was working off a bum ankle. I'm very skeptical. Here's my evidence: In the match that elevated Nolf to the best-of-three series, he defeated Logan Massa 7-2 and at 1:23 of this video, Nolf takes the quickest double shot I've ever seen him take from space.

                              If I had a bum ankle like that I'd be dancing in the Ballroom DanceSport World Finals on July 6, 2019, which you can watch on I'm not kidding. is a thing. Ballroom dancing is as combat sport as it gets, my brothers.

                              Match 1

                              IMAR dominated from the start, faking a shot and working a headpinch. Within 36 seconds, IMAR scores on a step-out by controlling the center and continually pushing Nolf back. With about 1:45 to go in the first period, IMAR secures a headlock, works his way into an underhook, adds another underhook on the other side, actually locks his hands (see picture) and walks Nolf out of bounds.

                              At the out-of-bounds line, Nolf tried to squirm out, but IMAR threw him to his back for four points. (This is exactly how you punish people who shoot on you; would be great to see Burroughs in this predicament).

                              The match was 9-0 IMAR before Nolf finally gets a takedown.

                              Match 2

                              IMAR dominated this match for 5:57, scoring in multiple ways. Nolf got a couple of step-out points, but even with those, IMAR was controlling the mat and controlling the ties. With 1:38 to go in the second period, IMAR again goes to the double underhooks, locked (see picture).

                              He used this hold to drive Nolf out to take a 4-2 lead. IMAR got another step-out to go up 5-2. Unfortunately, with three seconds on the clock, IMAR wasn't backing off and Nolf hits a throw.

                              Match 3

                              Things heat up quickly in the tie-breaking match. Within 12 seconds, Nolf has IMAR in a position in which Nolf usually scores (see picture). You see IMAR reaching for that ankle? Well, he gets it, and he's the one who ends up with two points (and without exposing himself).

                              That was a spirit-breaker for Nolf. In the next few seconds, IMAR has a single leg of his own, and he scores two. 4-0, IMAR. The ILLINI coach finishes up the first period with a step-out and another takedown. Nolf gets one takedown. 7-2, IMAR.

                              In the closing seconds, IMAR takes Nolf to his back once again and gets four points. A lost challenge gives him the tech fall. 12-2, IMAR.

                              CONCLUSION. Before the last Final X against Jordan Burroughs, IMAR had to deal with a downer. Before this next Final X, IMAR is coming off of dominating wins at the World Cup, at the US Open and in the best-of-three series at the WTT against an old foe. His confidence couldn't be higher. Although Nolf won a match at the last second, IMAR dominated every hold, and he controlled the mat. If Nolf had stayed at 70kg, he'd be wrestling Deakin for a spot on the World Team. We all know how that would end up. LESSON: Don't **** with IMAR!

                              GO IMAR!!!