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Breaking Down Chamizo vs. Burroughs Round One at Beat the Streets

Breaking Down Chamizo vs. Burroughs Round One at Beat the Streets

Despite being marred by poor mat conditions that left traction on the mat almost impossible, world champions Jordan Burroughs of America and Frank Chamizo of Italy by way of Cuba put on a great show in their first ever matchup in May of 2018. It was the start of a great rivalry that has been as dramatic as it has been competitive and entertaining. With a possible rematch coming this week at the Kolov Memorial tournament in Bulgaria, let's take a look at their first bout's action.

You can't really talk about this match without pointing out that the mat has gathered so much natural condensation from the weather conditions that neither athlete could grip well enough for their usual athletic motions. This created a much more tactical, and slippery, environment for these two 74kg representatives to fight under.

The match started with Chamizo sliding a collar tie by for a go behind takedown, leading 2-0 early. Chamizo came up out of his stance more than usual to keep his balance well, but Burroughs used this to get to a knee pull single leg. Chamizo countered with a high crotch lift on the far side that he elevated through for a double leg and another two point takedown.

The slippery mats were clearly bothering Burroughs' usual vertical movements and feints, but any time he could get Chamizo to bite on a fake, Frank was more out of position than his usual disciplined stance allows. A short break allowed for some cleaning of the mat, and Burroughs swept into a single leg quickly, but Chamizo slid to the edge and went quadpod. Burroughs sprawled down and found his own takedown to bring the match within 2 points. The strategic adjustments were coming quickly, with Burroughs dropping his level much lower than usual so as to get into Frank's legs more often, and Frank posting away in his tie upsto create more space than he usually does.

To start the second, Chamizo started taking a lot more ground, probably wanting to extend his lead knowing that Burroughs has long-thrived in very tight matches late. A hard handfighting series of clubs and level changes saw Burroughs slide out of position, and Chamizo snatched a single leg. Burroughs went to his splits to defend as Chamizo tried to build height with it, but with no traction he couldn't get enough control. Still, as Burroughs freed his leg and downblocked, Chamizo pushed him out for 1, the slippery mat to his advantage in this situation. 

Up 5-2 with 90 seconds left, Chamizo misdirected his way to a high crotch that Burroughs cracked down to his own butt drag. He freed his knee, elevated Chamizo's leg, and drove across to the far hip for his own takedown, bringing the match within a point and under a minute left. 45 seconds left, JB finally found his footing as Chamizo squared his hips, and that signature blast double added 2 more, giving the American his first lead of the match. Trailing now, Chamizo opened up more but JB snapped him down hard and Chamizo's footing failed again, letting Burroughs in on a single leg that he transitioned to a leg lace. Frank's legendary defense let him scramble, and they went out of bounds with no points. Still, time ticked down and JB won by 1 point in a thrilling match between two of the best in the world at any weight. The champions showed great respect after the match, which is always a great sight.