Match Breakdown: Heflin vs Downey
I enjoyed the last film breakdown I did, so I figured I would do another between two Fanatic Wrestling athletes: Pat Downey and Nicholas Heflin, in the 86kg finals of the 2019 US Open. Both wrestlers bring distinct styles into this match, with the common ground of one thing: throwing people on their heads. I love this match, and especially since both Heflin and Downey come in with great credentials, and a willingness to let it fly that you wouldn’t expect from most upper body wrestlers. Since this is a two round freestyle match, I’ll break it down by any notable exchanges, rather than round by round.
These guys are both great wrestlers, regardless of the match result, and be sure to check out the instructionals we have with both of them: Hit Them With The Earth by Nick Heflin and The Air Downey System by Pat Downey, to learn how to hit these high amplitude throws in freestyle and folkstyle.
Heflin in my mind is the more conservative scorer between the two. Downey is pretty much always looking to go big when he finally gets to an underhook, or overhook, or bodylock. Heflin’s edge in the front headlock positions including short offense and a chest wrap offer options to go big, but the go behind is always there. Going into the match in 2019 I was thinking mainly about the handfight, and Downey likely going for legs more often to climb the body into those control ties with his hands locked.
Check out the match below!
1st Score-Downey, Push Out/Shot Clock
Around halfway through the first period, Heflin is put on the shot clock. When they re engage after the reset, Heflin gets to a front headlock but Downey postures out and clears the hands, trying to work from a Russian two on one. Heflin keeps his hips away, posting on downey’s head before engaging the wrist tie. Eventually, they break, and Heflin fakes at Downey’s lead leg (they have a mirrored stance) before taking a collar tie. Downey was looking for over ties up to now, and with the opportunity presented, collars over Heflin’s own tie, posts outside the collar elbow and shrugs hard, sending heflin past him, but unable to touch his leg to confirm the score, Downey gets a push out as the shot clock runs down. Essentially, still scoring two as the push out is one in addition to Heflin failing to score in the allotted time.
Check out Pat Downey’s instructionals available NOW! Click Learn More!
2nd Score-Downey, Exposure
To open the second period, we got a great leg attack exchange. Heflin is once again on his front headlock, and Downey once again clears it out to a Russian tie. This time, rather than engage in the battle for wrist and arm control, Heflin times when Downey’s near foot steps across his own hip line, and spins out of the tie and shoots a low ankle single. His head is initially out under Downey’s knee, Downey sits back to get Heflin’s head under his own belly button, and gets a chest wrap and Heflin reaches inside in an attempt to secure the far ankle and get two.
As he secures the far ankle with a sort of overhook, he abandons the initial target leg. Downey then reaches to the previously attacking arm, under hooking it, and in a frankly tactically brilliant choice, rather than fight for a go behind steps his hooked leg over Heflin’s head, exposing the back of Heflin to the mat and scoring two, before going behind and working for a gut wrench. He wouldn’t get any turns on top, but that’s another two on the board for Downey as we are only thirty seconds into the second period.
Third Score-Uh...Both of Them?
Heflin showed in this match he’s got some pretty great leg attacks. As Heflin and Downey have been engaging so far, two ties were in play: collars and russians, trying to score with shrugs and front headlocks. This time, Heflin opts for an inside tie, and wastes zero time, immediately changing levels to get to a knee pull single, and ending up in a similar position to earlier. So Heflin secures both legs this time, and Downey proceeds to do a similar step over, scoring exposure again, but that becomes Heflin’s leg lace and he exposes Downey TWICE.
Exchanges like these are why I don’t envy freestyle judges very much, these situations tend to result in a challenge, which it of course does in this case. As it stands before the challenge, score is 6-2, as Heflin challenges for a lace that went out of bounds on the second exposure. They give Heflin the step out point, but no extra exposure as Downey’s head went out before he was turned again. 6-3 Downey
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4th Score-Air Downey
This is what raised Downey’s stock so much after 2019. This toss against a man of Heflin’s caliber is incredible, and the entire exchange leading up to it and the finish is just artful. Downey goes for a shrug, Heflin’s hips don’t move an inch, and he digs an underhook and begins pushing Downey to the edge. Downey momentarily considers hip tossing with his overhook, but opts to square his hips at the edge and work for an underhook, and gets to a bodylock with his head buried in Heflin’s neck on the overhook side. Heflin steps in, planning on an inside trip, but Downey keeps his hips back, pivoting his whole body, punching his underhook to the sky and kicking the hooked leg up in possibly the best throw of 2019, scoring four and making the commentators lose their minds.
With the clock winding down, Heflin needed to push the pace, and he did. Snapping, pulling and pushing, he gets to a completely locked front headlock, but Downey’s feet went out before Heflin could turn him in a roll, and he scores one.
Both of these wrestlers came to scrap. If you haven’t watched this match a few times you’re doing yourself a disservice, be sure to get notes on it, then come back to Fanatic Wrestling to learn the systems both of these athletes use in their matches.