Unofficial Preview of Beat The Streets!
Beat The Streets
This is the current line-up as of Sept 9th! The organization Beat The Streets carries a lot of value, both on and off the mat. The mission of the group is to “develop the full human and athletic potential of urban youth and to strengthen the wrestling culture within New York City.” The development of student athletes is always a great cause, and you can donate on their website. Yearly, Beat The Streets puts on a card, and the matchups have never been short of phenomenal. Last year it was NCAA champions versus world team members, and Yianni Diakomihalis exploded onto the world scene with a win over #1 ranked 65kg wrestler, Bajrang Punia. This year has been a rough one for wrestling, but beat the streets is still going to deliver a card, with the matchups so far looking phenomenal, and more to come before the 17th. I’m going to preview the matches that have been confirmed up to now, keep in mind others may be added.
Heavyweight-Trent Hillger vs Gable Steveson
It’s safe to describe Gable Steveson as uncommon amongst uncommon men. As a heavyweight, the entertainment value of matches will often come from the sheer size and strength of these athletes, in addition to a caliber of upper body wrestling not often seen in the lighter weight classes. But we have entered the era of the fast heavyweight, exemplified with wrestlers like Gable, Hillger, Dom Bradley and Mason Parris, to name a few. In the discussion of the national tournament this year, the picks for heavyweight were generally Parris or Steveson. However, both Gable and Trent have wins over Parris (Parris would go on to make the U23 world team over Hillger, however).
Gable can get on anyone’s legs, and is always the offensive wrestler. Hillger is the heavyweight dark horse, but has fantastic scrambling and is one of the few heavyweights who will actively use far ankle scrambles to defend his legs and score. These are both athletes I personally believe are at their best in freestyle, and I look forward to this as it’s going to be one of the more exciting heavyweight matches that have been on Beat The Streets.
Yianni Diakomihalis vs Vladimir Khinchegashvili
Yianni doesn’t need much introduction. In the middle of writing this, I opened my phone to see this match confirmed as the main event. Vladimir was an olympic champion in rio, and will be Yianni’s best opponent yet. Previously I was hoping that he would be squaring off against Bryce Meredith, for a rematch we hadn’t seen in freestyle, but this match will likely be yet another determined by scrambling ability. Watching Khinchegashvili wrestle, the first thought is how well rounded this man is. He has a solid double leg, high crotch, and a go behind, in addition to really great defense on the feet and excellent hand fighting. He wrestles his opponents in a phonebooth, and the real key here is his ability to turn. It’s said all the time how the big advantage foreign wrestlers will have over Americans is their ability to turn guys in parr terre.
Vladimir consistently turns every one of his opponents, gut wrench or leg lace. A physical, well rounded re-attacker is a tough matchup for Yianni D (Zain Retherford comes to mind) but keep in mind Yianni has beaten plenty who wrestle that way, with wins over Zain Retherford, and, to put it bluntly, broke Musukaev at the Yasar Dogu, after being down 9-0, putting on an uncharacteristically physical match, in addition to his scrambling chops, to pull out a win by gassing Musukaev out, who might I add has the single quickest re attack shot I have ever seen. The matchup earns it’s main event distinction easily, and alone would be worth donating to watch the event.
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Jack Mueller vs Vito Arjuau
Another match that benefits from being in freestyle, Vito and Mueller are physical, fun to watch, and produce a stylistic clash. Vito is go big or go home, with upper body chops uncommon in the US, and has the distinction of being a very large 57kg. Mueller isn’t entirely outsized, and brings a great slide-by to the table, which will come in handy as this isn’t going to be a contest of wrestling from space. There’s going to be hands flying whistle to whistle, and this matchup serves as a reminder of how young and strong the USA is at 57kg for the next few years. Vito’s best attack from space when he has to operate there is a double, but Mueller has shown he can keep a great base and score with a chest wrap, or completely shut the attack down.
Seth Gross vs Joe Colon
Safe to say this is one of the more stacked Beat the Streets events in recent memory. Seth Gross was a contender for the national title at 133, and while keeping his weight low for his olympic plans as well, in a division full of athletes who are massive for their weight class. His scrambling and specifically Russian tie means he has a lot of scoring options, but former world team member Joe Colon can handfight with the best, just look at his match with Nick Suriano. Nick is a scrapper, and Colon matched his handfight tic for tac. High pace and stick and move has been shown to be a sort of blueprint for beating Gross, but the adaptability and mid match adjustments Gross has made in the past guarantees a high scoring match here.
Victoria Francis vs Alexandria Gaude
Victoria Francis was a world Team Member at 72kg for the US, and finished 5th in 2019. She’ll be aiming to score with hard hand fighting, and has great center mat control. SHe may hold a win over Gaude, currently, but it was a close 3-2 match, and Gaude has shown she can handfight on the level of Francis. This match will be prominently contested in two control ties: Gaude’s russian two on one, and Francis’s underhook. I expect this to be a very close match, as both are the top of their weight (68kg, as it’s an olympic year) and will have likely been training specifically to beat the other.
Emily Shilson vs Felicity Taylor
Our second women’s freestyle match for the event, the difference in pace will make this interesting. Emily Shilson wrestles from space and her aim is to outspeed Taylor, who on the contrary will try to keep Shilson in a box, methodically working for a control tie to score push outs set up her leg attacks. Shilson has a great low single, a good shot for avoiding a tough handfight, but can still exchange ties and won’t be shying away if the pace slows down. This whole card is featuring the top wrestlers in their respective weight class, and with more possibly being added before the event’s date of September 17th, the wrestling world is once again active.
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