NEW YORK – Though mixed martial arts is still banned in New York, that doesn't mean its piecemeal components are.
Sunday's Grapple at the Garden event at Madison Square Garden featured wrestling battles between well-known names in the world of MMA, as well as some of the finest wrestlers in the country at the high school and college levels.
In the main event of the afternoon affair, Olympic hopeful and New York native Kyle Dake of the U.S. took on world champion Arsen Julfalakyan of Armenia. The four-time collegiate champion Dake grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period, only to see Julfalakyan score on a series of turns in the second. Dake was unable to make up the deficit and lost a decision, 6-3.
Meanwhile in the co-main, Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion Khadjimurad Gatsalov of Russia went head to head against world bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev. Dlagnev took an early lead with a first period takedown, but Gatsalov made it close in the second. Dlagnev, from the D-II school the University of Nebraska-Kearney, ended up getting the decision (7-4).
The final match of the Team Renzo Gracie vs. Team Joe Warren collective battle was a heavyweight bout between "King" Muhammed Lawal and Rolles Gracie. Lawal, in his MSG wrestling debut, was able to score the win. .
In a 185-pound match between Darryl Christian and Gregor Gracie, it was the 27-year old Brazilian who scored one for team Renzo Gracie. Gracie won a hard-fought decision.
Bellator's Brennan Ward, who wrestled at Johnson & Wales University, competed against Igor Gracie. It was Ward who ended up getting his arm raised, with a decision. Ward was wearing a head wrap after taking an elbow in MMA training.
Gray Maynard, who last fought in the UFC at TK, appeared against World Series of Fighting's Ozzy Dugulubgov at 170 opined. The two went back and forth, with Maynard pushing Dugulubgov throughout. "The Bully" looked in control of the bout through the opening minute, but the Renzo Gracie wrestler Dugulubgov had his moments.
Maynard won a decision in the end (14-3).
"I love being on the mat, especially at Madison Square Garden," Maynard said afterwards.
Also on the card, good friends (and training partners) Joe Warren and Scott Jorgensen went at it, and it was Bellator bantamweight champ Warren who got the victory. Warren defeated Jorgensen quickly, pinning him in 53 seconds. The first time that is. At the end of the Gracie-Warren matches, Jorgensen, not satisfied with his first performance, called for a rematch. Warren was only too game. Second verse was same as the first, though, as Warren was ahead of Jorgensen 11-8 when he finished him with the fall.