By Larry Torres, Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Ultimate Fighting Championships star and Toms River, New Jersey native, Frankie Edgar, and MMA star and Brooklyn resident, Phillipe Nover, will trade-in the MMA cage for The Garden wrestling mat to face one another in a freestyle wrestling match at the second annual Grapple at the Garden presented by Suplay.com. Edgar, the former UFC Lightweight champion, and Nover, the current Ring of Combat Lightweight Champion, will represent the Renzo Gracie Academy in the co-main event.
Additionally, top USA Wrestling Senior clubs, the New York Athletic Club and the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, will square off against each other and team USA will take on team Canada in two featured women’s matches in the day-long wrestling event at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, December 1.
"After attending Grapple at the Garden as a fan last year, it is an honor for me to now be able to compete at MSG,” said Edgar. “Following a long absence, I am very excited by this unique opportunity to compete on a wrestling mat once again, and it will be even more special to match up against my friend, Phillipe Nover. I also look forward to the day when all mixed martial artists are permitted to compete in MMA inside The World's Most Famous Arena.”
Phillipe added, “Having a wrestling competition right here in New York at The Garden is an absolute dream come true. To add to the excitement, I'll be going up against one of my big inspirations in Frankie Edgar. This is going to be one spectacular event.”
Along with UFC standout, Edgar, and MMA star, Nover, the Renzo Gracie Academy will feature several top wrestlers such as Zach Rey, Waylon Lowe, David Branch, Dave Zimitkus and Dave Esposito, among others. They will square off against Team Joe Warren who will counter with outstanding wrestlers including Warren himself, Shawn Bunch, Muhammed Lawal, Brennan Ward, Ryan Martinez, Ryan Tobin and Alex Karnitsky. Following Team Gracie Academy vs. Team Joe Warren, Edgar and Nover will face off in the co-main event.
The outstanding senior club program will feature seven matches including five men’s freestyle matches, a men’s Greco Roman style match and a women’s freestyle between two of the top wrestling programs in the New York Athletic Club and Titan Mercury Wrestling. The featured match up will take place when NYAC wrestler, Kellen Russell, a two-time NCAA champion, three-time NCAA All American, and four-time Big Ten champon faces off against two-time NCAA finalist, and three-time All American, Montell Marion. Russell edged Marion 6-4 in overtime at the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis. Russell was a two-time NCAA champion for Michigan and Marion was a two-time NCAA finalist for Iowa.
There will be two international women’s freestyle matches between stars from the United States and Canada as part of the outstanding wrestling card: 2012 World champion and three-time World medalist Adeline Gray will face Canadian World Team member Erica Wiebe, continuing their long standing rivalry, and 2012 World silver medalist Helen Maroulis will square off with Canadian World Team member, Jillian Gallays.
Four-time NCAA National Champion, Kyle Dake, will face off against 2011 NCAA National Champion, Bubba Jenkins, in the main event on December 1. In a unique senior level showcase match promoted in association with X-Cel Worldwide, Dake, the former Cornell standout who became the first wrestler in NCAA history to win the national championship in four different weight classes, will square off against Jenkins, the former NCAA wrestling national champion and a current mixed martial arts fighter.
Joining Army, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cornell, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Penn, Princeton and Rutgers will be four local wrestling programs including Stevens Institute of Technology and NYU in an NCAA Division III matchup, as well as a match between NCWA men’s club teams from Stony Brook University and Westchester Community College. Cornell is currently ranked No. 6 nationally, Illinois is No. 7 and Bloomsburg is No. 21.
One of the best matchups will be at 125 pounds when returning NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois could meet All-American Nahshon Garrett of Cornell. Delgado and Garrett who are ranked 1-2 nationally.
In addition, the second annual Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com, will also feature the finals of the Beat The Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational. All 16 participating high schools including Horace Mann, Monsignor Farrell, Brooklyn Tech, Poly Prep, Benjamin Cardoza, Martin Luther King, Eagle Academy, Fordham Prep, James Madison, New Utrecht, Petrides, Martin Luther, Mt. St. Michael, Wingate, Grand Street, and Curtis will compete in dual meets. Moreover, the finals of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden middle school championship, produced in association with the Metropolitan Wrestling Association, will take place prior to the high school matches.
The full day of wrestling on December 1 will include two dual meet sessions with the first starting at 10:00 a.m. with Maryland vs. Cornell, Rutgers vs. George Mason, Illinois vs. Bloomsburg, Hofstra vs. Army, Boston U. vs. Penn, Drexel vs. Princeton, and Stony Brook vs. West Chester CC. Session two will begin at 12:00 p.m. and will feature Cornell vs. Illinois, Rutgers vs. Maryland, Princeton vs. Army, Bloomsburg vs. Penn, George Mason vs. Drexel, Hofstra vs. Boston U, and NYU vs. Stevens.
Tickets start at $20.00 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com/grapple.