By Larry Torres, Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake fractured his right hand while competing in the Golden Grand Prix in Azerbaijan and will not wrestle in the upcoming Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com. Dake was expected to face off against 2011 NCAA champion Bubba Jenkins in a freestyle wrestling main event.
Frank Molinaro, a four-time NCAA All-American and 2012 NCAA champion, will step in and square off against Jenkins on Sunday, December 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Dake fractured his right hand in Azerbajian this past weekend. He went on to wrestle and finish fifth, however, post-event swelling will cause him to miss the Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com. The resulting unique senior level main event between Molinaro and Jenkins will be promoted in association with X-Cel Worldwide and will be a college folkstyle match at 163 pounds.
Jenkins and Molinaro were teammates for two seasons at Penn State, prior to Jenkins transferring to Arizona State, where he defeated another former Penn State teammate, David Taylor, in the NCAA championship match.
Molinaro said, “I am very grateful and extremely excited to fill in for the injured Kyle Dake and compete against Bubba Jenkins at Madison Square Garden in the main event of such a great day for wrestling. This match against Bubba is very personal for me. I am well-prepared, and confident I will do whatever it takes to get my hand raised.
Jenkins added, “This change in opponent is incredibly exciting for me, as I have been chasing a match versus Molinaro for quite some time. Frank has turned down this match in the past, but now we get to headline Madison Square Garden. This is an incredible opportunity for me and for our sport. On Sunday afternoon, our personal rivalry will finally reach its apex, and I know the best man will win.”
The matchup between UFC standout, Frankie Edgar, and MMA star, Phillipe Nover, will remain as the co-main event.
Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com begins with the finals of the MWA Middle School Tournament followed by the Beats the Streets PSAL Holiday Invitational Tournament. Starting at 10:00 a.m. the college program will begin as well as the outstanding senior club program and the Team USA vs. Canada featured women’s matches. The conclusion will come when Edgar steps on the mat against Nover and Jenkins takes on Molinaro.
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.