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3/21/12 12:47 PM
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Years ago I was reffing a NAGA event and at the end struck up a conversation with a competitor. He said this was his first grappling event, that he had in fact only grappled a couple of times with Danny Ives, but he wanted to try a submission tournament. 25% or more of the entrants at any NAGA train in garages or whatever and just want to give it a shot so it was pretty normal.

He said he had a great time, and then mentioned that his friends had left and he had nowhere to stay. My roommate had driven home immediately after the event and I was flying out in the morning so I said I had an extra bed in the hotel room for a friend of Danny Ives.

I woke up early and as I was leaving glanced down and saw that he had a championship belt in his luggage. These are only for the Expert division, he would have only won a medal. People regularly try to steal belts so I woke him up and asked where he got the f------ belt from.

"I won it."

"Yah, you won it. In what division?"

"Expert."

"You have grappled twice in your f------ life and you won expert?"

"Yah."

That made no sense so I asked him some more questions. Finally found out he was in college and wrestled for Div I powerhouse Lehigh, and did in fact beat every Expert grappler in his divsion.

He went back to sleep and I got on the plane but it didn't leave my memory. No grappler who wrestled twice could enter a Div I wrestling tournament and beat everyone.

Brock Lesnar showed that a highly skilled Div I wrestler can do the same thing in MMA.

The NCAA Div I wrestling tournament just ended, and Luke Thomas scouts the prospects. Expect a future champion from a list below if they step into MMA.

10. Kellen Russell
Along with Kyle Dake and David Taylor, Russell is the third wrestler this year who will likely be heavily sought after by USA Wrestling. There's no word on whether he has any interest in MMA

9. Devin Carter

Virginia Tech head coach Kevin Dresser - who told MMA Fighting he believes MMA is a good option for graduating wrestlers - said Carter has yet to express interest in post-collegiate plans.

8. Chris Perry
Perry comes from Oklahoma State, which as produced MMA crossovers: Randy Couture, Johny Hendricks, Jake Rosholt, Shane Roller, Daniel Cormier and Muhammed Lawal among others. Perry has considered MMA as a possible career option when his collegiate career is over.

7. Frank Molinaro
This PSU senior at the moment does not have interest in MMA.

6. Borislav Novachkov
Three-time All-American for Cal Poly, that produced Chuck Liddell and Chad Mendes. Novachkov has ties to Mendes, so the relationship is there to facilitate any entry into MMA through Team Alpha Male.

5. Bekzod Abdurakhmonov
 His brother, Muzaffir Abdurakhmonov, is 1-1 in MMA competition and was the wrestling coach to UFC lightweight Kenny Florian.

4. Cam Simaz
Simaz also has no interest in MMA at this time. He's on this list becomes MMA fans have expressed interest in him.

3. Kyle Dake
Dake become the first college wrestler in history to win three national titles in three different weight classes (141, 149 and most recently, 157 pounds). He's locked into wrestling for the foreseeable future.

2. David Taylor
The Penn State sophomore is the best wrestler in all of college wrestling irrespective of weight class. Penn State officials declined to comment to MMA Fighting on the plans of Taylor, stating only the standout wrestler is merely a sophomore and "let's let [him] enjoy college for a while."

1. Chris Honeycutt
He's openly declared his intention to enter mixed martial arts now that his wrestling career is over. Wrestling at 197 pounds, Honeycutt is a bulldozer. He's a talented wrestler, but relies on his physical strength and athleticism for some of his success.

Wild Cards
Austin Trotman (Appalachian State University), Montell Marion (University of Iowa), Cayle Byers, Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State)

Read entire article...


3/21/12 12:55 PM
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mortician
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 Muzaffir Abdurakhmonov his only loss is to 9-1 Rene Nazare.
3/21/12 1:20 PM
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TheBeebs
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-Hey, where'd u get that fuckin belt from?

He's lucky he didn't find Brock's stash of strawberries. Phone Post
3/21/12 2:21 PM
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John Clarke
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Muzaffir Abdurakhmonov is our wrestling coach at Broadway Jiu-Jitsu/Team Carlson Gracie here in Boston. Unbelievable coach, great to have him with us. Not many gyms are lucky enough to have a legit high level wrestling coach to complement their BJJ program. It's an absolute necessity if you want to compete, imo.


On a side note getting back to the guy who only grappled "twice". I hate when guys fail to realize that grappling is an umbrella term for arts like wrestling, judo, bjj, sambo, etc. Those are all grappling arts. I reefed for NAGA for many years and constantly argued with people claiming that they should be in a novice no-gi division because they just started BJJ but wrestled for six years. Makes no sense.
3/21/12 3:00 PM
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truewrestler
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Edited: 03/21/12 3:02 PM
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John Clarke - ...On a side note getting back to the guy who only grappled "twice". I hate when guys fail to realize that grappling is an umbrella term for arts like wrestling, judo, bjj, sambo, etc. Those are all grappling arts. I reefed for NAGA for many years and constantly argued with people claiming that they should be in a novice no-gi division because they just started BJJ but wrestled for six years. Makes no sense.


I think it depends on their wrestling and grappling ability. If you are talking about a national level highschool wrestler or a college wrestler then you are probably right. However most wrestlers that get into grappling don't fall into that category. From my own experience I think it is strange to have an average highschool wrestler with little submission experience to be forced (if they are honest) to go up against blue belts in their first grappling tournament.
3/21/12 3:21 PM
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Brabo Fett
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This article is likely about Dave Nakasone. He was a wrestler at Lehigh who trained a bit under danny ives. he actually ended up running a grappling club while i was there. He won NAGA expert a bunch of times. Lehigh has a pretty good grappling club with several local fighters coming to roll around as well.

He actually has fought several times and has since joined the military.

Awesome guy. I have only seen him use the RNC. ever.
3/21/12 5:05 PM
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fiercedragon
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T4l8r Phone Post
3/21/12 5:15 PM
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Brigham
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Some awesome prospects for sure! Phone Post
3/21/12 5:20 PM
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Hungry4Stink
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Edited: 03/21/12 5:21 PM
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The two obvious ones I saw this year are seniors Chris Honeycutt and Frank Molinaro. <br /><br />Honeycutt's tattoos and no shirt pose in the pic ESPN used both scream MMA. <br /><br />Molinaro liked to dish out the pain with his leg turks and finger grabs so he seems like another candidate. The only problem I see with him is that he was short for his weight class, 149, so reach might be an issue in MMA.

Edit...okay, I'm an idiot and didn't read the original post but Honeycutt was a no-brainer.
3/21/12 5:23 PM
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Hungry4Stink
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Ed Ruth would no doubt be a badass if he ever decided to try MMA.
3/21/12 5:28 PM
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TheRealJoker
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Hungry4Stink - Ed Ruth would no doubt be a badass if he ever decided to try MMA.
Ruth would be awesome. Phone Post
3/21/12 6:00 PM
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KidJustice
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 ttt
3/21/12 8:23 PM
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YHTOMIT2001
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 Trotman is from my alma mater. I think his style would translate over very well.
3/21/12 8:36 PM
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GBDazzler
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Most of those guys will still be in college, i think dake, taylor and russell will try freestyle, molinaro will try freestyle but honestly don't think he will have much success at all in international wrestling and he will move to mma, his style could suit mma.
3/21/12 10:59 PM
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Kirik
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mortician -  Muzaffir Abdurakhmonov his only loss is to 9-1 Rene Nazare.

 There is zero shame in losing to Rene. On tape Rene looks good, but I have reffed him a couple of times, and when you are right there, the guy is just brutal.
3/23/12 1:27 AM
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BALLSDEEP
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Hungry4Stink - The two obvious ones I saw this year are seniors Chris Honeycutt and Frank Molinaro.

Honeycutt's tattoos and no shirt pose in the pic ESPN used both scream MMA.

Molinaro liked to dish out the pain with his leg turks and finger grabs so he seems like another candidate. The only problem I see with him is that he was short for his weight class, 149, so reach might be an issue in MMA.

Edit...okay, I'm an idiot and didn't read the original post but Honeycutt was a no-brainer.

Honeycutt came to Cleveland to see me fight in 2008, he was roommates with my lil brother at Edinboro. I snuck him & his dad in cause the show was beyond sold out. Looks like I'll be going to watch his fights now...Dude's a beast.
3/23/12 7:07 AM
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SinCityHustler
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Taylor and Dake are absolutely NOT headed to MMA.  Taylor a sophomore and Dake a junior will petition in to the Olympic trials next month and have their sites set on world and Olympic titles after graduation.  They have at least another 4 years of wrestling remaining, perhaps 8.  

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