Last night the first leg of the three week Final X series took place in Lincoln, Nebraska, with seven wrestlers earning World Championship berths. None of the weight classes needed a third and deciding match, as each victor swept their opponent two matches to none. Only one underdog, Jacarra Winchester at 55 kg, managed to pull an upset on the evening. Here are the final results of Final X Lincoln, along with reactions from each match.
70 kg James Green over Jason Chamberlain two matches to none 2-0, 2-1
What I had feared make happen, played out in these two matches. Chamberlain trained for three years at Nebraska, and the familiarity between the two led to both being tentative. Of course, this type of match was going to benefit Chamberlain, keeping it a one move match; however, he was never able to take advantage. I expect Green to look more like a two-time world medalist as he competes up to and in the World Championships.
59 kg Alli Ragan over Jenna Burkert two matches to none 4-0, 5-0
Ragan controlled both bouts, but they did not necessarily take place the way that I had expected. In the first match, Burkert was able to control a lot of the ties and the pace; she could not capitalize on scoring opportunities. Most of Ragan’s points came from reshot, rather than offense she generated while working from space.
97 kg Kyle Snyder over Kyven Gadson two matches to none 9-0, 10-2
Snyder did what he does and was unflappable throughout two matches. Despite being double legged off the stage in the opening seconds of the second match, Kyle systematically took apart Gadson who was a game opponent. He gave one of the best efforts we have seen in years by an American opponent vs. Snyder.
55 kg Jacarra Winchester over Becka Leathers two matches to none 10-6, 5-1
The only upset of the night came from Winchester. She took both matches from Leathers, the defending world bronze medalist. While watching footage preparing for the match, I thought that Winchester would be a problem for Leathers and there was an opportunity for the upset; I wouldn’t go out on a limb to make the prediction. Jacarra was excellent using an underhook and was able to generate offense in both bouts, from that tie. As I stated in the preview, her size and length proved to be a problem for Leathers who wasn’t able to attack as she does typically and finish the shots she did attempt.
57 kg Thomas Gilman over Daton Fix two matches to none 6-3, 2-1
This was the one I thought, and hoped, would go the full three matches, just because of the potential entertainment value. Gilman did a tremendous job in both bouts controlling the ties and preventing Fix from getting into his preferred positions. To replicate or exceed his 2017 world silver medal performance, Gilman will need to open up more offensively.
68 kg Tamyra Stock over Randi Beltz two matches to none 10-0, 10-0
Stock put on the most dominating performances of the night with her pair of tech fall victories. The match played out the way that I anticipated with Stock influencing the action from the feel and preventing Beltz from getting to work on the match. Over the last year, Stock has grown as much as any US wrestler, so I’m very intrigued to see how that translates at the World Championships in Budapest.
74 kg Jordan Burroughs over Isaiah Martinez 4-1, 11-1
Another year, another world team for Jordan Burroughs, his eighth consecutive. In the first match, Martinez did not back down or give ground to the champ. Burroughs appeared to take exception to the hard clubs and hand-fighting of Martinez, though it did not affect the outcome. Jordan was not able to convert a takedown in the first match, scoring all four points on push outs. In the second, Burroughs was able to break through and penetrate Martinez’s defense and blew the match open with leg laces. Overall, Isaiah was a game opponent for Jordan and will be a formidable challenger in the coming years.