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King Burroughs Reigns Supreme

Olympic Champ Burroughs shows his savvy by overcoming early deficit; Tyler Berger impresses against NCAA star

Wrestling - Olympics: Day 14 Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Jordan Burroughs promised to put on a show on Saturday night. And boy did he do that.

Burroughs is arguably the best American wrestler of all time. He’s been in the game for a long time and won everything, but he made a statement Saturday night that he’s not about to give up the mantle any time soon. Big or small, Burroughs doesn’t care. He’ll put you to the test.

Facing the 32-year-old Burroughs, Zahid Valencia came in as the young up-and-comer looking for a win that would blast his career into the stratosphere. At 23, Valencia would immediately jump onto everyone’s radar with a win over Burroughs. As he said before the match...he plans on becoming an Olympic and World Champion at 86 kg, so he should be able to defeat the Olympic and World Champion at 74 kg, a lower weight. That’s honestly a pretty reasonable thought in any combat sport, but with a guy like Burroughs there at 74, it’s currently just a dream for Valencia.

Burroughs gave up a lot of weight here as they wrestled at 185 pounds (Burroughs normally wrestles at about 163 pounds) and still instilled his will on the No. 2 wrestlers in America at a heavier weight class.

As for Saturday’s matchup, things started with a lot of action between both Burroughs and Valencia. After trading a few offensive shots, Burroughs went for a takedown but Valencia was able to get around for the duck-under go-behind takedown to go up 2-0.

Shortly after, Valencia caught Burroughs in a a double-leg takedown and went up 4-0. The last 90 seconds of the round went by without a score, but it wasn’t lacking for activity.

Some saw it as Burroughs being in trouble. I’d say JB had him right where he wanted him.

In the second period, Burroughs didn’t waste much time as he scored on a takedown as the two went out of bounds. Valencia then took a 5-2 lead with a push-out, but Burroughs’ constant pressure and in-match adjustments seemed to be taking their toll.

With 80 seconds left, Burroughs sprawled and easily scored a go-behind takedown on Valencia to cut deficit to 5-4. Burroughs then scored again on a push-out on Valencia who was slow to the center of the mat due to fatigue. With the score tied at 5-all, Burroughs took a 7-5 lead with one of his patented double-leg takedowns. He added another point on a push-out to pick up the 8-5 win after being down 4-0 at the break.

Earlier in the night, former Husker wrestler and current assistant coach for Nebraska Tyler Berger took on Sammy Sasso, who was the No. 3-seed for this year’s NCAA tournament at 149 pounds before it was cancelled.

Throughout the match, it was obvious that Berger liked his chances going after Sasso’s lead foot at the ankle, as he scored multiple times on low single-leg attacks.

Berger used two single-leg shots for takedowns to take a 4-0 first-period lead. In the second period, Berger went back to the well on the single-leg and got caught as Sasso scrambled for a takedown, cutting the Berger lead to 4-2.

Putting a quick stop to any comeback hopes, Berger scored a takedown on a double-leg attack to go up 6-2. Berger added one more takedown on a go-behind for good measure, securing an impressive 8-2 win.

Shortly after his win, Berger tweeted that he was dedicating his win to Christian Miller, the Husker wrestler who tragically lost his life in a car accident earlier this month.