Beat the Streets has grown into one of the biggest events on the freestyle calendar every year. It is appointment viewing as USA Wrestling is able to showcase some of their biggest stars, smack dab in Times Square, right as the weather is getting nice.
But it's not just for world medalists and superstars, sometimes BTS gets to bring in some hungry up and comers. This year's stud: two-time NCAA champ Zain Retherford.
While he didn't end up winning the Open, Zain did finish third, with his only loss a close one to eventual champ Jordan Oliver, who we will also see on Wednesday. Remember, this year's event kicks off on May 17th at 3:30 eastern time.
The Nittany Lion passed the eye test in Vegas and was able to compete with other full sized 65kg guys, even carrying over most of the brutal physicality he shows during folkstyle season. He will try to enforce his will on his Japanese opponent, Daichi Takatani. It is only the third international opponent of Zain's young senior level career.
American fans might remember Takatani from his first round war with Aaron Pico at the 2014 junior world championships. That year, Japan made a big push for Takatani, as he competed at the Takthi Cup, Yasar Dogu, went 5-0 at the World Cup and won a bronze medal at the junior world championships. He also wrestled in that year's senior world championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Though it was several years ago, Takatani did pick up a signature win in Tashkent. In the second round, he beat Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan 11-6. Even with the home mat advantage, the eventual world silver and Olympic bronze medalist could not overcome the barrage of leg attacks from Takatani.
Takatani might be able to go toe-to-toe with the Penn State star in terms of collar ties and hand fighting, as evidenced by Retherford's previous battles wth Pico. As with most Japanese lowerweights, the swing single is Takatani's primary weapon of choice, followed by a low double, and he has some ability to scramble.
The difference maker should be Retherford's par terre. While Takatani should be able to get a takedown or two, Retherford's pressure from top is both varied and heavy. He can go back bow, or take a bottom leg turk and turn it into either a trap arm or a power half.
This one will be the eighth match on Wednesday night in NYC. The East vs West battle with Team Japan is slated to start at 6pm eastern time, and every match will of course be LIVE on Flo.
Beat the Streets Match OrderMatch 1: Daton Fix (USA) vs. Austin DeSanto (USA)
Match 2: 48kg Victoria Anthony (USA) vs. Yuki Irie (Japan)
Match 3: 69kg Tamyra Mensah (USA) vs. Miwa Morikawa (Japan)
Match 4: 58kg Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. Yuzuru Kumano (Japan)
Match 5: 65kg Jordan Oliver (USA) vs. Frank Chamizo (ITALY)
Match 6: 57kg Anthony Ramos (USA) vs. Rinya Nakamura (Japan)
Match 7: 61kg Logan Stieber (USA) vs. Shingo Arimoto (Japan)
Match 8: 65kg Zain Retherford (USA) vs. Daichi Takatani (Japan)
Match 9: 70kg James Green (USA) vs. Nobuyoshi Takojima (Japan)
Match 10: 86kg David Taylor (USA) vs. Takahiro Murayama (Japan)
Match 11: 97kg Kyle Snyder (USA) vs. Koki Yamamoto (Japan)
Match 12: 125kg Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) vs. Katsutoshi Kanazawa (Japan)
Match 13: 74kg Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Sohsuke Takatani (Japan)