2022 Final X Stillwater

Past Scoring Breakdown & Keys To Victory For Gilman vs Arujau

Past Scoring Breakdown & Keys To Victory For Gilman vs Arujau

JD breaks down their three-match rivalry and takes a look at how each guy could win at Final X.

Jun 1, 2022 by JD Rader
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Thomas Gilman vs Vito Arujau is blossoming into one of my favorite senior-level domestic rivalries in the sport. Back in 2017 at a bar in Waverly, Iowa, Gilman said talked about how a "rivalry" that is one-sided isn't a rivalry at all. With Gilman owning the series 3-0, this would imply that it isn't much of a rivalry. While I somewhat agree with Gilman, I still can't wait to see these two go to war at Final X. Gilman will once again be a heavy odds-on favorite to win, but I'm not counting Vito out.

Below is a breakdown of the two's three matches followed by some keys to victory for each.

Match 1: January 2021, Henri Deglane quarterfinal
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Scoring Breakdown

2:20 - Arujau step out, 1-0

3:15 - Arujau step out, 2-0

3:31 - Gilman takedown, 2-2

5:11 - Gilman takedown, 4-2

5:17 - Gilman gut wrench, 6-2

Final - Thomas Gilman by dec, 6-2


Match 2: April 2021, Olympic Team Trials finals

Scoring Breakdown

0:33 - Arujau takedown, 2-0

0:33 - Arujau leg lace, 4-0

1:13 - Gilman step out, 4-1

1:29 - Gilman step out, 4-2

2:01 - Gilman step out, 4-3

2:46 - Gilman feet-to-back whip over, 7-4

3:48 - Gilman takedown, 9-4

5:37 - Gilman takedown, 11-4

Final - Thomas Gilman fall


Match 3: April 2021, Olympic Team Trials finals

Scoring Breakdown

1:36 - Gilman takedown, 2-0

5:37 - Arujau step out, 2-1

5:51 - Arujau step out, 2-2

Final Thomas Gilman by dec, 2-2


Keys To Victory

Thomas Gilman

1. Set the tone & pace early

In the first two matches, Gilman got down by 2 and 4 points. No sweat. In match one he came back with takedowns and match two a combination of takedowns and step-outs. Obviously, if Gilman can set the pace without giving up points, that is preferred, but no sweat if he gives up a couple. Few people can match Gilman in the second period. 

2. Don’t force anything from par terre

Gilman’s not known for his par terre, and that’s alright. The first three matches with Vito proved that he didn’t need it. His only true turn was a not so pretty gut wrench in match one. In match 2, Vito almost got a reversal, but the two went out of bounds. By all means, Gilman should try for turns on top, but Vito can be tricky for bottom. Don’t force something just to get stepped over and possibly pinned yourself. Zach Sanders was able to do it just a handful of months before the Olympic Trials.

3. Single legs

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The single leg is Gilman’s bread and butter and he’s hit it on pretty much everyone in the world. You know it’s coming, and you might be able to hold off giving up a takedown, especially early in the match, but chances are you’re at least giving up a step out.


Vito Arujau

1. High attack rate

In their three matches, Thomas Gilman didn’t score one time on a go behind or reattack. I’m not suggesting Vito get sloppy and leave himself vulnerable, but I think he should take more chances than he did in the first three matches.

2. Get tricky

It’s going to be hard to beat Thomas Gilman at a game of fundamentals. However, where I think Vito might have an advantage is in the weird positions. I’m not even sure where or how Vito can apply this from neutral, but from par terre bottom, I’d suggest Vito at least look for reversals.

3. One before two

In their three matches, Gilman’s only scored with a step out three times. Sure, Gilman got three-straight step outs in match two, but those really weren’t a difference-maker. Gilman is going to control center for the majority of the match and work for a step out, especially after taking a shot. And at some point, he will get to Vito’s legs most likely. However, giving up three step outs vs three takedowns is a decent point swing. A three-point deficit is much more manageable than a six-point deficit.