What: Beat the Streets New York: Salsa in the Square
When: May 21st
2:45 PM – Exhibition matches begin
4:45 PM – Team USA vs Team Cuba
Live Stream: Flowrestling (Subscription required)
TV: Both NBC Sports and Universal Sports will carry a broadcast of the event
Thursday, May 21 – Beat the Streets, NBCSN, Midnight*
Wednesday, May 27 – Beat the Streets, Universal Sports, 5 p.m.*
*Tape delayed

Last year at Beat the Streets a United States team faced off against a World All-Star lineup. One that included stars who still sit near the top of their weight class ranking a year later. Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder, and Hawkeye Brent Metcalf are three Senior men’s wrestlers who are expected to make their return to Beat the Streets and will look to defend their home turf against a talented Cuba team.

Last year USA put up a 8-3 beat down on the World team, with the only three losses coming from USA’s three collegiate wrestlers (Nahshon Garrett, Logan Stieber, and Kyle Snyder), whose training focus was split between folkstyle and freestyle. One of the biggest wins was when Brent Metcalf staged a late comeback to defeat then #1 ranked Kurbanaliev.

Tony Ramos vs Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba at the World Cup - Wrestlersarewarriors.com Tony Rotundo
Tony Ramos vs Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba at the World Cup – Wrestlersarewarriors.com Tony Rotundo

This year Team Cuba will make their second appearance on United States’ soil after going a little over a decade without traveling to the USA for competition. Earlier this year Cuba attended the World Cup held in Los Angeles, where the American team put up a 6-2 dual victory over the Cubans. Both Hawkeye Wrestling Club members Tony Ramos (57 kg) and Brent Metcalf (65 kg) competed at the World Cup in the dual with the pair splitting going 1-1. For Ramos he will be looking for a shot at redemption, while Metcalf will look to improve upon his big win.

57 kg/125.5 lbs #13 Tony Ramos vs #3 (at 61 kg) Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez

Previous meeting: Bonne Rodriguez won by fall over Ramos 4:57

Ramos led off Team USA against Bonne Rodriguez who was the #4 ranked 61 kg wrestler in the World, but had dropped down a weight for the Cup. Ramos was 0-1 at the World Championships, and Bonne Rodriguez was a bronze medalist at the 61 kg weight class. Despite their differing results, Ramos’s emergence on to the freestyle scene has shown he has the ability to stick with anyone.

Their previous meeting opened with Ramos getting the first score after he got in on a shot and then forced a pushout. Bonne Rodriguez went on the on the offensive through the rest of the period, but Ramos was able to handle all of the Cuban’s attacks. Ramos added an early second period score off another pushout to go up 2-0. After being put on the shot clock, Ramos got in on the leg for the third time in the match, but Bonne Rodriguez was able to work an exposure and then get into the par terre position. It was from there Ramos was cradled and put away for the fall.

This time around I expect Ramos to learn from his past mistake. USA fans should be encouraged by the number of time Ramos was able to get in on the leg, and his third single leg attempt was the closest he came to finishing a takedown as opposed to settling for the pushout. Ramos is on the larger side of the 57 kg weight class himself, so I don’ think size is an issue at all. In the end Ramos can avenge his loss from the World Cup by doing what he did in the last match by continuing to attack the legs, but will need to finish his score (whether it be a takedown or pushout) quickly, if you give Bonne Rodriguez time, he will try and find a way to turn your attack into his score. Ramos did a fantastic job fending off shots, and I expect him to continue his trend.

65 kg/143 lbs #5 Brent Metcalf vs Franklin Castillo

Previous Meeting: Metcalf decision Castillo 7-2

2014 Beat the Streets: Metcalf decision #2 Magomed Kurbanaliev 11-8

Metcalf had a slow first period against Castillo in terms of scoring, but it was clear that both of these guys were working each other trying to setup some offense. Sadly the only first period score was Metcalf going up 1-0 on a shot clock penalty point, and neither guy was able to get into a position to score.

It wasn’t too long into the second period that Metcalf was able to hit his patented left handed high crotch for the match’s first real score, putting him up 3-0. Metcalf then surrendered two points of his own when Castillo caught his ankle and closed the gap 3-2, but in the final 45 seconds Metcalf was able to hit two more takedowns to give Team USA their first win in the dual.

It’s hard to predict exactly how the match will go down in New York tomorrow, but Metcalf looked to be a step above his competition on the mat. The only score against him was a quick ankle pick, and Metcalf is notoriously hard on himself when he makes mental lapses like that on the mat. The fact that Metcalf hit two takedowns in the final 45 seconds could suggest that he wore his opponent down, but the clear takeaway is that Metcalf can score on Castillo and at times, he can make it look easy.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle