FOUR-TIME NCAA CHAMPION KYLE DAKE
TAKES ON 2014 WORLD CHAMPION ARSEN JULFALAKYAN
IN MAIN EVENT AT THE GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN PRESENTED BY MUSCLEPHARM
ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21
New York, NY (November 19, 2014) – MSG Sports announced today that four-time NCAA champion and top Olympic hopeful Kyle Dake will take on 2014 World Champion Arsen Julfalakyan in a Greco-Roman wrestling match as the main event of the Grapple at the Garden presented by MusclePharm at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, December 21.
Dake makes his return to Madison Square Garden after competing in the inaugural Grapple at the Garden in 2012 while a senior at Cornell University, where he became the first wrestler to win four NCAA Division I titles in four different weight classes. He is also one of only three four-time Division I champions, joining Pat Smith of Oklahoma State and Cael Sanderson of Iowa State.
“When Nick Garone of X-Cel Worldwide approached me with the opportunity to compete in Greco-Roman style wrestling, my response was, ‘Only if we can get the World Champion,’” said Dake. “It is a tremendous honor and challenge to face Arsen Julfalakyan, and I will be ready to compete at the highest level.”
USA Wrestling Head Coach Matt Lindland added: “Kyle Dake is a household name in American Wrestling. USA Greco-Roman needs Kyle Dake in our program. I am excited about this match, and love that Kyle is always up for a new challenge.”
Since graduation, Dake has been successful on the Senior level in freestyle wrestling, placing second at the 2013 U.S. World Team Trials. He was also a champion at the 2014 Cerro Pelado International in Cuba in freestyle. He is coming off an injury which kept him out of the World Team Trials process in 2014.
The main event bout will be in Greco-Roman, a style which Dake excelled at during his age-group years. He was a member of the 2008 Junior World Greco-Roman Team when he was still a high school star in Lansing, New York. He also was a 2008 FILA Junior National champion as well as a 2008 FILA Junior World Team Trials champion and finished second in the 2007 FILA Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman.
Julfalakyan, of Armenia, won the Gold Medal at the 2014 World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It was his first World title after winning four previous World-level medals. He was a 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, and also boasts a 2010 World Silver Medal as well as 2011 and 2013 World Bronze Medals. Julfalakyan was also a 2007 Junior World champion.
“I am very intrigued and excited about this unique challenge versus American folkstyle legend Kyle Dake,” said Julfalakyan. “It has always been a dream of mine to compete at Madison Square Garden, and I look forward to support from the Armenian community in New York.”
With his World title, he became part of a historic father-and-son Greco-Roman World Champion combination. His father, Levon Julfalakyan, was a 1986 World Champion, competing for the former Soviet Union. Levon Julfalakyan was also a 1988 Olympic Champion and 1989 World Bronze Medalist.
MusclePharm, an American nutritional supplement company that provides sports nutrition products and supplements for athletes of all kinds, has signed on to be the presenting sponsor for the annual Grapple at the Garden.
The much anticipated Grapple at the Garden will bring together the largest group of college programs, including 14 Division I, three Division II, four Division III, and two Community Colleges featuring four currently Top-20 ranked programs including Corenll (#3), Lehigh (#11), Edinboro (#13) and Northern Iowa (#18). Other Division I teams include: Army, Bucknell, Davidson, Drexel, Duke, George Mason, Hofstra, Maryland, Princeton, and Rutgers. Division II will be represented by LIU Post, Minnesota State–Moorhead, and Wheeling Jesuit. Division III will be represented by Muhlenberg, Mount Saint Vincent, Southern Maine and Stevens. In addition, junior college teams from SUNY Sullivan and Middlesex County College and club teams from Stony Brook and Montclair State will also participate.
The Grapple at the Garden presented by MusclePharm will once again feature the NYC Mayor’s Cup high school competition pitting the best New York City high school wrestlers from the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and independent school wrestlers in each weight class as they compete for the title of “Best in the City.” In addition, a USA Wrestling Middle School event and an elementary school championship is also included on the card.
Tickets, priced at $20, $35 and $55, are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.thegarden.com, all Ticketmaster locations and the Madison Square Garden box office.
GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN PRESENTED BY MUSCLEPHARM
Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y., Sunday, December 21
7:15 AM: Mats 1-8 – YOUTH TOURNAMENT FINALS
8:00 AM: Mat 1– HIGHSCHOOL: MAYOR’S CUP VS. METRO
Mat 2 – LIU POST VS. MINN. ST. – MOORHEAD
Mat 3 – STONY BROOK VS. MONTCLAIR STATE
Mat 4 – SO. MAINE VS. STEVENS
Mat 5 – SUNY SULLIVAN VS. MIDDLESEX CC
Mat 6 – NORTHERN IOWA VS. DUKE
Mat 7 – MT. ST. VINCENT VS. WHEELING JESUIT
Mat 8 – HIGH SCHOOL: MAYOR’S CUP VS. METRO
10:00 AM: Mat 1 – DAVIDSON VS. BUCKNELL
Mat 2 – LEHIGH VS. PRINCETON
Mat 3 – RUTGERS VS. ARMY
Mat 4 – MARYLAND VS. HOFSTRA
Mat 5 – DUKE VS. GEORGE MASON
Mat 6 – NORTHERN IOWA VS. DREXEL
Mat 7 – EDINBORO VS. CORNELL
Mat 8 – SO. MAINE VS. MUHLENBERG
12:00 PM: Mat 1 – ARMY VS. PRINCETON
Mat 2 – LEHIGH VS. EDINBORO
Mat 3 – DAVIDSON VS. RUTGERS
Mat 4 – HOFSTRA VS. BUCKNELL
Mat 5 – MARYLAND VS. DUKE
Mat 6 – DREXEL VS. GEORGE MASON
Mat 7 – NORTHERN IOWA VS. CORNELL
Mat 8 – SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
2:10 PM: Mat 9 – (center) Kyle Dake vs. Arsen Julfalakyan (Greco-Roman 75 kg/165 lbs.)
Additional Grapple at the Garden Presented by MusclePharm information will be announced at a later date.