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Five things MMA fans should watch for at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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Kyle Dake from Cornell gives an opponent a lift. (AP)

You've likely heard your friends and family talk about a big tournament that starts today. Surely, they were talking about the NCAA Divsion I wrestling tournament, which is happening this weekend in beautiful Des Moines, Iowa. Fighters such as Randy Couture, Phil Davis, Chael Sonnen, Josh Koscheck, Johny Hendricks, Tyron Woodley, Urijah Faber and many, many more UFC stars made their name on the mats first. Fight fans can watch wrestling all weekend on the ESPN family of networks, and here is what to watch for:

History could be made: Kyle Dake from Cornell is a three-time national champion, and he won each championship in a different weight class. If Dake wins again this year, he will be the first four-time champion with every title at a different weight class. But to win, he will have to get through Penn State's David Taylor, the returning champ at 165 lbs.

A change in the way the finals will air: Traditionally, Saturday night's finals start at 125 lbs. and work up to the heavyweight match as the "main event." This year, with so much interest in a potential Dake-Taylor match-up, the bouts will start at 174 lbs., and snake their way through the weight classes to end up at 165 lbs.

You aren't seeing double in Ohio State singlets: The Buckeyes have two no. 1 seeds in brothers Hunter and Logan Stieber. At 133, Logan is looking to repeat his 2012 NCAA championship. Younger brother Hunter took sixth last season, but earned the top seed with a record of 31-0.

Mizzou's big and little threat: The Tigers made history this year by beating Iowa for the first time in history, and they want to keep up their winning ways. Alan Waters is the no. 1 seed at 125 lbs., the smallest weight at the tournament, and Dom Bradley is no. 1 at heavyweight, giving Missouri bookend threats for national titles.

Penn State looking for three-peat: With stars like Taylor and Ed Ruth returning, Penn State is looking for their third straight national team title. They walked in ranked first, but will face challenges from Iowa powered by three-time national champ Matt McDonough, Oklahoma State with Jordan Oliver, Minnesota, Missouri, and Cornell, a school who has perfected the art of peaking at the right time.

Click here for more information on when and where you can tune in. If you have questions while watching, tweet me here as I'll be at the Wells Fargo watching the action.

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