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Maggie Hendricks

NCAA wrestling aftermath: Who will make the best fighters?


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Hopefully, you tuned in to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on ESPN Saturday night and watched 10 fantastic matches, crazy coaches hopping around and Iowa dominate their way to the team title.

You also saw some wrestlers who could make fantastic fighters. Some of our favorites:

Angel Escobedo, Indiana -- The four-time All-American showed toughness throughout his collegiate career at 125 lbs., battling through injuries to earn four top-five finishes, including a national championship. His speed and flexibility could make for a good transition to the flyweight or featherweight class.

Brent Metcalf, Iowa -- I asked on Twitter who people would most like to see move to MMA, and every single response was, "Metcalf." The dominating 149-lb. champion is known for a relentless style and an unceasing work ethic which are both great qualities of a fighter. However, Metcalf is committed to winning at least two Olympic gold in wrestling, so even if he were interested in fighting, it would have to wait.

Lance Palmer, Ohio State -- Palmer was Metcalf's opponent in the finals. Though he lost this bout, he is one of the few wrestlers to have beaten Metcalf, having done it in the finals of the Big Ten championships. Palmer, who has already said he plans to fight, will use his takedown defense and riding ability to make a name for himself as a fighter.

Kyle Dake, Cornell -- This true freshman won a national championship -- and helped his team to a second place finish -- with a hard-nosed, physical style. However, since he is so young, even if he does want to fight, we won't get to see Dake in a cage for a few years.

Other notes from the NCAA wrestling championships:

-- During Saturday night's broadcast, Bellator fighter Ben Askren was shown cheering on his brother Max, who won the 184-lb. title for the University of Missouri. Ben's hand was taped up, but he told Cagewriter that he sustained a minor injury and will have no problem fighting on Apr. 15 for the start of the Bellator tournament.

-- Anthony Robles, Arizona State's 125-lb. wrestler who has one leg, took seventh place and earned Robles his second straight All-American status.

-- Former UFC fighter Jake Rosholt was on hand to see his brother Jared take second at heavyweight for Oklahoma State.

-- The 80 All-Americans represent 39 different schools. Of that group was Justin Lister of Binghamton, a school that cut their wrestling program and then brought it back.

-- Mitchell Monteiro of Cal. St.-Bakersfield was also in that group, and as the Bakersfield program has been dropped, he is that school's last All-American.

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