Matchup Monday: Bout #7

NCAA Division 1 Matchup: 149 lbs

Result: Jordan Oliver dec. Zack Esposito 35-10

Apparently Wrestling Reality wasn’t the only place hosting this matchup…and apparently, if your kid goes for a back breaker in their next match you shouldn’t question it.

Jordan Oliver tweet


Zack Esposito tweet

bout #7


Now wrestling on Matchup Monday: Bout #7. Once again we have two former Cowboys from Oklahoma State going head to head. While bout #5 was a tight battle between 165 pounders Alex Dieringer and  Johnny Hendricks, this time we’re going with the 149 lb weight class. 3x all-american and NCAA Champion Zack Esposito faces off against 4x all-american and 2x NCAA Champion, Jordan Oliver.

Zack Esposito competed for the Cowboys from 2002-2006, and came out of the gates hot putting together an impressive 25-5 record as a true freshman. Although, he defeated 13 nationally ranked opponents throughout the course of the season including defending national champion Aaron Holker, Esposito did not make it on the podium in his first trip to the NCAA tournament. However, history would not repeat itself from there on out. Espo went on to become a 3x all-american for the Cowboys (2nd, 1st, 3rd), and earned the 2005 NCAA Championship title at 149 lbs when he knocked off Phil Simpson (Army) by a score of 5-2 in the NCAA finals. Even as a 3x all-american and national champion, Zack Esposito’s NCAA tournament credentials still don’t do him justice. He has some of the best technique in the game, and when he put it on display it was like watching a child prodigy play Mozart’s ninth symphony effortlessly on the piano.

Oliver competed for Oklahoma state from 2009-2013. Unlike Esposito, Jordan Oliver’s dominance did not stop once he reached the NCAA tournament his freshman year. Instead, he used the momentum he built up all season long to become an all-american with a  4th place finish at the 2010 national tournament, and completed his freshman  year with a 32-4 record. For Oliver’s sophomore year the NCAA’s would be in his home state of Pennsylvania, and as impressive as his 4th place finish was the year before that wouldn’t cut it this year. JO would not be satisfied with anything less than an NCAA title. Despite only being a sophomore, I doubt anyone was surprised when he accomplished his goal of becoming a national champion, considering he was simply too smooth and too quick for any opponent he faced that entire year. However, Oliver finished his junior year as a runner-up to eventual 4x NCAA Champion Logan Stieber (Ohio State) after the referee failed to award him two points for a take down in what remains one of the most controversial calls in the history of  NCAA  wrestling. Fortunately, Oliver would not let his senior end the same way; he capped his career with one more NCAA title after scoring the only take down of the match to defeat Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) 3-2 in the 2013  NCAA Finals at 149 lbs.

Both of these former Cowboys clearly had outstanding careers during their time at Oklahoma State. I think it is safe to say the winner of this one would be whoever showed up to wrestle that day, but there is a good chance both of them would be on their A game for this. So, the question is if these two battled it out for 7 minutes in the college days, would the cat like quickness of of Jordan Oliver be enough to overcome the scientific technique of Zack Esposito? Let’s see what the fans think!

Please clear the mats! Viewers when you are ready you may cast your votes.


The winner will be announced this Friday. Follow us on twitter to stay up to date on who is in the lead throughout the week.

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  • Here’s my logic: Esposito was clearly inferior to Dustin Schlatter at his peak, and Schlatter was pretty similar to college-age Metcalfe, who is better, but not way better, than Oliver. This means Oliver would have had a much better chance of beating Schlatter than Esposito did, so he is probably the better wrestler. Not to mention he was preparing himself for a career at 65 kg, and if he were just training for one match he would get up to be a full-sized 149, which he really was not for his senior season. Either way both were great college wrestlers and would put on a show if they met head to head.

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