The two Americans went head-to-head as the main event of a bumper FloWrestling card in Texas, and the result proved that size isn't everything in wrestling.
Freestyle wrestling in 2021 has begun with a bang!
In the main event of a star-studded FloWrestling card in Texas on Saturday night (9th January), Tamyra Mensah-Stock moved up a weight class to beat fellow reigning world champion Adeline Gray 4-0 at 76kg.
There was also a win for J’den Cox, as fans got a chance to assess the progress of some of the Team USA Olympic hopefuls for the Tokyo 2020 Games, following a break from competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gray went into the bout as the strong favourite due to her size advantage and extra experience, having not lost to another American since 2012.
That said, she was under no illusion as to the size of the task before her in Mensah-Stock, telling Olympic Channel in a pre-match interview: “There could be a brief moment where one of us takes a breath and we see that opportunity to score and it could happen either way.”
Mensah-Stock, the world’s best at her preferred weight of 68kg, was aggressive from the start - knowing that her superior speed would be her best chance of winning.
Gray struggled to implement any attacks, and it was the younger wrestler that held a 4-0 lead by the end of the first period with a superb takedown.
Five-time world champ Gray came back out with a number of shots, but Texas native Mensah-Stock demonstrated her superb defence to close out the match.
The respect between the training partners was clear in the aftermath of an event that ultimately bodes well for the national team. Having both qualified their weight categories for Team USA at Tokyo 2020, they could both become Olympic gold medallists later in the year.
Elsewhere at the FloWrestling event, J’den Cox beat Hayden Zillmer 6-2 at 97kg, in what was
Despite trailing 1-0 after the opening period, Cox exploded into life in the final period to go up 6-1. Zillmer added a late pushout, but he had no answer for the Missouri native’s superior skills.