Patrick Martinez (NYAC) has been taking steps to build up his experience level against world competition and what happened today will help in that endeavor. The American, coming off of winning at the University Nationals just a few weeks ago, entered the Poland/Pytlasinski International Open in Spala as the singular Greco Roman wrestling representative from the US. He acquitted himself quite nicely in the process.
Martinez was due to face Daniel Aleksandrov (BUL, world no. 6) in his initial repechage bout, but was instead awarded a forfeit. That cleared the way for a bronze medal showdown with Radik Kuliev (BLR), a physical, high-pace wrestler who seemed to be a good match-up for Martinez to sink his teeth into. As had been the case in his qualification match, the action got off to a curious start but this time it worked in the American’s favor. An early caution point was given to Martinez for a 1-0 lead. Nothing presented itself in the first par terre opportunity of the proceedings, as Martinez locked up a gutwrench to lift but couldn’t capitalize.
Kuliev tried to reassert himself when they stood up. He searched for over-under’s and came close to snagging a usable clasp, but Martinez deftly shouldered it away. There was a lot of entertaining in-fighting taking place. Martinez was aggressively in pursuit and nearly had a bodylock in one instance before Kuliev ambled out. It was a constant see-saw between the two Greco wrestlers, each of them grunting and gritting to lasso a tie they could do something with. In an energetic first period of action there was no further scoring to be found.
The second period unfolded similarly to the first. Martinez pushing forward with intent; Kuliev probing for ways to upset his opponent’s balance. To Martinez’s credit, he controlled the center of the mat authoritatively. A step-out point in Kuliev’s favor would have tied the match and resulted in criteria going the Belarusian’s way. As the bout wore on, Kuliev knew he would have to make his move. With just under 20 seconds left, he lowered for a duck-to-bodylock attempt. Martinez sniffed it out right away, maintaining his base and pushing Kuliev down to the mat. The sequence gave Martinez two more points and a 3-0 bronze medal-earning victory.
Earlier in the day, Martinez was down three with just ten seconds remaining against Poland’s Arkadiusz Kulynycz before nailing a dramatic high-dive for four points and an impressive comeback win. He wasn’t as fortunate in the quarterfinals, however. Facing off against Pavel Pominchuk (BLR, world no. 13), Martinez got caught in an over-under dump two separate times in the first period for a surprising 8-0 tech-fall defeat.
The victory over Kuliev represented a nice rebound in an overall productive day for Martinez. He will also have a fairly quick turnaround after he arrives home. On July 5th, Pat Martinez will be heading off to get set for the Spanish Grand Prix on the 9th. It’s all part of the plan to accumulate more matches overseas this summer ahead of the University World Championships later in the fall. And so far, the plan is unfolding pretty successfully.