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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Mendez Edges Alirez at Beat the Streets NYC

    One of the mainstays of spring wrestling is the Beat the Streets Gala from New York City. Over the years, this event has raised large amounts of money to benefit young wrestlers in the Big Apple. This year’s event was a bit different as it was on the heels of the 2024 Olympic Team Trials. 

    In lieu of a card full of matches, the event featured guest speakers Neal DeGrasse Tyson, Tim Ferriss, and the legendary Jordan Burroughs. As is typically the case, there were a few matches that involved local wrestlers affiliated with Beat the Streets NYC. The main event did feature a pair of familiar faces - Jesse Mendez and Andrew Alirez; the two most recent national champions at 141 lbs. Both recently competed at the Olympic Team Trials, though they did not clash in State College. 

    The Mendez/Alirez clash was the main event of the evening from the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan. 

    As high-profile matches can produce - the bout was filled with handfighting and some hesitancy from both parties regarding taking a committed attack. With that being the case, Alirez was put on the shot clock and could not score, giving Mendez a 1-0 lead at the break. 

    In the second stanza, the roles were reversed and Alirez got on the board after Mendez’s inability to score on the shot clock. Alirez’s lead was short-lived as Mendez quickly responded by shooting Alirez off the edge for a step-out point. 

    2-1 is the way the match would go heading into the final :15 seconds. At that point, Alirez turned up the intensity and frequency of his attacks. Desperate for a takedown, Alirez appeared to go for a last-ditch throw effort; however, that was thwarted by Mendez for a takedown of his own. Shortly after, the final buzzer sounded and Mendez got his hand raised after a 4-1 victory. 

    While the actual action during the main event left fans wanting more and hoping for a rematch between these two offensive-minded grapplers, the event served its purpose and generated plenty of money which will be used to benefit the young wrestlers of New York City. Hats off to Mendez and Alirez for taking the bout, on short notice, and likely not in peak condition considering the quick turnaround from the Olympic Trials. 

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