Mark Grey at the NCAA Championships (photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
With the UFC, PFL and Bellator taking the weekend off for the holiday, there are not nearly as many high-profile domestic MMA cards this weekend. However, there are still several former wrestlers in action across Valor FC 84, Titan FC 70, and CFFC 98.
Valor FC 84 takes place Friday night and is available via internet pay per view. In the main event, the promotion's amateur light heavyweight champion Torrez Finney defends his title against Tylando Mattress. Finney was a two-time Georgia state champion in high school for Jones County and reportedly earned a scholarship to wrestle for Tennessee Chattanooga. Despite this, he chose to focus on football at UTC . After his sophomore season, he returned to the wrestling mats. However, in his first match back against Devin Nye (Kent State), he suffered a knee injury and walked away from the sport. He made his amateur MMA debut last October and has won his first three fights.
Also, on Friday, the Titan FC 70 card, which airs on UFC Fight Pass, features a pair of former NAIA All-Americans. Denzel Freeman, who wrestled for Cumberlands before training at the WWE Performance Center, is scheduled to face Duane Crespo. Riley Boomer, who was an NAIA champion for Missouri Valley, will face Angel Alvarez. Interestingly enough, Boomer competed at 174 pounds in college, but this fight will be all the way down at featherweight (145 pounds).
CFFC 98 takes place on Saturday in Philadelphia and features several names wrestling fans likely remember. The biggest one of those names is clearly Mark Grey. On the high school level, Grey was a four-time National Prep champion before Blair Academy before going to Cornell for college . There he was a three-time NCAA qualifier and finished with an 81-42 record. Grey made his amateur MMA debut this past March. On Saturday, he faces off against Todd Box in another amateur fight.
Miles Lee reportedly did not start wrestling until his sophomore year of high school. However, he still finished fifth in Pennsylvania as a senior. In 2017, he went on quite a run at Fargo and made it to the finals in freestyle before coming up short against current Iowa All-American Jacob Warner. Along the way, Lee defeated current UTC wrestler Matthew Waddell in the semifinals. Lee made his professional debut earlier this year and defeated Troy Cain. At CFFC 98, he hopes to improve to 2-0 against Liam Anderson.
Bryan Diaz wrestled for former Lehigh standout Jon Trenge at Parkland high school in Pennsylvania. There he was a District XI placewinner. Diaz is currently on the roster at Division III York College, and he will take on Saige Gomez in his amateur MMA debut.
Santo Curatolo was a multiple-time PSAL city individual large schools champion and actually wrestled at the 2012 edition of Beat the Streets. He will face Dilshod Zaripov at CFFC 98.
Also on the card, Joseph Schick takes on Zachary Burhans. Schick wrestled collegiately for East Stroudsburg when they were at the Division I level. He currently manages a fighter career while working as a school teacher.