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The formal college wrestling season is over -- but there's still good wrestling to watch.

WHO: several recent Iowa graduates take on some of the best freestyle wrestlers in the country
WHEN: Friday, April 3 (7:30 PM CT)
WHERE: US Cellular Center (Cedar Rapids, IA)
RADIO: none
TV: none
ONLINE: (click "Buy PPV Here"; $4.99)

I first mentioned this show a few weeks ago, but I'm bringing it up again because it's taking place tonight -- and it sounds like a blast.  Agon V is a professional wrestling card, but it's professional in the sense that these are wrestlers getting actually getting paid to wrestle, not in the WWE sense.  (Not that we here at BHGP have anything against the latter, of course.)  This card is going feature a series of freestyle* bouts between several recent Iowa graduates, including fan-favorites like Brent Metcalf, Tony Ramos, and Matt McDonough, taking on some of the best freestyle wrestlers in the country, like super-prospect Aaron Pico and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo.  As an added bonus, it's also going to feature a handful of bouts featuring several of Iowa's top recruits over the next few years.  (In order to preserve their amateur status -- and college eligibility -- they won't be getting paid to wrestle on this card.)

* Despite what I said last time, it looks like Agon will be using the current freestyle rules at this event.

Here's a rundown of the main card:

1) Brent Metcalf vs Aaron Pico
2) Tony Ramos vs Henry Cejudo
3) Matt McDonough vs Angel Escobedo
4) Phil Keddy vs Deron Winn
5) Derek St. John vs. Jason Welch

Metcalf, Ramos, McDonough, and St. John are four of the most decorated wrestlers from the last decade of Iowa wrestling -- they all won national championships (Metcalf and McDonough each won a pair of titles) and brought home multiple All-America honors.  They were also among the most exciting and action-packed wrestlers Iowa has produced in recent years (with the exception of St. John, who tended to wrestle a more deliberate style), so they won't be afraid of producing some fireworks tonight.  Keddy isn't as decorated as the other Iowa wrestlers here, but he is a good freestyle wrestler and he was always one of the more offensive-minded upper weight wrestlers around.  In other words, he won't be afraid to produce some fireworks, either.

The competition they're facing isn't too shabby, either.  Pico is an 18-year old super prospect who might be the future of the 66 kg division for the United States.  He bypassed a college career to focus exclusively on freestyle competition (and, eventually, an MMA career in Bellator).  He's already beat some top senior competition and racked up some medal-winning performances along the way.  Pico figures to be the guy that Metcalf has to hold off to secure a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team (which will probably be Metcalf's last and best chance to try to claim an Olympic medal) -- this is an early chance to see how they stack up against one another, before the battles that really matter a year from now.

Ramos is taking on Cejudo, who already has what everyone else wrestling tonight wants: an Olympic gold medal.  Cejudo brought home gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and retired shortly before the 2012 Olympics in London.  He's been primarily focusing on MMA lately -- he won a unanimous decision at UFC 185 just under three weeks ago.  Cejudo has a significant experience advantage on Ramos, but Ramos is younger, hungrier for freestyle success, and completely focused on freestyle wrestling.  He's also done well in his early forays into freestyle competition.  This should be a fascinating match-up.  Fun fact: both guys were also extensively trained by Terry Brands (Cejudo at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and Ramos at Iowa).

McDonough will finally get a chance to avenge one of his few collegiate losses, a 6-4 loss in the Big Ten Tournament finals in 2010.  McD went on to win at NCAA championship that year, but didn't face Escobedo because he got upset before he and McDonough could square off again.  Escobedo has also enjoyed a successful freestyle career since graduating from college in 2010.

Derek St. John-Jason Welch is the resumption of an old -- if one-sided -- college rivalry; DSJ went 6-0 against Welch while they were at Iowa and Northwestern, respectively.  Their most memorable match was DSJ's 3-2 win over Welch in the NCAA Tournament finals in 2013.

Finally, Keddy and Winn. Winn was a JUCO All-American and Division III national champion who has gone to enjoy a fair amount of success in the freestyle ranks  (including several bronze medals) in recent years.  Keddy was a member of Iowa's 2008-2010 Big Ten/NCAA champion teams and though he was never an NCAA finalist (his best finish was 4th in 2009), he was a reliable contributor to those title-winning teams.  He's done well in freestyle since then.

And the High School Elite matches (rankings per InterMat):

1) 113 lbs: #1 Justin Mejia (Clovis, CA) vs #2 Austin Gomez (Glenbard North, IL)
2) 145 lbs: #1 Mike Kemerer (Franklin Regional, PA) vs #3 Fredy Stoker (Bettendorf, IA)
3) 160 lbs: #1 Alex Marinelli (St. Paris Graham, OH) vs #2 Josh Shields (Franklin Regional, PA)

Mejia, Kemerer, and Marinelli are Iowa recruits.  Kemerer is a Class of 2015 recruit and will be at Iowa next fall.  Marinelli is a Class of 2016 recruit and will be at Iowa in the fall of 2016.  Mejia is a Class of 2017 recruit and will be at Iowa in the fall of 2017.  (Neither Marinelli nor Mejia has signed a letter of intent yet, so their commitments are purely verbal.)  Obviously, these aren't guys who will be providing an immediate boost for Iowa -- Kemerer is the only who will be at Iowa next season and he likely won't contribute as a true freshman.  But even if they aren't able to help out Iowa immediately, they represent the very exciting future that Iowa wrestling has -- they're all highly touted recruits and could easily be the core of an Iowa team that brings a national championship back to Iowa (though hopefully Iowa is able to claim a title before that core gets fully assembled -- likely in 2017 or  2018).  This is a great opportunity to get an early look at what they're capable of, albeit in freestyle competition, rather than the folkstyle wrestling they'll be doing at Iowa.  Marinelli, in particular, is a super-exciting prospect -- he utterly demolished the competition on his way to a third-straight Ohio state championship a few weeks ago.

* * *

KJ Pilcher has a pair of good articles about Agon V here and here; they're definitely worth checking out.

And our friends at IAWrestle have been producing great content about Agon V for several weeks, including interviews with McD/EscobedoMetcalf/Pico, and Ramos/Cejudo.  I would definitely recommend heading over to IAWrestle and checking out their posts about Agon V.

The event is scheduled to get underway at 7:30 PM CT; I'm planning to post results and impressions in the comments here.  Feel free to join in.