Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No Holds Barred: Catch Wrestling Champions Nick Caggia, Jamie Driver, and Phil Caracappa 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with catch wrestlers Nick Caggia, Jamie Driver, and Phil Caracappa.

They all were crowned champions at the 2014 Catch Wrestling World Championship, presented by the Snake Pit U.S.A., which took place Sunday, July 27, at the MMA World Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

In these best two-out-of-three-falls matches, and competing in the absolute division, Nick Caggia took home the championship belt after defeating four opponents without surrendering a fall.

The finals, however, saw the 314-pound Caggia face the tournament's flyweight champion, Phil Caracappa, who weighed just 148 pounds. The weight advantage: 166 pounds, with Nick Caggia being more than double Phil Caracappa's weight.

There were no pins or submissions scored in the three five-minute periods of this match, so it went to overtime. Finally, at 4:41 of the overtime period, Nick Caggia was able to wear down Phil Caracappa, score a pin, and win the championship. Before that, Phil Caracappa had won five matches, including three in the absolute division, winning every fall by pin or submission while losing none.

The Nick Caggia-Phil Caracappa match, with its comparisons to the David vs. Goliath story, its marathon progression, and its dramatic overtime finish, will no doubt go down as an epic and historic battle, a match of the year candidate, and one of the most important and remarkable in the current history of the newly-revived sport of catch wrestling.

Jamie Driver did not go into the women's absolute tournament as the favorite or the best-known wrestler of the four women competing in it. However, she clearly dominated her two opponents and won all four falls of her two matches, to win the championship belt.

We spoke with Nick Caggia, Jamie Driver, and Phil Caracappa right after this tournament.

Speaking about wrestling Phil Caracappa in the finals, Nick Caggia said, "He was like a maniac. He kept coming forward all the time and he gave me a run for my money, no doubt about it. Hats off to Phil. He was a great wrestler, and he gave me a hell of a match."

Phil Caracappa said, "Because I knew I was faster, a lot lighter than him, I was just trying to get angles on him, maybe slip, get a duckunder or something." He thought he had secured a face crank in the third period, but Nick Caggia was able to escape, and the match went to overtime. Finally, the weight advantage became decisive. "That was the big difference," he said.

Jamie Driver, who like many grapplers is new to this latest incarnation of catch wrestling, said, "It was definitely a little bit different than what I'm used to. I learned the rules just a couple of weeks ago, but I really liked it. I'm been working my ground a lot, so I wanted to see what I could do, and I took the belt home."

We also spoke with them about how they got involved in catch wrestling, their wrestling and martial arts backgrounds, what other competitions they have been in and plan to enter, and much more.

A photo gallery of the 2014 Catch Wrestling World Championship can be seen here.

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No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

The Liberty Bell Classic / King of Catch Wrestling Tournament, presented by the North American Catch Wrestling Association and Scientific Wrestling. In this tournament, you can only win by pin or submission, with no points. It all takes place Saturday, August 30, at Primal Gym, 231 Bakers Basin Road, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648. For more information, go to kingofcatchwrestling.com.

Snake Pit U.S.A., whose primary mission is to breathe new life into real catch-as-catch-can wrestling and help lead the catch wrestling revolution for martial artists and those pursuing recreational training and fitness alike. For more information, go to SnakePitUSA.com.

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, a catch wrestling promotion that works with the highest level catch wrestlers from around the world with the goal of reviving the great sport of catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance organizes catch wrestling sporting events, and its primary organizer is Dr. Raul Ramirez. For more information, go to catchwrestlingalliance.com.

Takedown Wrestling Media, America's wrestling TV and radio shows, which are hosted by founder Scott Casber, and have been airing on radio and Internet for over 17 years. Takedown Media produces a weekly TV program seen in 54 million homes in the U.S. on DirecTV, Dish Network, and cable affiliates around the country, called Takedown TV. Takedown Media also produces the weekly USA Wrestling TV show for the governing body of the sport, USA Wrestling. For more information, go to http://takedownradio.com.

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