Vincenzo Joseph got to take on a familiar foe in Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez for a shot at repeating as a national champion.
Joseph topped Martinez last year by pinning him in the third period with an inside trip.
Well, Joseph got Martinez again with the inside trip in his 6-1 victory to defend his title.
“I think they were both kind of similar,” Joseph said comparing the two title matchups. “He got on my legs a few times. I was kind of swatting his a little bit. I was able to get two quick back points today, which really helped out.”
Joseph tripped Martinez with 13 seconds remaining in the first period. He then barred up an arm and rolled Martinez over to pick up two near-fall points. Joseph led 4-1 after one period.
Martinez scored an escape in the second period, but he let his frustrations get the best of him. He gave up a penalty point for headbutting Joseph in the chest and the score was 5-1 through two periods.
Joseph tacked on an escape in the third and kept Martinez’s offense at bay for the win.
“We both came out aggressive, trying to score,” Joseph said. “I kind of wanted to push the pace a little bit and make it work a little bit in my favor, that’s what I did.”
With the win, Joseph becomes the only opponent to beat Martinez twice. The only other blemish to Martinez’s career comes from Joseph’s teammate Jason Nolf.