Jordan Burroughs and David Taylor might not know how to ballroom dance, but they sure know how to ballroom brawl.
The highly anticipated rematch fell in the favor of Taylor on Wednesday at the Flowrestling: Burroughs vs. Taylor match at Embassy Suites in Lincoln. Burroughs dropped the match 4-4 on criteria, after previously defeating Taylor in both 2013 and 2014 at the U.S. Open and twice in 2014 at the U.S. World Team Trials.
Taylor bested the former Husker and Olympic gold medalist for the first time, and has become one of the biggest names in the wrestling world. Taylor sat out almost the entirety of the 2019 freestyle season due to injury after recording a world championship at 86 kilograms (189 pounds) in 2018. Burroughs jumped up to the 86-kilo weight class after normally wrestling 73 kilos (163 pounds).
"It stings every time you get beat, especially on a big stage like this; you just reflect and find ways in which you can improve your wrestling," Burroughs said. "Ultimately, the silver lining is we could potentially be teammates (on the USA team for the Tokyo Olympics) four months from now."
Though Taylor won on criteria, he and Burroughs looked at the event as a victory.
Taylor took a 1-0 lead in the first period and held off a Burroughs' bull rush in second to keep the criteria advantage and a 4-4 score.
"I believe this is my time," Taylor said. "I believe I can be the best in the world, I just have to go out and do it. In doing that, you have to win the big ones close, the big ones big, and you have to find a way to do everything in between.
"It's a big match. Really the first big match I've had since the 2018 World Championships. … We're not in our peak, prime wrestling right now, but when you have two guys of that caliber, you're going to get their best. It was good to go out there and feel that intensity level."
For Burroughs, though, it was a chance to prove something to himself.
He jumped up a weight class and read the bulletin board comments from Taylor fans about how he was going to lose big. Taylor is known for his scoring capability, but even Taylor changed his game plan Wednesday knowing that Burroughs is never truly out of a match.
"I thought I could beat him," Burroughs said. "I still think I can beat him. Irregardless, I went criteria with him when a lot of people thought I would get smashed. If you bet against me tonight, you lost, if you're following the odds.
"It's one of those things at this point doesn't really affect me. I wanted to go up for the challenge and see what I could do."