Gray and Adar, Otoguro and Punia Among Match of the Year Award Winners
Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 16:58 By Eric Olanowski
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 27) -- United World Wrestling designated a freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women’s wrestling match for the 2018 Matches of the Year.
The two wrestlers went back-and-forth in a high-scoring affair that was filled with tons of action.
The first period saw several wild exchanges, which resulted in four takedowns, a four-point throw, and a step out, giving Otoguro the 7-6 lead heading into the second and final period.
The pair of rising stars remained offensive after their 13 point opening period and tacked on 12 addition points in the second period for a match total of 25 points.
Otoguro, at just 19 years old, was not going to be denied a gold medal and pulled away for a 16-9 victory, becoming Japan’s youngest freestyle world champion ever.
Makhmudov, a two-time junior world medalist, introduced himself to the senior level by forging an 8-6 win over 2017 world runner-up Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ) in the 72kg finals of Greco-Roman Asian finals in his home country of Kyrgyzstan.
"The biggest help for me was that the Kyrgyz people screamed for me to be strong and also to do better," Makhmudov told the Kyrgyz media of the thunderous roar from the crowd. "When I heard it, I thought, 'I can die here on the floor but I will still win. This win will be for them.'"
Gray struck early with a head outside single and grabbed the 2-0 advantage after the first 20 seconds of the bout. Adar rebounded with her patented arm spin and took the 4-2 lead into the closing period.
The American came out firing in the final period and scored her second takedown of the match, but still trailed 4-4 on criteria. Adar regained the 6-5 outright lead with 90 seconds remaining, stepping over a Gray gut wrench attempt for the two-point exposure.
Gray closed out the Klippan Lady Open finals with a takedown with less than a minute remaining to steal the match, 7-6. More importantly, Gray regained supremacy of the 76kg weight class after sitting out the entire 2017 season.