Iran Captures Fifth Straight Freestyle World Cup Title

By United World Wrestling Press

LOS ANGELES (June 12) -- Iran may not have been competing in their home country at the Freestyle World Cup in Los Angeles, but it would be difficult for anyone sitting inside the Forum on Sunday night to surmise the Iranians weren't wrestling at home. 

Wrestling in front of a large contingent of loud, rabid fans, with Iranian chants echoing, flags waving, drums beating and horns blowing, Iran captured its fifth straight title at the Freestyle World Cup.

"We came here with just one goal, to best prepare for the Olympics," said Iran coach Rasoul KHADEM. "Absolutely the fifth World Cup title was important for us, but this is not our main goal. We are so pleased that the Iranian people became happy and they have hope for success in Rio."

Iran topped world wrestling power Russia 5-3 in the gold medal match. The victory over Russia came hours after Iran edged host United States on criteria in both teams' finals match of pool competition. 

Four-time world medalist Hassan RAHIMI opened the dual meet against Russia with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over European champion Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV. Rahimi trailed late in the match before getting a takedown in the final 20 seconds to make the score 3-3 and ultimately give him the victory on criteria. 

"These are the best fans in all of the world," said Rahimi. "They never leave us and all times are beside us. I have to confess that we always need their support and when each of them shouted 'Iran' I heard it on the mat."

Russia appeared to be on its way to evening the score as Viktor RASSADIN built a 6-3 lead in the second period on Iran's Masoud Mahmoud ESMAEILPOORJOUYBARI at 61kg. But the Iranian quickly turned the tables and powered his way to a 12-6 victory.

Russia picked up its first win at 65kg as 2013 world bronze medalist Magomed KURBANALIEV earned a controlled 4-1 victory over Meysam Abolfazl NASIRI. 

Iran then reeled off consecutive dominating wins at 70kg and 74kg with Mostafa Mohabbali HOSSEINKHANI and Hassan Aliazam YAZDANI CHARATI respectively. 

Hosseinkhani, an Asian champion, handled Russia's Khalil AMINOV 10-1 at 70kg.

Yazdani Charati, a world silver medalist and past junior world champion, earned a 13-4 technical fall over Khetik TCABOLOV, a 2014 world champion. 

"We met at the last Medved Cup in Belarus," said Yazdani Charati. "He beat me on final match by my clear fault. But I know him and his tactics. I believe that he is strong opponent with world titles. However, with instructions from my head coach I was able to win this time."

He said he fed off the crowd.

"It feels like I'm home wrestling in Iran," said Yazdani Charati. "The spectators give us positive energy to perform better."

Russia picked up a much-needed win at 86kg as European champion Shamil KUDIIAMAGOMEDOV, ranked No.2 in the world, defeated world bronze medalist and junior world champion Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI 6-3.

With Iran leading 4-2, Russia's Abdusalam GADISOV, a 2014 world champion and 2015 silver medalist, cruised to a 10-3 victory over Amir Mohsen MOHAMMADI (IRI). Gadisov's win kept Russia's hopes alive with one match remaining. 

The final match of the Freestyle World Cup -- with the team title hanging in the balance -- pitted Iran's Komeil Nemat GHASEMI against Russia's Muradin KUSHKHOV. Ghasemi went up 1-0 early, but in the second period the Russian heavyweight was able to secure a takedown and grab a 2-1 lead. A short time later Ghasemi responded with a takedown of his own to the delight of a deafening, pro-Iranian crowd. The takedown gave the Iranian heavyweight the lead and eventually a 3-2 victory, which sealed the championship for Iran. 

"Russia is our main opponent in wrestling, especially in Rio," said Khadem. "We needed to test some of our wrestler in some weights against Russians."

Georgia, runner-up to Russia in Pool A, placed third in the competition, edging the United States 4-4 on criteria. Georgia had one more classification point than the United States.  

That dual meet started with world champion Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI earning a fall over Daniel DENNIS at 57kg after initially trailing 6-0. 

Georgia picked up a key win at 61kg as Beka LOMTADZE claimed a hard-fought 8-5 victory over Tony RAMOS. The American wrestler trailed 4-1 late in the match before executing a four-point thrown to get back in it. But Lomtadze was able to hang on for the victory and give Georgia a 2-0 lead. 

Frank MOLINARO put USA on the scoreboard with a 4-4 decision on criteria over Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) at 65kg. The Georgian led 3-2 late in the match before Molinaro was able to secure a takedown to take the lead and eventually close out the match.

World bronze medalist James GREEN (USA) was very impressive in a 10-0 technical fall over World No.6 Davit TLASHADZE (GEO). Green scored with leg attacks and leg laces to secure the technical fall. 

American Alex DIERINGER, filling in for Jordan BURROUGHS, gave up the first point at 74kg, but dominated the rest of the way, scoring 10 unanswered points to earn a 10-1 victory. 

Olympic bronze medalist Dato MARSAGISHVILI stopped the bleeding for Georgia as he beat J'den COX (USA) 7-4 at 86kg. Marsagishvil led 7-0 before Cox had a late rally but ultimately fell short.  

World champion Kyle SNYDER (USA) had to dig deep to beat World No.5 Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) 3-3 on criteria. Snyder trailed late before securing a takedown in the final 10 seconds to earn the victory. 

In the final match of the dual meet, two-time World bronze Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) earned a 6-2 victory over Zack REY (USA).

Azerbaijan placed fifth with a 5-3 victory over Mongolia. India came in seventh place, beating Turkey 4-3.

GOLD: IRAN (IRI) df. RUSSIA (RUS), 5-3 
57 kg - Hassan Sabzali RAHIMI (IRI) df. Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS), 3-3
61 kg - Masoud Mahmoud ESMAEILPOORJOUYBARI (IRI) df. Viktor RASSADIN (RUS), 12-6
65 kg - Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS) df. Meysam Abolfazl NASIRI (IRI), 4-1
70 kg - Mostafa Mohabbali HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) df. Khalil AMINOV (RUS), 10-1
74 kg - Hassan Aliazam YAZDANICHARATI (IRI) df. Khetik TCABOLOV (RUS) by TF, 13-4
86 kg - Shamil KUDIIAMAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI), 6-3
97 kg - Abdusalam GADISOV (RUS) df. Amir Mohsen MOHAMMADI (IRI), 10-3
125 kg - Komeil Nemat GHASEMI (IRI) df. Muradin KUSHKHOV (RUS), 3-2

BRONZE: GEORGIA (GEO) df. UNITED STATES (USA), 4-4 
57 kg - Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) df. Daniel Paul DENNIS-KENGOTT (USA) by FALL, 8-6
61 kg - Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) df. Anthony Joseph RAMOS (USA), 8-5
65 kg - Frank Aniello MOLINARO (USA) df. Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO), 4-4
70 kg - James Malcolm GREEN (USA) df. Davit TLASHADZE (GEO) by TF, 10-0
74 kg - Alexander David DIERINGER (USA) df. Jakob MAKARASHVILI (GEO), 10-1
86 kg - Dato MARSAGISHVILI (GEO) df. J'Den Michael Tbory COX (USA), 7-4
97 kg - Kyle Frederick SNYDER (USA) df. Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO), 3-3
125 kg - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Zachery William REY (USA), 6-2

5th: AZERBAIJAN (AZE) df. MONGOLIA (MGL), 5-3 
57 kg - Makhmud MAGOMEDOV (AZE) df. Batbold SODNOMDASH (MGL) by TF, 11-0
61 kg - Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) df. Tuvshintulga TUMENBILEG (MGL) by TF, 10-0
65 kg - Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL) df. Magomed MUSLIMOV (AZE), 7-3
70 kg - Gadzhimurad OMAROV (AZE) df. Altangerel DORJTSEGMED (MGL), 6-5
74 kg - Unurbat PUREVJAV (MGL) df. Ashraf ALIYEV (AZE), 7-0
86 kg - Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL) df. Magomedgadzhi KHATIYEV (AZE) by FALL, 4-6
97 kg - Aslanbek ALBOROV (AZE) df. Khuderbulga DORJKHAND (MGL), 6-1
125 kg - Said GAMIDOV (AZE) df. Chuluunbat JARGALSAIKHAN (MGL), 6-2

7th: INDIA (IND) df. TURKEY (TUR), 4-3 
57 kg - Suleyman ATLI (TUR) df. Amit KUMAR (IND) by forfeit, 0-0
61 kg - Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) df. Mehmet SOYLER (TUR) by TF, 11-0
65 kg - Rajnesh RAJNEESH (IND) df. Servet COSKUN (TUR), 4-3
70 kg - Kumar Omprakash VINOD (IND) df. Selahattin KILICSALLAYAN (TUR), 10-9
74 kg - Parveen RANA (IND) df. Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) by forfeit, 0-0
86 kg - Selim YASAR (TUR) df. Pawan KUMAR (IND) by TF, 10-0
97 kg - Muren Fikret MUTLU (TUR) df. Satywart KADIAN (IND) by Injury Default, 0-0
125 kg - Hitender HITENDER (IND) df. Taha AKGUL (TUR), 0-0