Three "Must Watch" Day Three Matches at the Ivan Yariguin

By Eric Olanowski

KRASNOYARSK, Russia (January 25) - The brackets for the third day of freestyle and women's wrestling at the Ivan Yariguin have been released and here are three potential matches that you can't afford to miss. 

1. Kyle SNYDER (USA) vs. Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) 

This 97kg semifinals match would be a rematch of last year’s Beat the Streets in New York City where Snyder, the two-time world and Rio Olympic champion, overcame an 8-1 deficit to beat the Cuban 2014 world silver medalist, 9-8. 

Salas Perez scored a takedown, a right-sided gut wrench, and a massive four-point throw to build his 8-1 lead. But, the American superstar was able to close out the inaugural period with a pair of one point exchanges, slimming the differential to five points heading into the final period. 

From there, Snyder’s smothering pace proved to be too much for Perez, as the reigning world and Olympic champion closed the match on an 8-0 run, and ultimately won the bout, 9-8.

Magomed KURBANILIEV (RUS), 2016 world champion, makes his debut at 74kg 

2. Magomed KURBANILIEV (RUS) vs. Yakup GOR (TUR) 

This 74kg quarterfinal sticks a pair of former 70kg hammers against each other for a spot in Saturday's Yariguin semifinals. 

Kurbanaliev, the world and European champion down at 70kg, is making his debut up at 74kg.  This is the Russian’s first weight change since 2016 when he bumped up from 65kg to 70kg. 

On the flip side, Gor, a two-time world medalist down at 70kg, made the leap up to one of the toughest weight classes in the world last season and failed to make Turkey’s world team after five consecutive trips to the world championships. 

This match is only possible if Kurbanaliev wins his all-Russian wrestle-off match against 2018 Russian Nationals bronze medalist Nikita SUCHKOV, and both wrestlers win their qualification matches. 

Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER), 2017 world runner-up, makes her return after falling short of a medal at the 2018 World championships. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

3. Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER) vs. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) 

This 76kg semifinal match pits the pair of world finalist from two seasons ago against each other. 

Both Focken and Marzaliuk are looking to bounce back after underperforming at the 2018 world championships. The German wrestler went 2-1 in Budapest and fell 6-4 to eventual bronze medalist Erica WIEBE (CAN), while the Belarusian went 0-1 and lost 8-6 to eventual fifth-place finisher Zsanett NEMETH (HUN). 

The pair were in the same bracket at last year's Poland Open and the World Championships, but this would be their first career meeting. 


Ten "Must Watch" Matches from the Ivan Yariguin

By Eric Olanowski

There were countless great matches that took place over the four days of wrestling at the first Ranking Series event of the year, the Ivan Yariguin, and we took the time to compile a list of the ten best matches with the most action and biggest storylines. 

1. FS 74kg FINALS - Reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) squared off against two-time world medalist Yakup GOR (TUR) in the 74kg gold-medal bout, and was the victor, 5-4. 

2. WW 72kg FINALS -  Tamyra MENSAH (USA) defeated Yuka KAGAMI (JPN) to become the first American wrestler in any style to win three Yariguin titles. 

3. FS 125kg FINALS - Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) stopped the two-time world and Rio Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) from winning his first Yariguin title 

4. FS 97kg Qualification - Rasul MAGOMEDOV (RUS) stunned the two-time world and Rio Olympic champion Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the opening round at 97kg. 

5. WW 68kg Qualification - Khanum VELIEVA (RUS), the four-time age-level world champion, got revenge on Cuba's first-ever women's wrestling world champion Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUES (CUB) in the opening round. This was a rematch of the U23 world championships, where Sanchez Rodrigues was victorious over Velieva, 5-0. 

6. FS 65kg Semifinal  - Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS), the two-time world bronze medalist, locked up his finals spot with a win over fellow Russian, Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS), who is a two-time world silver medalist. This was Rashidov's second tournament up at 65kg. He usually competes down at 61kg but will attempt to move up to 65kg this season. 

7.  WW 57kg Semifinal - SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL) stopped U23 world champion Grace BULLEN (NOR) and earned her spot in the Yariguin finals. 

8. FS 125kg Semifinal - Taha Akgul shut out 2018 world runner-up Zhiwei DENG (CHN) and earned his first trip to a Yariguin gold-medal bout.

 9. FS 79kg Qualification - Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) halted 2018 world bronze medalist Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) in the opening round, but later fell to Gadzhimagomedov in the round-robin finals at 79kg. 

10. WW 68kg Quarterfinals - ENKH AMAR Davaanasan (MGL) picked up a huge win over Russia's four-time age-level world champion and UWW's Junior Female Wrestler of the Year Khanum Velieva in the semifinals and eventually went on to win the silver medal at 68kg.