Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! May 7, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing results from Beat the Streets and the 50th Annual Ali Aliyev. Also looking at the latest world rankings and David Taylor suffering a right knee injury. 

1. Burroughs Bullies Askren at Beat the Streets 
A star-studded crowd that featured Kelly Rippa and Neil deGrasse Tyson, among many others, showed up to see Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) bully Ben ASKREN, 11-0 in Beat the Streets’ featured bout of the night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. 

The London Olympic champion Burroughs was up 9-0 after the opening period and used a second-period takedown to close out the match against the 2008 Olympian and current UFC fighter Ben Askren. 

In the co-main event of the night, American youngster Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) pulled off the shocking upset over India’s No. 1-ranked Bajrang PUNIA (IND), 10-8. 

The pair traded takedowns in the opening period, but it was Bajrang who led 2-2 on criteria heading into the second period. In the closing three minutes, the American scored eight points from two takedowns off his own shots, and a pair of counter-offensive maneuvers to stun the reigning world silver medalist by two points.

Another young wrestler who picked up a win over a returning world medalist was Nick SURIANO (USA). Suriano, the third year college student, scored a second-period takedown and grabbed the 3-1 upset victory over Budapest world bronze medalist Joe COLON (USA). 

Other stars that were victorious on the night were J'den COX (USA), James GREEN (USA), Nick GWIAZDOWSKI (USA), and Kyle SNYDER (USA). 

RESULTS
57kg - Jack MUELLER (USA) df. Nick PICCININNI (USA), 11-0
62kg (WW) - Mallory VELTE (USA) df. Linda MORAIS (CAN), 10-0
70kg - James GREEN (USA) df. Anthony ASHNAULT (USA), 8-4 
97kg - Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN), 15-1
125kg - Nick GWIAZDOWSKI (USA) df. Derek WHITE( USA), 9-0
57kg (WW) - Becka LEATHERS (USA) df. Diana WEICKER (CAN), 10-6
61kg - Nick SURIANO (USA) df. Joe COLON (USA), 3-1
86kg - Drew FOSTER (USA) df. David TAYLOR (USA), via injury default (0:31)
92kg - J'den COX (USA) df. Patrick BRUCKI (USA), 10-0
65kg - Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) df. Bajrang PUNIA (IND), 10-8
74kg - Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) df. Ben ASKREN (USA), 11-0

Reiniging 57kg world champion Zaur UGUEV (RUS)  made his return to the mat for the first time since his run to a world title and won the 50th Annual Ali Aliyev 57kg gold medal. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

2. 50th Annual Ali Aliyev Wraps up in Dagestan 
The Russian Federation reeled in seven of ten gold medals at the 50th annual Ali Aliyev Memorial tournament - which was held in Kaspiisk, Dagestan at the namesake arena, the Ali Aliyev Palace of Sport and Youth.

The biggest storylines from Russia’s seven-gold-medal performances came at 57kg and 125kg where Zaur UGUEV (RUS) and Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS) respectively reached the top of the podium. 

Uguev, the reigning 57kg world champion, made his return to the mat for the first time since last October’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, when he went 4-0 and capped off his world title run with a 4-3 win over Kazakhstan’s Nurislam (Artas) SANAYEV (SANAA) (KAZ) in the gold-medal bout. 

In the Ali Aliyev finals, Uguev completed his gold-medal run with a 3-0 win over fellow Russia Azamat TUSKAEV to win his first Ali Aliyev title. His previous highest finish came in 2016 when he finished in fifth place. 

At 125kg, Vladislav Baitsaev easily handled Pavel KRIVTSOV (RUS), 11-1 and also won his first Ali Aliyev title. This was Baitsaev’s first competition up from his normal weight of 97kg. The Russian won the European title last year at 97kg before surrendering his spot to eventual 97kg world champion Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS).

Instead of trying to upend “The Russian Tank,” Baitsaev will move up to 125kg with hopes of making the Russian World Team for the first time in his career. To represent the Russian Federation in Nur-Sultan, Baitsaev will have to beat two-time world fifth-place finisher Anzor KHIZRIEV, who has held the 125kg spot since 2017. 

The three non-Russian gold medals weight to Bajrang PUNIA (IND), Sharip SHARIPOV (AZE), and Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB). 

Bajrang scored a 13-8 come-from-behind win over Viktor RASSADIN (RUS) in the 65kg finals. 

Azerbaijan’s Olympic champion Sharip Sharipov picked up a 7-4 victory over Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (RUS) in the 92kg finals, and Uzbekistan’s Magomed Ibragimov stuck Cuba’s Reineris SALAS PEREZ to win the 97kg title. 

RESULTS 
57kg – Zaur UGUEV (RUS) df. Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS), 3-0
61kg – Zelimkhan ABAKAROV (RUS) df. Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS),4-0
65kg – Bajrang PUNIA (IND) df. Viktor RASSADIN (RUS), 13-8
70kg – Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS) df. Gitinomagomed GADZHYEV (AZE), 8-0 
74kg – Darsan DSHAPAROV (RUS) df. Akhmed USMANOV (RUS)5-2
79kg – Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) df. Artur BICHENOV (RUS), via fall
86kg – Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) df. Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS), 2-2
92kg Sharip SHARIPOV (AZE) df. Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (RUS),7-4
97kg – Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB) df. Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB), via fall
125kg – Vladislav BAITSAEV (RUS) df. Pavel KRIVTSOV (RUS),11-1

3. Punia and Atli Ascend to Top of Freestyle World Rankings After Continental Title Runs
Six European wrestlers own a No. 1-ranking in the latest set of United World Wrestling’s point-based freestyle world rankings. Pan-American countries boast a trio of wrestlers who are ranked No. 1, while Asia has the remaining wrestler sitting atop of the world rankings heading into the final set of freestyle Ranking Series events.

The most significant changes atop this month’s rankings came at 57kg and 65kg where Suleyman ATLI (TUR) and Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) respectively gained control of the world No. 1 ranking with their continental title-winning performances.

Click HERE for a full breakdown of freestyle world rankings. 

4. Nine World Champions Hold onto Top Ranking
In the lastest women’s wrestling rankings nine gold medalists from last year’s Budapest World Championships sit atop of their respective weight classes. Asia has four top-ranked wrestlers, while Europe and Pan-American countries each have three. 

Japan has three of the four top-ranked Asian wrestlers. Their trio of No.1’s are Yui SUSAKI (JPN) (50kg), Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN) (55kg), and Risako KAWAI (JPN) (59kg). The fourth Asian wrestler who owns a top ranking is China’s RONG Ningning (CHN)(57kg). 

Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) (62kg), Petra Maarit OLLI (FIN) (65kg), and Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) (68kg) are the three European No.1-ranked wrestlers. 

Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) (86 points), Justina DI STASIO (CAN) (72kg), and Adeline GRAY (USA) (76kg), who are all from Pan-American nations, round out the first-ranked wrestlers in this month’s rankings. 

Of the ten wrestlers sitting atop of the rankings, the lone non-returning world champion that owns a No.1-ranking is the United States’ Sarah Hildebrandt. She started the season with 40 points from her world silver medal, then earned 20 points for her Pan-American gold, 14 points for her Ivan Yariguin title, and 12 points for her third-place finish at the Dan Kolov. 

Click HERE for a full breakdown of women's wrestling world rankings. 

5. Taylor Goes Down at Beat the Streets 
The reigning 86kg world champion and one of the pound-for-pound best wrestlers in the world David TAYLOR (USA) injury defaulted out of his Beat the Streets match against Drew FOSTER (USA) after going down with an apparent right knee injury, 31 seconds into the match. 

In the opening sequence of the bout, Foster got to a low-level shot to the right leg of Taylor and came up through the middle. Foster peaked out the back door and isolated the right leg of Taylor. Foster, who was posted on his right hand, threw his left hip to the mat, which is when Taylor stopped wrestling and immediately grabbed his right knee. 

The reigning world champion tried to continue, but his right knee buckled the first time he put his body weight on it, and ultimately forced him to injury default out of the match. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 
1. Big Move Monday -- TASMURADOV E. (UZB) -- 2015 Senior Asian C'ships
2. Reigning world champion @magomedrasul_gazimagomedov70(92 points) has locked up the 70kg No.1 seed at the #WrestleNurSultanWorld Championships after building a commanding 52 point lead over the rest of the weight class. 📸: @sachikohotaka
3. @sadulaev_abdulrashid (80 points) and @snyderman45 (78 points) are guaranteed a top-three seed (97kg) at the #WrestleNurSultan World Championships.
4. Bajrang Never Stops Wrestling!
5. Saturday smiles with SUN Yanan 🇨🇳 during her visit to Switzerland 🇨🇭for the UWW Athletes Commission. 📸: @flo_wrestling_uww

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! March 17, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Valencia Escoto and Destribats' historic performances at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers. Also looking at Cuba's GR team qualifying every weight for #Tokyo2020 and Olympic champs Maroulis and Wiebe qualifying their nation's for the Tokyo Games.

1. Valencia Escoto First Mexican Woman to Qualify for Olympic Games
Alma Jane VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) became the first-ever Mexican women's wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games after winning the 57kg gold medal at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. She won all four of her bouts in Ottawa – including a win by fall over world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) and a victory via forfeit over Helen MAROULIS (USA).

Valencia Escoto opened her day up with a pair of decisive wins over Betzabeth SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN) and Nes RODRIGUEZ TIRADO (PUR), which inserted her into the semifinals against Canada's reigning world champion, Linda Morais. 

In her semifinals meeting with the current 59kg world-title holder, Valencia Escoto stopped an early open double-leg attempt with a counter-offensive throw. She snuck in an underhook on the Canadian's right side during her shot attempt and tossed her to her back for the early 4-0 lead. 

Valencia Escoto's opponenet fought off her back and nearly scored a takedown of a slide by attempt. Still, somehow, the newly-minted Olympian had the world champion fighting off her back for the second time in the opening period. 

The tides turned quickly, and Valencia Escoto was the one fighting off her back. She got saved by the period-ending whistle and carried the 6-2 lead into the closing period.

In the final period, Valencia Escoto halted a left side high crotch attempt and flattened Morais for the fall – becoming the first-ever Mexican women to wrestle at the Olympic Games.

Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) finished in second place at 65kg at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier and qualified Argentina for the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Destribats Ends 24-year Argentinean Freestyle Olympic Drought
Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) ended a 24-year Argentinean freestyle Olympic drought and qualified his nation for the Tokyo Olympics after he pinned American Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the 65kg semifinals. With his semifinal victory via fall, Destribats became the first Argentinean freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games since Paulo IBIRE (ARG) did so at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In his meeting with the Retherford, Destribats conceded an open double leg and nearly gave up an ankle lace but was able to fend off the turn and catch the American on his back. He held Retherford on his back for 25 seconds before picking up the opening period fall to secure his spot at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Helen MAROULIS (USA) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games at 57kg with her silver-medal finish at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Olympic Champs Maroulis and Wiebe Qualify Nation's for Olympic Games 
Olympic champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Erica WIEBE (CAN) qualified their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing in the top-two of their respective weights at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. The pair remained on course to defend their gold medals from the Rio Olympic Games. 

Maroulis, who was wrestling in her first international competition since the 2018 World Championships, won four matches before injury defaulting out of the finals after locking up the United States' spot at 57kg for the Olympics.

In her first match, Maroulis easily handled Canada's Linda Morias, 10-2, in the battle of Olympic champion and world champion. 

Maroulis defeated Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) and Lissette ANTES (ECU) in the next two rounds and was one win away from earning a second berth to the Olympic Games for the United States. 

In the semifinals, Maroulis crushed Nes RODRIGUEZ (PUR), 10-0, and qualified the Stars and Stripes for the Olympic Games at 57kg. 

She'll now have to win the Olympic Trials to become the United States' Olympic representative at 57kg.

Canada's Erica Wiebe was the second Olympic champion who qualified for the Olympic Games over the weekend. Wiebe, who was wrestling in her hometown of Ottawa, won the 76kg bracket and locked up her shot at repeating as Olympic champion. 

She opened up her day with a narrow 2-1 win over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). She tacked on dominant wins over Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) and Andrimar LAZARO (VEN), setting up a semifinals match with Genesis REASCO (ECU).

Wiebe shutout Reasco Valdez, 6-0, in their semifinals meeting and earned her berth to the Olympic Games. She injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match against Aline Da Silva Ferreira and finished with a silver medal.

Wiebe won the Canadian Wrestling Trails in December and will represent Canada at 76kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) is one of six Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers who will wrestle at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Cuba Sending All Six GR Wrestlers to Olympics 
Cuba’s Greco-Roman team came into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier searching for four qualification spots after earning two Olympic berths from the Nur-Sultan World Championships from Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Over the weekend, they had three wrestlers win gold medals and one individual finish in second place at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier – which took their qualification total to all six weight categories. 

Their three champions were Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB), Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB), while Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) finished in second place.

In addition to their Greco-Roman success, Cuba's women's wrestling team also shined in Ottawa. 

Coming into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier, Katherine VIDIAUX (CUB) was the lone Cuban woman who ever wrestled at the Olympic Games. She'll now be joined in the history books by Lianna MONTERO (CUB) and Yusneylis GUZMAN (CUB), who won gold medals at 50kg and 53kg, respectively, and qualified for the Olympic Games. 

Greco-Roman Qualifying Weights/Athletes
60kg - Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World Championships gold 
77kg - Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
87kg - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier silver
97kg - Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) World Championships silver

5. European, World 'Last Chance' Olympic Qualifiers Postponed
The European Qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, along with the World "Last Chance" Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for April 30-May 3, have been postponed.

The events will be rescheduled, with the European Qualifier expected to take place in mid-May and the World "Last Chance" Qualifier held at the beginning of June.

"We are closely monitoring the governmental response to COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to our wrestlers, coaches, and fans with more information as it becomes available," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic.

"The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic. The health and well-being of the athletes is an absolute priority."