Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! September 3, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Iran's new freestyle line up and Retherford downing Diakomihalis to claim USA's 65kg world team spot. Also looking at the most wide-open weight at the World Championships and when rosters are scheduled to be released. 

1. Iran’s New-Look Lineup 
Iran finalized their freestyle roster over the weekend and made two major unexpected updates to the top half of their lineup. 

Reza YAZADANI (IRI) and Parviz HADI (IRI) were entered at 97kg and 125kg respectively, but both suffered injuries during their final training cycle and will no longer compete in Kazakhstan. 

Yazdani, the two-time world champion, will be replaced by Ali Khalil SHABANIBENGAR (IRI) at 97kg. Shabanibengar was a runner-up at the Yasar Dogu, where he lost to Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the finals. 

Yadollah MOHEBI (IRI) will replace returning world bronze medalist Parviz Hadi at 125kg. This season, Mohebi won the Takhti Cup and Asian Championships and also finished in fifth place at the Yasar Dogu. 

Iran’s Freestyle Lineup 
57kg - Reza ATRINAGHARCHI
61kg - Behnam Eshagh EHSANPOOR
65kg - Amirmohammad Babak YAZDANICHERATI
70kg - Yones Aliakbar EMAMICHOGHAEI
74kg - Reza Alireza AFZALIPAEMAMI
79kg - Bahman Mohammad TEYMOURI
86kg - Hassan Aliazam YAZDANICHARATI
92kg - Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI
97kg - Ali Khalil SHABANIBENGAR
125kg - Yadollah MOHEBI

2. Retherford Takes Down Diakomihalis, to Represent USA at 65kg 
Zain RETHERFORD (USA) downed Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA), 2-1, and will represent the United States of America at 65kg at the 2019 World Championships. 

Retherford won the first Final X series a few months ago, but after an arbitrator negated the result from the second match, Retherford had the 1-0 series lead coming into Monday’s match. Retherford only needed to win one match to punch his ticket, while Diakomihalis needed to win two straight matches.

In their Monday matchup, all the action came in the first period. Retherford trailed 1-0 after a failed challenge but capitalized on a counter-offensive crotch lift and took the 2-1 lead into the second period. 

A scoreless final three minutes gave Retherford the victory he needed to punch his ticket to the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

This'll be his second trip to the World Championships. He also represented the United States at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, where he finished in 11th place. 

USA’s Freestyle World Team: 
57kg - Daton FIX 
61kg - Tyler GRAFF
65kg - Zain RETHERFORD
70kg - James GREEN 
74kg - Jordan BURROUGHS 
79kg - Kyle DAKE 
86kg - Pat DOWNEY 
92kg - J'den COX 
97kg - Kyle SNYDER 
125kg - Nick GWIAZDOWSKI

Takuto OTOGURO (JPN) returns to the World Championships with hopes of defending his 65kg title from a year ago. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

3. The Most Wide-Open Weight: 65kg 
The most wide-open weight class for the World Championships is going to 65kg. There are three of the four returning world medalists who are currently entered, and an Olympic gold medalist and a three-time world champion.

The returning medalists, who finished with gold through bronze respectively, were Takuto OTOGURO (JPN), Bajrang PUNIA (IND), and Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB). 

Although they failed to medal at last year's World Championships, two other wrestlers who have a shot at winning the 65kg world title are Haji ALIYEV (AZE) and Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO). 

Aliyev comes into the Nur-Sultan looking for his fourth world title since 2014. This season, the Azeri is undefeated and has won the European Championships and European Games. 

Khinchegashvili, the Rio Olympic champion, is another serious threat to win the world title at 65kg. He's coming off a European Games runner-up-finish where he fell to Aliyev in the gold-medal bout. 

Myles AMINE (SMR), a European Games bronze medalist, will be the first freestyle wrestler from San Marino to compete at the World Championships. He's entered at 86kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

4. World Lineup to be Released This Week
The deadline for teams to make updates to their world team entries ends tomorrow, September 4. After the deadline has passed, United World Wrestling will be releasing the entries through the week. Currently, the entry list is just shy of 1000 wrestlers from 100 different nations.

5. World Championships Countdown: 11 Days
The wait is almost over. We’re into the month of September, which means its officially World Championships month. The 2019 World Championships kick off on September 14 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 

This year’s World Championships will hold immense weight because the top-six wrestlers in each weight category will qualify their nation's spot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

The schedule for this year’s Worlds is much different than that of the Budapest World Championships. Unlike last year, where Greco-Roman closed out the 2018 World Championships, Greco-Roman will instead kick things off this year -- beginning on September 14. Women’s wrestling will be sandwiched in between Greco-Roman and freestyle -- starting on September 17. Finally, freestyle will close out the World Championships, with the potential third match-up between the three-time world and Olympic champions Abdulrashid Sadualev and Kyle Snyder squaring off the 97kg gold medal. The pair have split the last two world titles at 97kg, with Snyder winning in Paris and Sadualev exacting revenge in Budapest by picking up the 70-second fall. 

Here is the World Championships SCHEDULE

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media
1. Big Move Monday -- Sadulaev A. (RUS) -- Senior Worlds 2015
2. #TBT Petriashvili Edges Akgul to Win First World Title
3. Follow The Beach Wrestling World Series Final This Week-end!!
4. Will @hasan_yazdani73 reclaim his crown? Let us know what you think!
5. Tickets for #WrestleNurSultan are On Sale!

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Big Move Monday -- Sadulaev A. (RUS) -- Senior Worlds 2015

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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! August 27, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Diakomihalis and Retherford's Wrestle-off next Monday and Khizriev missing the World Championships. Also looking at the top-four world championship seeds for freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling. 

1. Diakomihalis and Retherford to Wrestle-off Next Monday 
Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) and Zain RETHERFORD (USA) will wrestle-off next Monday (September 2) to determine the tenth and final spot on the United States’ freestyle world team. 

Retherford initially won the first three-match series, but Diakomihalis challenged the outcome of the Retherford's second victory. Diakomihalis and his coaching staff weren't happy with the timeliness of the challenge from Retherford’s corner which determined the match outcome.

Diakomihalis took his case to arbitration and ended up getting the second match nullified – meaning the pair will re-wrestle the second match, and possibly a third match if need be. 

Retherford heads into the September 6 matchup owning the one match advantage. He’d have to win one match to punch his second ticket to a world championship, while Diakomihalis would have to win two straight matches to cement his spot on his first senior-level world team. 

Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS)  will miss the World Championships due to an arm injury. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

2. Khizriev Out of World Championships
Russia’s starting heavyweight Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) suffered an arm injury during training and will no longer compete in Nur-Sultan at the World Championships. 

Khizriev, who is ranked fifth in the world at 125kg, has established himself as one of the best super heavyweights in the world over the past year. This season, Khizriev took out the two-time world and Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) to win the prestigious Ivan Yariguin title. He also won the European Games and placed third at the European Championships. His lone loss this season came to the aforementioned Akgul in the European semifinals. 

Khizriev’s replacement hasn’t been named, but there are two suitable candidates who Russia may throw into the World Championships. The first being Russian National champion Alan KHUGAEV (RUS) -- which is the likely decision they'll roll with if the second option isn’t available. Though unlikely, that second option is one of the most versatile big men the sport has ever seen, Bilyal MAKHOV (RUS). 

Makhov last competed at the World Championships in 2015, when he won a bronze medal in both freestyle and Greco-Roman -- bringing his overall world medal count to seven total world medals. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympic Games. 

Most recently, Makhov returned after a 21-month hiatus in preparation for a run to his third Olympic Games. In his August return, Makhov finished in second place at the Poland Open. 

Makhov’s Resume 
Olympic Games – Bronze (2012)
Freestyle World Championships– Gold (2007, ’09 and ‘10), Silver (2011) and Bronze (2015),
Greco-Roman World Championships – Bronze (2011 and ‘15) 

Bajrang PUNIA (IND) is one of six wrestlers who overthrew a reigning world champion for the top seed in Nur-Sultan. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

3. Freestyle Top-Four Seeds 
After a year of jockeying for position, the top-four freestyle seeds for the 2019 World Championships (September 14-22) are finally locked up. Six non-returning world champions overthrew a Budapest world gold medalist and head into Nur-Sultan garnering a top spot at their respective weight class. 

Of the ten 2018 world champions, Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUEZ (CUB), Kyle DAKE (USA), J'Den COX (USA) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) were the only wrestlers who held onto their top ranking. 

Click here to see a full breakdown of the top-four seeded wrestlers at each weight. 

Here Are the Freestyle No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight:
57kg - Suleyman ATLI (TUR)
61kg - Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUEZ (CUB)
65kg - Bajrang PUNIA (IND)
70kg - Adam BATIROV (BRN)
74kg - Frank CHAMIZO (ITA)
79kg - Kyle DAKE (USA)
86kg - Fatih ERDIN (TUR)
92kg - J'Den COX (USA)
97kg - Kyle SNYDER (USA)
125kg - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO)

Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) is one of five Russian wrestlers who are seeded first at the World Championships. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

4. Greco-Roman Top-Four Seeds
Nine European wrestlers and Asia's KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) own a Greco-Roman top seed heading into the World Championships. Of the nine European wrestlers who own a Greco-Roman top seed, five will be wearing a Russian singlet. Furthermore, each of the five top-seeded Russian wrestlers are looking to defend their world title from last year. 

Click here to see a full breakdown of the top-four seeded wrestlers at each weight. 

Here Are the Greco-Roman No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight:
55kg - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)
60kg - Sergey EMELIN (RUS)
63kg - Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) 
67kg - Artem SURKOV (RUS)
72kg - Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL)
77kg - Hyeonwoo KIM (KOR)
82kg - Emrah KUS (TUR)
87kg - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR)
97kg - Musa EVLOEV (RUS)
130kg - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS)

Oksana LIVACH (UKR) gained the No. 1 seed at 50kg after reigning two-time world champion Yui SUSAKI (JPN) lost her wrestle-off. (Max Rose-Fyne)

5. Women’s Wrestling Top-Four Seeds 
There is a trio of women's wrestling returning world champions who have cemented their spot as the No. 1 seed at the World Championships. The three top seed returning world champions looking to win back-to-back world titles are RONG Ningning (CHN), Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) and Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR).

Meanwhile, Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA), Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) and Yasemin ADAR (TUR) each fell in last year's world finals but clawed their way into a women's wrestling top seed. The three world silver medalists head into Kazakhstan with hopes of improving their second-place finish from 2018. 

Click here to see a full breakdown of the top-four seeded wrestlers at each weight. 

Here Are the Women's Wrestling No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight: 
50kg - Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
53kg - Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA)
55kg - Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) 
57kg - Ningning RONG (CHN)
59kg - Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN)
62kg - Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL)
65kg - Forrest Ann MOLINARI (USA)
68kg - Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR)
72kg - Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL)
76kg - Yasemin ADAR (TUR)

*These seeds are based off the current unofficial entries United World Wrestling has received as of August 21. These seeds are subject to change.

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 
1. Big Move Monday -- Gvarzatilov A. (AZE) -- Senior Worlds 2016
2. Are you coming to support your wrestlers in #WrestleNurSultan? Buy your tickets! Link in Bio.
3. @vlasovroma90@yui106301susaki@vladimerkhinchegashvili have both Junior and Senior World Champion titles. Who else? And who is next? Tag three other wrestlers who won or will win both Junior and Senior World Championships!
4. Today is 89th birthday of Iranian legend Pahlavan Gholamreza Takhti. Iranians have named the day as “National Day of Wrestling” in the official calendar of the country.
5. The top-four seeded wrestlers at 76kg combine to have SIX world and an Olympic gold. 
Expected 76kg Top-Four Seeds
1. @yasemin.adar (TUR)
2. @adelinegray (USA)
3. @aline.focken (GER)
4. @eweebz (CAN)