Ibrahim Moustafa Ranking Series day four finals set

By Vinay Siwach

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (February 26) -- The second Ranking Series of the year enters its final day. Eight freestyle weight classes will compete today with some of the biggest names in wrestling including Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ), Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB), Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) and Zahid VALENCIA (USA) among others. 


Here are the gold medal bouts for the evening session which will be delayed because of the insane amount of wrestling we had. No one is complaining

Suleyman ATLI (TUR) vs. Andrii YATSENKO (UKR)


Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) vs. Joseph MC KENNA (USA)



Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) vs. Amirhossein KAVOUSI (IRI)


Kollin MOORE (USA) vs. Nathan JACKSON (USA) 

16:50: Jo MCKENNA (USA) with back-to-back semifinals at Ranking Series events. He completes dominates the semifinals against Sebastian RIVERA (PUR). Mckenna wins 10-2. He will take on Vagzen TEVANYAN (ARM).

16:45: Nick SURIANO (USA) reached the semifinal but bumped into Suleyman ATLI (TUR) who got a takedown and then gut wrenched Suriano for an 8-0 lead. Suriano tried hard but goes down 9-3. Atli will face Andri YATSENKO (UKR) in the final. 

16:25: Iakub SHIKHDZHAMALOV (ROU) with a takedown with 12 seconds left to beat Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) 4-3 in the 74kg semifinal. Great comeback from Shikhdzhamalov after giving up three points in the first period.

16:05: Vagzen TEVANYAN (ARM) shuts down Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) in the 65kg semifinal. Two stepouts, a point for passivity and another for a lost challenge. That is enough for Tevanyan to win 4-0

15:30: Intense bout between Patricio LUGO (USA) and Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB).at 65kg which was dominated by Jalolov for the first four minutes. He took a 5-0 lead but was clearly struggling with conditioning. Lugo tried to utilize that but Jalalov had enough in the tank to win 5-2.

15:05: Sebastian RIVERA (PUR) has turned it around with stunning counterattacks late in the bout against SUJEET (IND). After a 7-2 and under a minute left, Sujeet should have had no business losing it. But Rivera scored a takedown and then two stepout to take the criteria lead before a desperate attempt from Sujeet ended in Rivera winning 9-7

14:45: Soner DEMITRAS (TUR) proved too much for the young Sagar JAGLAN (IND). Demitras with some top defense after leading 5-0 to let Jaglan take any space back in the bout. Jaglan did get on some positions but failed to finish even a single one of them.

14:30: Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ) pins Giorgi ELBAKIDZE (GEO) at 70kg! The Kyrgyz wrestler used an arm throw but also gave up a few takedowns. However, Elbakidze did not match the conditioning and Akmataliev won via fall in the second period.

14:15: In the rematch of the U23 world championships final, Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) was up against Taiyrbek ZHUMASHBEK UULU KGZ). Harutyunyan won the U23 world title but Zhumashbek Uulu was in no mood to give anything to Harutyunyan here. He gut wrenches his way to a 10-0 at 61kg.

13:55: Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), a hammer at 79kg, has moved up to 86kg. He puts on a show to come back and beat Boris MAKOEV (SVK) 7-5. 

13:25: Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) countered Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE) cradle with his own and got the four on a challenge while Kougioumtsidis got two. Kentchadze led 6-3. He kept the lead despite trading takedowns to win 9-6 at 79kg.

13:05: Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) got to passivity points against Anthony ASHNAULT (USA) and completely shut off in the second period to get a 2-0 win at 65kg.

12:55: SUJEET (IND) has managed to shut down Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB). Exceptional scrambling from the two but Sujeet wins 6-0

12:45: Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) looks solid today. He takes out Omar MOURAD (EGY) 11-0 with a strong show. He has a very strong gut wrench in the game.

12:30: The 2-1 scoreline does not do justice to that Nicholas SURIANO (USA) vs Minghu LIU (CHN) bout. Suriano wins 2-1 after a stepout which proved decisive.

12:00: Suleyman ATLI (TUR) rocks and rolls over Arslan RAKHIMOV (UZB) to continue his exciting run at 57kg. He moves into the quarterfinal with an 11-0 win.

11:40: Sagar JAGLAN (IND) and Joseph LAVALLEE (USA) are not giving up. Lavallee ran to a 14-8 lead but was not up to the conditioning of Jaglan. A takedown and lace for Jaglan as he wins 26-14.

11:25: Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ) comes back from 5-2 to beat Zafarbek OTAKHONOV (UZB) 6-5 in a thriller at 70kg. Otakhanov used a slick duck under to lead 5-2 but Akmataliev scored a takedown and then a stepout to make it 5-5 with 16 seconds left. Otakhnov failed to stop another stepout, he challenged and lost, which gave Akmataliev the win 7-5

10:55: Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) with a powerful throw for four. Great execution as he got behind and as Edemi BOLKVADZE (GEO) tried running to save himself, Tevanyan used that momentum to hit a big one. He wins his first bout at 65kg 9-0.

10:25: Suleyman ATLI (TUR) is back at 57kg as the Olympics approach. He opens his day against Roberti DINGASHVILI (GEO). He builds a 6-0 lead before moving into a massive suplex to win 10-0. You can watch it here.

10:00: Welcome to the final day of the Ibrahim Moustafa Ranking Series event. Eight freestyle weight classes will be on the mat. We have some advice -- don't miss any!


Shikhdzhamalov explains the mystery move in Alexandria

By Vinay Siwach

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (March 5) -- Iakub SHIKHDZHAMALOV (ROU) is looking for a name for his move that broke the internet.

At the Ibrahim Moustafa Ranking Series tournament in Alexandria, Egypt last week, Shikhdzhamalpv won his 74kg semifinal against Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) after trailing 3-0. Nothing was working for him until he hit a "scoop", an unofficial name for the same in the wrestling lingo.

However, Shikhdzhamalov says that he does not know what to call the move which has been shared and viewed by millions on social media.

"There is no name for this move," Shikhdzhamalov said. "I am now thinking of a name for this move. I guess it will be my personal move."

It is not the first time Shikhdzhamalov has performed the move, a mix of cut-back and outside trip. Over the years, he has used it in various competitions and even during training but Shikhdzhamalov says one cannot prepare to execute it.

"I’ve been using this move for quite a long time," he said. "Nobody showed it to me. I managed to do it once at the training around 7-8 years ago. My coach noticed that I was good at doing it, and we tried to practice it together, but it was not even possible to do it during the training bout. It only works during the real match when you are concentrated."

Shikhdzhamalov explained the setup and execution of the same. He stressed that a wrestler should perform it at a very high speed to catch his opponent by surprise.

"When the opponent is pushing you and putting his hand underhook, that’s the right moment to do it," he said. "It’s very difficult to explain the technical part of it and also difficult to show how to do it, but it really works well. The most important is the high speed while making the move." 

After the tournament, Shikhdzhamalov opened his social media and to his surprise, he received praise and feedback about the skill which he is proud of.

"Since I performed it at this tournament, there were so many comments and feedback about it," he said. It wasn’t just an occasional move. Yet, no one can do it. Even in my wrestling gym, the guys know that I can make this move, but no one can repeat it. If someone learns to do it, I would be really glad."

Training in Dagestan has helped Shikhdzhamalov improve his skills with the guidance of Gamid GAMIDOV and his personal coach Anvar MAGOMEDGADZHIEV.

After struggling at 79kg weight class last year where he failed to win a gold medal, Shikhdzhamalov has emerged as a contender for the gold at the European Championships.

"The 74kg weight class is preferable for my body," he said. "Last year I wrestled at 79kg because I had some health issues, I had to figure out what the problem was. The doctors advised me not to cut my weight at all. Last year my weight was about 77-78kg, although I wrestled at 79kg. This year I’ve solved all the problems and I went down to my weight class, since it’s more comfortable for me.

"I will wrestle for gold at the Europeans and the World Championships. I know most of the leaders in this weight class."

The European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia next month will be the first big test that Shikhdzhamalov will face before the World Championships. But after the gold medal in Alexandria, he hopes he can create more upsets in the weight class as the Olympics approach.

"Next tournament for me is the European championships," he said. "I don’t want to mention specific names that I would like to wrestle at 74kg, but for later tournaments, I am getting ready for the American, Iranian, Italian and all other leaders. I am getting ready to wrestle anybody and win. It's certainly interesting to wrestle against the top guys."