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

By Eric Olanowski

KRASNOYARSK, Russia (January 24) - The brackets for the second 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. Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS) vs. Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS)

This 65kg semifinals match is a long-shot and would require several pieces to fall perfectly into place, but if they do, the matchup between two-time world bronze medalist, Akhmed Chakaev and two-time world runner-up Gadzhimurad Rashidov will be a high-flying electric showdown. 

Here’s the scenario that would give wrestling fans this matchup: 

  1. Rashidov wins the special wrestle-in against Alan's champion Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS). 
  2. Rashidov beats the United States’ 2017 65kg world team representative Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the quarterfinals.
  3. Chakaev wins his quarterfinals matchup against Cristian SOLENZAL LOPEZ (CUB). 


This 68kg qualification match between four-time age-level world champion Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) and 2018 U23 world champion Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUES (CUB) is a quarterfinals rematch of the 2018 Bucharest U23 World Championships, where the Cuban wrestler topped the Russian, 5-0. 

Sanchez Rodrigues’ 5-0 quarterfinal win over Velieva, who was named United World Wrestling’s 2018 Female Junior Wrestler of the Year, helped catapult her to the top of the world podium and played a pivotal role in her becoming the first Cuban woman to win a world title in any age group.

Sumiya ERDENECHIMEG (MGL) will wrestle Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) in a battle of previous world finalists. (Photo: Sachiko HOTAKA) 


This 53kg qualification bout features the pair of previous world silver medalists, Sarah Hildebrandt and Ergenechimeg Sumiya. 

Sarah Hildebrandt is the reigning world runner-up at this 53kg, while Erdenechimeg, a four-time top-10 finisher at the world championships, is a 2013 world runner-up at 51kg. 

This is the first time these world finalists have met in their storied careers. 


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.