Ranking Series

Trio of Reigning World Champs Own Nur-Sultan Top Seed

By Eric Olanowski

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

VEVEY, Switzerland (August 23) --- There are a trio of women's wrestling returning world champions who have cemented their spot as the No. 1 seed at the World Championships (September 14-22). 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). 

Here Are the 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)

China's RONG Ningning remained the top-ranked wrestler in the world at 57kg all season long. She'll be seeded first at the World Championships. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Rong Remain No. 1 Seed at 57kg 

Expected 57kg Top-Four Seeds

1. Ningning RONG (CHN)
2. Grace Jacob BULLEN (NOR)
4. Emese BARKA (HUN)

Perhaps the deepest women's weight class at this year's World Championships will be 57kg. The weight is stuck in a head-to-head battle with 76kg for women's wrestling supremacy. With the Olympic Games under a year away, 57kg has seen wrestlers flock in from several different weight classes.
Top-seeded Rong Ningning ascended to the top of the 57kg podium at last year's World Championships, and outside of dropping the U23 world finals, she's maintained her grasp on the weight's No.1 ranking. This season, Rong is undefeated. She's claimed titles at the Asian Championships, Klippan Lady Open and the Dan Kolov. 
Grace BULLEN (NOR) finished in fifth place at last year's World Championships. The Norweigan comes into Nur-Sultan as the second seed. She's the only wrestler to defeat top-seeded Rong since the Chinese wrestler won her Budapest world title. Bullen, who lost to Rong in the Budapest world semifinals, 12-2, exacted her revenge on her Chinese rival in the U23 world finals. She scored a late four-point throw in the closing seconds of the finals and reached the top of the world podium for the first time in her career. 
Although reigning European champion Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) is ranked third in the world at 57kg, she's facing health issues and will miss the World Championships. 
The absence of Dudova moved Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) and Emese BARKA (HUN) into the third and fourth seeds, respectively. 
In 2017, Adekuoroye, also known as the "Dancing Queen," joined Marwa AMRI (TUN) as the first women from the continent of Africa to reach a gold-medal bout at the World Championships. She fell in the 2017 world finals and finished in ninth place at the 2018 World Championships. The Nigerian got back to her winning ways since that ninth-place finish last season. This year, Adekuoroye won her fifth African title and a gold medal at the Yasar Dogu. She also capped off the Dan Kolov with a bronze medal -- only dropping her semifinals match to Rong, 6-4.

Hungary's returning world bronze medalist Emese Barka is the fourth-seeded wrestler at 57kg.

Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL) will be looking to win her second consecutive world title. She's the No. 1 seeded wrestler at 62kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Yusein is Your Top Seed at 62kg

Expected 62kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL)
3. Yukako KAWAI (JPN)
4. Marianna SASTIN (HUN)

Returning world and European champion Taybe Yusein headlines the 62kg seeds. Over the past two seasons, she's been one of the most dominant women in the world. Outside of an uncharacteristic fifth-place finish at the European Games, Yusein was on a stretch where she won a world title, back-to-back European golds, a Yasar Dogu gold medal, and an Ion Corneanu & Ladislau Simon Memorial title.

Brazil’s Lais NUNES DE OLIVEIRA will be the second seed at 62kg. The Brazilian captured the Pan-American Championships gold medal with a 6-1 victory over last year’s world bronze medalist Mallory VELTE (USA).

The third-seeded wrestler at 62kg is Yukako KAWAI (JPN). Kawai was named United World Wrestling’s U23 women’s wrestler of the year after her runner-up performance at the senior level World Championships and a title-winning performance at the U23 World Championships.

Mallory Velte, last year’s world bronze medalist, fell in the United States’ wrestle-offs to Kayla MIRACLE (USA) and won’t compete in Nur-Sultan at the World Championships.

Marianna SASTIN (HUN), last year’s world fifth-place finisher, will take over the fourth seed. This season, Sastin started on a reasonably slow-note. She failed to medal at the Ivan Yariguin and Klippan Lady Open but rebounded to win a bronze medal at the European Championships and a silver medal at the Grand Prix of Spain.

Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) heads to Nur-Sultan searching for her third world medal. She holds the top seed at 68kg. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Cherkasova Claims First Seed at 68kg

Expected 68kg Top-Four Seeds
2. Tamyra MENSAH (USA)
3. Maryia MAMASHUK (BLR)
4. Battsetseg SORONZONBOLD (MGL)

Alla Cherkasova enters the World Championships as the top-seeded wrestler at 68kg. The reigning world and European champion has medaled in twelve consecutive tournaments dating back to 2016 and will be making her fifth appearance at the World Championships. She’ll be in search of a third world medal. In addition to her 2018 world gold, she also finished the 2010 World Championships with a bronze medal. 
The second-seeded wrestler at 68kg is Tamyra MENSAH (USA). Mensah, last year’s world bronze medalist, boasts an undefeated record this year and has won three Ranking Series titles and a continental gold medal. She sat out of the Yasar Dogu but claimed titles at the Ivan Yariguin, Dan Kolov and the City of Sassari Tournament. 
Maryia MAMASHUK (BLR), the Rio Olympic silver medalist, owns the third seed at 68kg. Although Mamashuk has an Olympic medal and five top-ten finishes at the World Championships, she’s yet to reach a world podium.
SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg (MGL) rounds out the top-four seeded wrestlers at 68kg. The Mongolian wrestler already has a pair of world titles to her name and will be looking to reach the top of the world stage for the first time since 2015. She won her first world title in 2010. This season, Soronzonbold competed in three tournaments. She won the Ivan Yariguin, placed fourth at the President Cup of Buryatia Republic and finished in fifth at the Asian Championships. 

Oksana LIVACH (UKR) grabbed the top seed after Yui SUSAKI (JPN) failed to make Japan's world team. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Meanwhile, the remaining seven weight classes had the top seed change hands from the start of the season to now.

Here are the other top-seeded wrestlers heading into the World Championships: 
50kg - Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
53kg - Sarah ann HILDEBRANDT (USA)
55kg - Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) 
59kg - Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN)
65kg - Forrest Ann MOLINARI (USA)
72kg - Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL)
76kg - Yasemin ADAR (TUR)

Livach Lifts Past 50kg Field for Top Seed

Expected 50kg Top-Four Seeds

1. Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
2. Seema SEEMA (IND)
3. Yanan SUN (CHN)

Arguably one of the most dominant women’s wrestlers in the world is top-ranked Yui SUSAKI (JPN). But, Susaki won't be at the World Championships. She was dealt a shocking loss when she was upset by Yuki IRIE (JPN) in a play-off for Japan’s 50kg world team spot. Now, the weight will be without it’s reigning two-time world champion.

After the forfeiture of the Japanese superstar’s top seed, Oksana LIVACH (UKR) will be the beneficiary of the No.1 seed in Nur-Sultan. The reigning European champion was last year’s world bronze medalist. 

India’s Seema SEEMA started her season up at 53kg but dropped down to 50kg and made quite the run in the latter part of the season to leap her way up into a top-four seed. The Indian wrestler used gold medal points from the City of Sassari Tournament and the Yasar Dogu to slide into the No. 2 spot. 

SUN Yanan (CHN) and Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) are the third and fourth-ranked wrestlers, respectively. 

Sun, the two-time world and Olympic medalist, will be looking to reach the top of the world podium for the second time in her career and for the first time since 2016. Since that world title, Sun has grabbed bronze medals at the Rio Olympic Games and last year’s World Championships in Budapest.

Fourth-seeded Demirhan doubled up on world medals in 2017 but dropped to a disappointing 21st-place last year in Budapest. In 2017, the Turkish wrestler won gold at the U23 World Championships after she closed out the senior-level World Championships in Paris with a bronze medal. 

Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) will be looking to improve on her runner-up finish from a year ago. She's the top seed at 53kg. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

Hildebrandt Headed into Nur-Sultan as Top Seed 

Expected 53kg Top-Four Seeds
2. Qianyu PANG (CHN) 

3. Diana Mary Helen WEICKER (CAN) 

The four returning world medalists at 53kg were expected to headline the weight, but returning world champion Haruna OKUNO (JPN) didn't make Japan's team. Okuno lost her starting spot to reigning 55kg world champion Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN), who dropped to the Olympic weight with hopes of making a run to an Olympic gold medal. 

Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA), last year’s world runner-up, owns the top-spot at 53kg. The American started the season as the second-ranked wrestler in the world but moved up one spot after gold medal finishes at the Ivan Yariguin and the Pan-American Championships. She also won a bronze medal at the Dan Kolov. 

Without Okuno, who would have been the second seed, PANG Qianyu (CHN) will now occupy the second seed. Pang fell to Okuno in the second round in Budapest but picked up back-to-back wins and captured the bronze medal with a 2-1 win over Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL). 

Diana WEICKER (CAN) will be the third seed at 53kg in Nur-Sultan. Weicker, who was making her second consecutive appearance at the World Championships a season ago, improved on her 12th-place finish from Paris with a bronze medal in Budapest. This season, the Canadian has competed in five tournaments -- reaching the podium in four of them. She won the Geman Grand Prix and closed out the Pan-American Championships, the City of Sassari Tournament and the Klippan Lady Open with bronze medals.

Ecuador’s Luisa VALVERDE MELENDRES rounds out the top-four seed at 53kg. After a seventh-place finish at last year’s World Championships, Valverde Melendres took second place at the Pan-American Championships and the City of Sassari Tournament. Her only loss at the Continental Championships came against top-ranked Hildebrandt, and her only loss in Sardinia was to Hyungjoo KIM (KOR). 

Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) will be the top-seeded wrestler at 55kg. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne) 

Sidakova Slides into First Seed at 55kg

Expected 55kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) 
2. Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ) 
3. Bediha GUN (TUR)
4. Jacarra Gwenisha WINCHESTER (USA)

Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) made a run to the world finals but fell short in the 55kg gold-medal bout against Mayu MUKAIDA (JPN), 12-2. This year, Sidakova comes into the World Championships as the top seed at 55kg and will be looking to improve on her silver medal finish from last year. 
Mukaida is ranked second, but she’s dropped to the Olympic weight of 53kg and will vacate her seed to Kazakhstan’s Marina SEDNEVA. Sedneva was this year’s Asian and Yasar Dogu bronze medalist. 
European bronze medalist Bediha GUN (TUR) will be the third-seeded wrestler at 55kg. 
From there, things get a little mixed up with so many top-ten wrestlers flocking to the Olympic weights. America's eleventh-ranked Jacarra WINCHESTER (USA) will be the fourth-seeded wrestler in Nur-Sultan. Winchester earning the fourth seed comes after the fifth through tenth-ranked wrestlers either failed to make their country's world team or moved to an Olympic weight class. 

Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN) comes into Nur-Sultan as the No. 1 seed at 59kg. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Inagaki Into Top-Spot at 59kg

Expected 59kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN)
2. Linda MORAIS (CAN)
3. Shoovdor BAATARJAV (MGL)
4. Xingru PEI (CHN)
Though she's ranked fifth in the world at 59kg, Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN) will be the first seed at 59kg at the World Championships. Inagaki moving up four spots comes after the top-four ranked wrestlers didn't make their world team or moved to an Olympic weight class. This year, Inagaki made her continental debut at the senior-level Asian Championships, where she seized the gold medal. She also won gold medals at the prestigious Ivan Yariguin, and most recently, at the Junior World Championships. 

Linda MORAIS (CAN), BAATARJAV Shoovdor (MGL) and PEI Xingru (CHN) round out the top-four, respectively. 

Forrest MOLINARI (USA) took over the top seed after returning world champion Petra OLLI (FIN) moved to the Olympic weight of 68kg. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Molinari Moves into First Seed at 65kg

Expected 65kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Forrest Ann MOLINARI (USA)
4. Bolortuya KHURELKHUU (MGL)

Another weight depleted due to many credentialed wrestlers making Olympic weight changes is 65kg. 

Finlands’ first-ever women’s wrestling world champion Petra OLLI (FIN) will move up to 68kg for the World Championships. Ollie's departure will move Forrest MOLINARI (USA) into the weight's top spot. Molinari, who fell in last year’s world bronze-medal bout, became the first seed at 65kg after winning the Yasar Dogu and finishing in third place at the Dan Kolov. She also collected points from a fifth-place finish at the Ivan Yariguin. 

The next two wrestlers in the rankings, Mariia KUZNETSOVA (RUS) and Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) will also compete outside of 65kg. 

Third-ranked Kuznetsova will wrestle at 62kg and Lappage will wrestle at 68kg. 

Aina TEMIRTASSOVA (KAZ) will now be the second-seeded wrestler at 65kg. The Kazakh wrestler has stepped on the mat on four occasions this year and finished on the podium in three of those events. Temirtassova fell in the finals of the City of Sassari Tournament but closed out the Asian Championships and Yasar Dogu with bronze medals. 

Elis MANOLOVA (AZE) and Bolortuya KHURELKHUU (MGL) will be seeded third and fourth, respectively, at 65kg. 

Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL) will be looking to improve on her second-place finish from last year. She's the top-seeded wrestler at 72kg. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

Ochirbat Onto Worlds as No. 1 Seed at 72kg

Expected 72kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL)
3. Juan WANG (CHN)

Instead of rolling with Buse TOSUN (TUR), the top-ranked wrestler in the world 72kg, Turkey has inserted Aysegul OZBEGE (TUR) into the World Championships.

Justina Renay DI STASIO (CAN) owns the second seed coming into the World Championships but jumped to the Olympic weight of 76kg with hopes of dethroning Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) in the process of making Canada’s 2020 Olympic squad. 
Without Tosun or Di Stasio, returning world silver medalist OCHIRBAT Nasanburmaa (MGL) will be the first-seeded wrestler at 72kg. 
Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ), Juan WANG (CHN) and Alina BEREZHNA STADNIK MAKHYNIA (UKR) are the remaining top-four seeded wrestlers, respectively at 72kg. 

Yasemin ADAR (TUR) gained the top seed at 76kg after a third-place finish at the Yasar Dogu (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Adar Ascends Past Gray for No. 1 Seed

Expected 76kg Top-Four Seeds
1. Yasemin ADAR (TUR)
2. Adeline Maria GRAY (USA)
4. Erica Elizabeth WIEBE (CAN) 

Last year, the premier weight of the Budapest World Championships was 76kg. That’s expected to be the case again this year. The top-four seeded wrestlers at 76kg combine for six world and Olympic gold medals. 
Returning world silver medalist Yasemin ADAR (TUR) became the top-ranked wrestler in the world at 76kg thanks to her title-winning efforts at the Dan Kolov and European Championships. The 2017 world champ also collected points from a third-place finish at the final Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu.
Though she’s the reigning world champion, Adeline GRAY (USA) finds herself as the second-seeded wrestler coming into Nur-Sultan. Gray, who sat out of the 2017 world championships, captured her fourth world title last year in Budapest and will be hunting for her fifth career world gold.  
Aline Focken (GER) is seeded third at the weight. The 2014 world champion will be searching for her fourth world medal, but first since 2017 when she finished in second place at the Paris World championships. She’ll also be looking to improve on her eighth-place finish from last year in Budapest. 
Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) rounds out the top-four at the most in-depth weight classes in the world. Wiebe, the 2018 world bronze medalist, is looking to ride a wave of success that’s seen her pick up wins over a world or Olympic champion in three straight tournaments. Her hot streak started in Sardinia at the City of Sassari Tournament when she stuck fellow Olympic champion Natalya VOROBIEVA (RUS). She then defeated reigning world champion Justina DI STASIO (CAN) in the Canada Cup finals. Her third consecutive tournament with a win over a world or Olympic champion came at the Yasar Dogu. Wiebe stopped 2017 world champion Yasemin Adar en route to her second straight Ranking Series gold medal. 

Ranking Series

Rome, Warsaw Tapped to Host 2020 Ranking Series Events

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY (October 10) – United World Wrestling has announced Rome and Warsaw as hosts of the 2020 Ranking Series. Both events will include all three wrestling styles: freestyle, women’s wrestling, and Greco-Roman and will influence seeding for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Rome will host its competition January 15-18, while Warsaw will welcome wrestlers June 4-7 – one month after the final Olympic qualification tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“We are pleased to announce our host cities for the 2020 Ranking Series,” said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic. “There was outstanding participation at the 2019 events, which helped create excitement around our wrestlers and the World Championships in Nur-Sultan. We thank the local organizing committees in Rome and Warsaw for hosting these events.”

The 2020 Ranking Series will influence the top four seeds at the Tokyo Olympic Games, which will mark the first-time wrestling has used the Ranking Series to seed at the Olympics. With weight classes limited to 16 entries per weight, 25-percent of each category will be seeded, ensuring fans will enjoy several premier matchups in the semifinals and finals.

Ranking Series points are collected from finishes from the World Championships, Continental Championships, and Ranking Series events. Current rankings are posted on the United World Wrestling homepage and are updated after each relevant tournament.

The remaining Olympic qualification tournaments will also utilize seeding for the top two positions, drawing from the 2019 World Championships, first Ranking Series event, and the Continental championships.

Currently all NOC’s who earned Olympic qualification at the 2019 World Championships have confirmed their nation’s participation at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Wrestling at Tokyo 2020 will run from August 2-8 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.