Wednesday night's Matteo Pellicone finals set

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (June 21) --- We've finally reached the opening day of action at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event. Wednesday's action will feature Greco-Roman stars at 55kg, 60kg, 63kg, 67kg, 87kg, 97kg and 130kg. 

Stars in Action on Wednesday:
- Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) - '21 world bronze
- Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) - '18 world champ 
- Victor CIOBANU (MDA) - '21 world champ
- Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE)- '22 U23 and junior world champ
- Morten THORESEN (NOR) - '20 European champ
- Tamas LEVAI (HUN), Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) and Istvan TAKACS (HUN) - Potential Hungarian wrestle-off for the 87kg world team spot. 
- Alex BJURBERG KESSIDIS (SWE) - '19 world silver
- Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN) - '22 European silver, Olympic fifth place
- Felix BALDAUF (NOR) - '17 European champ
- Oskar MARVIK (NOR) -  '21 world bronze

Biggest Upset of the Day (thus far): At 97kg, Aleksandar Georgije STJEPANETIC (SWE) df. Felix BALDAUF (NOR), 5-2.

55kg: Nordic-style bracket
60kg: Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) vs. Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)
63kg: Victor CIOBANU (MDA) vs. Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) 
67kg:  Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) vs. Furkan YILDIZ (TUR) 
87kg:  Islam ABBASOV (AZE) vs. Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) 
97kg:  David LOSONCZI (HUN) vs.  Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) 
​​​​​​​130kg:  Sabah Saleh SHARIATI (AZE) vs. Riza KAYAALP (TUR) ​​​​​​ 

1:56: I'm not too sure what's going on over on Mat B, but Alex Gergo SZOKE (HUN) is complaining about Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) being slippery while in par terre. I think he's saying there's a foreign substance stopping him from gripping the Italian.

1:51: I won't lie, I was selfishly rooting for a 130kg rematch between Kayaalp and Beka KANDELAKI (AZE)Sabah Saleh SHARIATI (AZE) had different plans, as the Rio Olympic bronze medalist edged Kandelaki on criteria to punch his ticket to the gold-medal match.

1:40: Justas PETRAVICIUS (LTU) leads '21 world champ  Victor CIOBANU (MDA) by four points heading into the second period. That match is underway on Mat B.

1:12: In what is likely the determining competition in the fight for the Belgrade spot, Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) sends Tamas LEVAI (HUN) packing his bags after picking up the 2-1 win.

12:55: We have one or two matches left on each mat then will roll directly into the Day One semifinals.

12:51: Kayaalp, the four-time world champion from Turkey, is up now on Mat B. He trailed Knystautas 1-0 after the first but scored a gut wrench after picking up an inactivity point. It looks like he'll close out the match with a two point win and take on reigning world bronze medalist Oskar MARVIK (NOR).

12:43: How are they going to call this? Cohlton Michael SCHULTZ (USA) was down 7-0 against Sabah Saleh SHARIATI (AZE) when the Azeri gutted him for two more points. But things got interesting when the American put Shariati to his back. The refs stop the match and are now reviewing the call. This should be interesting.

12:32: The scoreboard reads 9-4 in favor of Islam ABBASOV (AZE) over Istvan TAKACS (HUN). After Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) and Tamas LEVAI (HUN) both reached the semifinals on the other side of the bracket, this likely ends Takacs' quest for a world team spot at 87kg for Hungary.

12:25: This Jafarov kid from Azerbaijan is going to be a star. The 2021 junior and U23 world champion has picked up back-to-back technical superiority victories and is awaiting the winner of Mohammad Javad Saadat REZAEI (IRI) and Morten THORESEN (NOR).

12:18:  In a clash of world medalist Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) scored a remarkable comeback against Hossein Ahmad NOURI (IRI). The Swedish wrestler trailed 7-2 but scored seven consecutive points and will take on the winner of Istvan TAKACS (HUN) vs. Islam ABBASOV (AZE).

12:01: Alex Gergo SZOKE (HUN) eeks past Artur OMAROV (CZE), 3-1, in what was a battle of Tokyo Olympians.

11:49: Mohammad Hajiali HOSSEINVAND PANAHISANI (IRI) just erased a 7-0 first-period deficit against Florin TITA (ROU) by scoring 11 unanswered points.

11:41: We still haven't seen Turkish legend Riza KAYAALP (TUR) take the mat yet. He's still a ways out, but will take on Knystautas in eight matches on Mat B (Bout 43).

11:31: Keep an eye out for world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) on Mat A. He's coming up in three matches and will wrestle Teodor HORATAU (ROU).

11:27: In a battle of Tokyo Olympians Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) picked up the 2-0 opening-round win over Alin ALEXUC CIURARIU (ROU).

11:07: Reigning world champ Victor CIOBANU (MDA) just made Taleh MAMMADOV'S (AZE) feet touch the ceiling at the Palla Pellicone with a back-arching throw!

10:59: This should be a great one over on Mat B. Youngster Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) is climbing the ranks at 67kg while Erik TORBA (HUN) is an established vet.

10:55: As the day progresses, we'll be paying close attention to Hungarian 87kg wrestlers Erik SZILVASSY (HUN)Istvan TAKACS (HUN) and Tamas LEVAI (HUN), who are all in contention to hold the world championship spot in Belgrade.

10:52: Norway's second European champ of the day Morten THORESEN (NOR) is now on the middle mat. He's wrestling Italy's Giovanni Paolo ALESSIO (ITA) on Mat B.

10:41: Mammadov looked really impressive in his first-round match, defeating Ozturk, 14-1. I'm not sure where the Turking wrestler goes for the World Championships, but I'm sure there's talk about him moving back down to 55kg. I think that's what give Turkey the best shot at a medal at 55kg and 60kg, with European champion Kerem KAMAL (TUR) taking over the 60kg position.

10:37: It's nice to see European champion Felix BALDAUF (NOR) wrestling over on Mat C. While at the European Championships in Budapest earlier this year, we were shooting out Question of the Day with fans, wrestlers and coaches when someone ran past and said, "Felix just broke his leg on the mat. He's done for a while." Luckily that turned out to be false and it was just a minor injury and he's back to looking like the early 2022 Baldauf.

10:30: We'll kick the day off with hammers Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) and Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) wrestling on Mat A. This is Ozturk's sixth Ranking Series event. He's reached the finals in all five of his previous Ranking Series outings. 


WATCH: Matteo Pellicone 10 Greco-Roman finals

By Vinay Siwach

ROME, Italy (June 28) -- The third Ranking Series of the year Matteo Pellicone finished with wrestling gaining the all-important ranking points. Azerbaijan brought a strong Greco-Roman team to Rome and clinched the team title with ease.

Here are the 10 Greco-Roman finals from Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series.

55kg: Round 1 - Mohammad HOSSEINVAND (IRI) vs. Florin TITA (ROU)


GOLD: 67kg - Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) vs. Furkan YILDIZ (TUR)


GOLD: 82kg - Rasoul GARMSIRI (IRI) vs. Mihail BRADU (MDA)


GOLD - 87kg: Islam ABBASOV (AZE) vs. Erik SZILVASSY (HUN)


GOLD: 130kg - Sabah SHARIATI (AZE) vs. Riza KAYAALP (TUR)