Yarygin Rewind: Bekbulatov Edged Chakaev, Won Fourth Yarygin Title

By Eric Olanowski

KRASNOYARSK, Russia (January 10) - The 30th Annual Ivan Yarygin, United World Wrestling’s first Ranking Series event of the year, which is often referred to as the “Toughest Tournament in the World,” returns to Siberia’s central city, Krasnoyarsk, on January 24. 

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be rewinding and taking a look back at some of the biggest storylines from the 29th Annual Ivan Yarygin. 

We kick things off by looking at one of the deepest weight classes of last year's tournament, 65kg. This weight featured an all-Russian gold-medal bout, where Ilias BEKBULATOV edged two-time world bronze medalist, Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS). 

In the finals, Bekbulatov, the 2017 European champion and 2018 European runner-up, commanded the 3-0 lead, scoring an inactivity point and a second-period takedown before giving up a step out and a pair of fleeing the hold points. Bekbulatov ultimately held on to win on criteria, 3-3 and reached the top of the podium at the Ivan Yarygin for the fourth time. 

A Bekbulatov and Chakaev rematch to determine Russia’s world team spot was expected to happen at the 2018 Poland Open, but Bekbulatov unexpectedly pulled out of the tournament, handing Russian National champion Chakaev a trip to Budapest. Chakaev went to Hungary and finished the 2018 World Championships with a bronze medal. 

Russia’s 2017 U23 world champion Nachyn KUULAR and Turkey’s 2018 European bronze medalist Selahattin KILICSALLAYAN finished in third place. 

Cuba’s 2018 world champion (at 61kg) Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUES (CUB), 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist Sirojiddin KHASANOV (UZB), and 2016 world champion Logan STIEBER (USA) were among the participants who failed to medal at this weight. 

The Ivan Yarygin registration closes on January 10 and early unofficial entries are expected to be released within the next week.


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.