Below is a preview and predictions for the nine men's freestyle matches.
57 kilos: Georgi Vangelov (Bulgaria) vs. Nahshon Garrett (USA)
The 20-year-old Vangelov has been successful at the junior level, earning a Junior World silver medal in 2011 and placing fifth at the Junior Worlds in 2013. At last year's Junior Worlds he edged Iowa wrestler Thomas Gilman, 4-3, in the quarterfinals at 55 kilos. Zach Sanders crushed Vangelov 9-0 at the Dave Schultz Memorial earlier this year. Garrett, a two-time All-American at Cornell, has been successful in national age group events in freestyle, placing at the Junior Nationals (Fargo) and FILA Junior Nationals. He is quick and explosive with his leg attacks, but lacks experience against international competition.
Bottom line: Vangelov has to be considered a slight favorite based on experience and international results. Both wrestlers are 20 years old.
Prediction: Vangelov dec. Garrett
61 kilos: Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia) vs. Jimmy Kennedy (USA)
Aleksandr Bogomoev (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)Bogomoev has been a top Russian wrestler for several years, winning 11 medals on the international circuit over the past three seasons, but has been unable to break through and make Russia's World team because of the depth in the weight class. He has battled the likes of the late Besik Kudukhov, a four-time World champion, and former world No. 1 Opan Sat for the spot. Bogomoev won both the New York AC International and Dave Schultz Memorial events in the U.S. this season, and notched wins over U.S. wrestlers Jimmy Kennedy, Nick Simmons, B.J. Futrell, and Matt McDonough. Bogomoev dominated World and Olympic medalist Vasyl Fedoryshyn of Ukraine at the World Cup in March. Kennedy, a U.S. Open champion, has continued to climb the freestyle ranks while training with the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club in Ann Arbor, Mich. He won a gold medal at the Yasar Dogu in February, and has placed in four international events this season. He is currently ranked 14th in the world at 61 kilos.
Bottom line: These two wrestlers are familiar with each other having wrestled multiple times since 2011. Bogomoev has won each meeting, with the most recent win coming by technical fall in a November dual meet held in Ithaca, N.Y.
Prediction: Bogomoev dec. Kennedy
65 kilos: Haislan Garcia (Canada) vs. Logan Stieber (USA)
Haislan Garcia (Photo/Larry Slater)The 31-year-old Cuban-born Garcia has been on the scene for several years, and represented Canada at the Olympic Games in both 2008 and 2012. He has not earned a World-level medal, but has been fifth and eighth at the Worlds, and seventh at the Olympics. He fell to U.S. wrestler Jordan Oliver at the United 4 Wrestling event in Los Angeles a year ago. Stieber, a three-time NCAA champion at Ohio State (with one season remaining), is coming off a third-place finish at the U.S. Open. He was a Junior World silver medalist in 2011 and has won multiple national age group events in freestyle. Stieber has been victorious in the last two Beat the Streets events in New York City. Last year he knocked off Russian wrestler Opan Sat, who was ranked No. 1 in the world at the time.
Bottom line: On paper this looks to be a very competitive match. Garcia is the more experienced wrestler. However, Stieber seems to shine in these events.
Prediction: Stieber dec. Garcia
65 kilos: Boris Novachkov (Bulgaria) vs. Jordan Oliver (USA)
Boris Novachkov (Photo/Anne Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)The Bulgarian Novachkov is well-known to U.S. wrestling fans having lived in the U.S. since he was young. He won two California state titles and earned All-American honors three times at Cal Poly. In February Novachkov made headlines by defeating 2012 Olympic champion Togrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan at the European Championships en route to earning a bronze medal. He won a silver medal at the Dan Kolov International. Novachkov has been training at the University of Illinois and is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. Oliver, a two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American at Oklahoma State, was third at the U.S. World Team Trials last year, with his lone loss coming to Brent Metcalf. Last month he reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open, where he lost to Kellen Russell, 4-2, before defaulting to sixth place. Oliver was a Junior World bronze medalist in 2009. A year ago Oliver went 2-0 at the United 4 Wrestling event, with wins over two wrestlers competing on Wednesday in the BTS event, Magomed Kurbanaliev of Russia and Haislan Garcia of Canada.
Bottom line: While Oliver was the more successful collegiate wrestler, Novachkov has the better freestyle resume on the senior level at this point. While their previous matches in folkstyle are nothing more than ancient history now, the two wrestlers did meet three times during the 2009-10 collegiate wrestling season, with Oliver winning two of those three meetings, including a 5-4 tiebreaker victory in the NCAA quarterfinals.
Prediction: Novachkov dec. Oliver
65 kilos: Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia) vs. Brent Metcalf (USA)
Russia's Magomed Kurbanaliev won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships, and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)Russia's Kurbanaliev is currently ranked No. 1 in the world at 65 kilos. He won gold medals at both the Ivan Yariguin and European Championships this year. Last year Kurbanaliev claimed a bronze medal at the World Championships, and also won a gold medal at the World University Games. He was a Junior World champion in 2012. Metcalf, known in the U.S. for his aggressive, attacking style, seems to be wrestling his best right now, and admitted so after winning his first U.S. Open title last month. Metcalf, a two-time U.S. World Team member, was impressive at this year's World Cup, where he went 5-0 with three technical falls.
Bottom line: Metcalf defeated Kurbanaliev in January of 2013 in the semifinals of the Ivan Yariguin. However, Kurbanaliev has fared much better in international wrestling events over the past year.
Prediction: Kurbanaliev dec. Metcalf
74 kilos: Yabrail Hasanov (Azerbaijan) vs. David Taylor (USA)
Hasanov, who is currently ranked eighth in the world at 74 kilos, has been both productive and consistent at world-level events over the past five years. He was a World bronze medalist in both 2010 and 2011, and a fifth-place finisher at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. All those results came at 66 kilos. Last year Hasanov moved up to 74 kilos and placed seventh at the World Championships. This season he has won medals at the Intercontintal Cup, Golden Grand Prix, Dan Kolov, and European Championships. Taylor, a two-time NCAA champion and four-time NCAA finalist at Penn State, opened a lot of eyes with his performance at this year's U.S. Open. The 23-year-old cruised to the finals, and was on the verge of beating world No. 1 Jordan Burroughs before surrendering his lead late in the match. Taylor was a World University Games bronze medalist last summer, and did notch a win over a much smaller Kurbanaliev at the Rumble on the Rails event last May.
Bottom line: Hasanov clearly has the better international wrestling resume. Taylor, though, has been focusing mostly on folkstyle wrestling for the past five years. His performance against Burroughs last month at the U.S. Open may be a sign that he's ready to compete with the world's best.
Prediction: Taylor dec. Hasanov
74 kilos: Atsamaz Sanakoev (Russia) vs. Jordan Burroughs (USA)
Sanakoev has performed well this season, earning a silver medal at the Stepan Sargsyan International and a bronze medal at the Ivan Yariguin. Last year he won the Dave Schultz Memorial, beating U.S. wrestler Colt Sponseller in the finals. Burroughs, an Olympic champion and two-time World champion, comes into the match with an international record of 81-1. His lone loss came to U.S. wrestler Nick Marable (now competing at 70 kilos) at the Yasar Dogu International in February. Since then Burroughs has reeled off 12 consecutive victories. He cruised to his third World Cup gold medal in March, and followed that up by winning his third U.S. Open title last month.
Bottom line: Burroughs is one of the world's best-for-pound freestyle wrestlers. Sanakoev is not currently ranked in the top 20 in the world. These two wrestlers met in the finals of the Stepan Sargsyan International in August, with Burroughs winning that match narrowly, 7-6.
Prediction: Burroughs dec. Sanakoev
86 kilos: Taymuraz Friev (Spain) vs. Ed Ruth (USA)
Taymuraz Friev placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)Friev reached the semifinals of the 2013 World Championships, where he fell to Reineris Salas Perez of Cuba, and then lost the bronze-medal match to Ehsan Lashgari of Iran. In February he won a gold medal at the Golden Grand Prix of Paris, where he defeated Keith Gavin of the U.S. in the finals, 5-3. Friev is currently ranked 18th in the world. Ruth, a three-time NCAA champion at Penn State, has just begun his transition from folkstyle wrestling to freestyle wrestling. He placed third at the U.S. Open, with his lone loss coming to Clayton Foster. Last summer Ruth competed at the World University Games, where he lost his first match to Iran's Mohammed Mohammadian by technical fall and was eliminated from the competition.
Bottom line: Friev is not an elite wrestler, evidenced by his No. 18 world ranking, but has shown he can be competitive with the world's best. Ruth is a tremendous athlete, but still very much a newcomer in international wrestling.
Prediction: Friev dec. Ruth
97 kilos: Khadzhimurat Gatsalov (Russia) vs. Kyle Snyder (USA)
Khadzhimurat Gatsalov won a World title in 2013 at 120 kilos (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)The Russian Gatsalov is truly a legend in freestyle wrestling. His wrestling resume speaks for itself. Gatsalov is a five-time World champion and Olympic champion. He did not medal in the 2011 Worlds and failed to make Russian's Olympic team in 2012, but came back strong in 2013 to win a World title at 120 kilos. His five previous World-level gold medals came at 96 kilos. Snyder, an 18-year-old who spent the past year training freestyle at the Olympic Training Center, captured a Junior World title last summer at 96 kilos. In November he earned a bronze medal at the Henri Deglane Challenge in Nice, France. Last month Snyder rolled through FILA Junior National competition in Las Vegas, winning each of his five matches by technical fall.
Bottom line: This looks like a mismatch on paper. All-time great versus high school senior. The 31-year-old Gatsalov comes into the match as a heavy favorite. Snyder is one of the world's best in his age group, but whether he can be competitive against one of the world's best on the senior level remains to be seen.
Prediction: Gatsalov tech. fall Snyder
Predicted Dual Meet Score: World All-Stars 6, Team USA 3