2021 World Champions Thomas Gilman (left) and Jordan Burroughs (Photo Courtesy of Tony Rotundo/UWW)
#3 Thomas Gilman (USA) wins gold at 57 KG, Horst Lehr (GER) wins Germany's first world medal since 1999.
#3 Thomas Gilman (USA) has been at another level this year, building off an impressive bronze medal showing at the Olympics with a world title in Oslo. In the finals, Gilman didn't miss a beat, peppering 2019 U-23 world bronze medalist Alireza Sarlak (IRI) with leg attacks and heavy handfighting for a 5-3 win. History was made for Germany when Horst Lehr (GER) beat #6 Abubakar Mutaliev (RWF) for bronze by 6-4 decision, getting Germany's first world medal since 1999 when Alexander Leipold finished silver at the 76KG weight class. #15 Aryan Tyutrin (BLR), a three-time Russian Nationals bronze medalist in 2014, 2016, and 2018, won a hard-fought 3-1 victory over 2019 world runner-up #8 Suleyman Atli (TUR) to bring home bronze.
Thomas Gilman's run to Olympic bronze and world gold shows first and foremost just how much dedication to the journey can take you. Gilman was never an NCAA champion, was a world silver medalist in 2017 and 5th in 2018 and didn't make the team in 2019. He was neck-and-neck with the reigning three-time World/Olympic champion #1 Zavur Uguev (RWF) in Tokyo and rebounded to win bronze. A lot of guys would be lucky to have that as their total career, but Gilman comes back not even two months later, looking even better than he did in Tokyo and caps off his quad with a dominant world title. I, for one, am looking forward to Gilman go to war with Uguev and #2 Ravi Kumar (IND) this quad and can't wait to see how it all pans out.
#3 Zagir Shakhiev (RWF) dominates for 65 KG world gold, Tulga Tumur Ochir (MGL) caps off upset run with world bronze.
#3 Zagir Shakhiev (RWF) looked every part of the highly touted prospect he was hailed to be in the world finals, disposing of Amirmohammad Yazdani Charati (IRI) by 14-4 tech in under a minute and a half. In hindsight, it's easy to say, but Shakhiev's path to world gold here was won before he even stepped foot in Oslo; just off the performances he's had to be Russia's number two behind Olympic bronze medalist #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov (RWF). Before even stepping foot at his first Senior world championships, Shakhiev has beaten Olympic champion Soslan Ramonov (RWF), two-time world bronze medalist #8 Akhmed Chakaev (RWF), 2020 European champion #3 (70) Kurban Shiraev (RWF) and U-23 European runner-up #10 Abdulmazhid Kudiev (RWF). The future for Shakhiev is bright, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to stay at 65 and battle it out with 2019 world champion #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov (RWF) or make a move up to 70 KG with #1 (70) Evgheni Zherbaev (RWF), #2 Israil Kasumov (RWF),#3 Kurban Shiraev (RWF) and #4 David Baev (RWF).
Tulga Tumur Ochir (MGL) made waves back in 2018 when he upset returning world runner-up #6 (70) Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (POL) in the round of 16 at the 65 KG world championships. A 5-3 loss to eventual runner-up #5 Bajrang Punia (IND) put Tumur Ochir into repechage where he fell 6-4 in the second round to Seung Chul Lee (CHN) and failed to place. 2019 worlds saw Tumur Ochir return where he'd fall 6-2 to runner-up #14 Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ) and fall in a razor-thin 8-7 match to #5 Bajrang Punia (IND).
In his third world championships appearance, Tumur Ochir was a completely different animal, upsetting #6 Vazgen Tevanyan (ARM) 2-1 and rebounded from a 4-4 criteria loss to world champion #3 Zagir Shakhiev (RWF) with a masterful 10-4 pin win over Rohit Rohit (IND). The future is bright for Tumur Ochir and I look forward to seeing if he can improve upon his finish in Oslo in the years to come.
Alibek Osmonov (KGZ) capped off a strong day 3 run for Kyrgyzstan by winning world bronze over European runner-up Krzysztof Bienkowski (POL) in a 4-1 match. Considering Osmonov was the number two guy for Kyrgyzstan at 65 KG behind 70 KG world finalist #7 Ernazar Akhmataliev (KGZ), his run in Oslo was very impressive.
#7 (65) Ernazar Akhmataliev (KGZ) upsets top-ranked Evgheni Zherbaev (RWF) to make 70 KG world finals. #6 Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (POL) fends off late charge from Turan Bayramov (AZE) for second career world finals appearance.
In what was one of the premier matches of the tournament, 65 KG Olympian #7 (65) Ernazar Akhmataliev (KGZ) used a big four-point headlock along with some incredible scrambling ability to upset top-ranked Evgheni Zherbaev (RWF) 9-5 in the semifinals. The clutchness of Akhmataliev went beyond his win over Zherbaev, as in the quarterfinal, a clutch chest wrap secured him an 8-7 win over Junior world champion #12 Erfan Elahi (IRI).
Turan Bayramov (AZE) was absolutely incredible through his semifinal run, as the Azeri talent beat a pair of world runner-ups in #8 James Green (USA) and Adam Batirov (BRN). After an inside trip late in his match against 2019 world bronze medalist, #6 Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (POL), looked to secure Bayramov a 3-2 win late in the match, but the ref blew the action dead and called a stepout. With Gadzhiev taking a point on a controversial call on passivity (after Bayramov was completing a takedown on Gadzhiev that was blown dead as a stepout), Bayramov protested the call and after a long challenge was with Gadzhiev winning 4-2.
Expect to see Turan Bayramov (AZE) and #1 Evgheni Zherbaev (RWF) rebound strongly to win bronze tomorrow and in the future, I see Bayramov as being the man to beat at this weight. He still is and would be a great lock to win gold tomorrow but had his opportunity to do so taken away from him by incompetent officiating.
#1 Jordan Burroughs (USA) makes history with a hardfought sixth World/Olympic title at 79 KG.
Taking on Junior world champion #20 Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (IRI), 33-year-old Jordan Burroughs (USA) was looking to enter the record books along with John Smith (USA) as six-time World/Olympic champion. In a highly physical bout with both men trading their best shots, it was the veteran Burroughs who would show he was not done yet, winning his sixth World/Olympic title with a resounding 5-1 victory over #20 Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (IRI). Time will only tell what is next for Burroughs, but as it stands, he lays claim to being one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and living legend status.
#20 Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (IRI) needs to be given proper respect as well, as just in August he was winning Junior world gold and to turn around and beat an established talent like #7 Nika Kentchadze (GEO) to make the finals speaks to his ability as a future champion at the weight.
Taking bronze at 79 KG was European bronze medalist #7 Nika Kentchadze (GEO) 10-0 over Arman Avagyan (ARM) and #3 Radik Valiev (RWF) over Ryuki Yoshida (JPN). Expect to see Kentchadze and Valiev continue to be staples of the top 10 at 79 KG for years to come as both men were neck and neck with Nokhodilarimi and Burroughs.
#2 Kamran Ghasempour (IRI) finishes as 92 KG world champion with clutch victory over #1 Magomed Kurbanov (RWF).
After a career-defining 3-3 criteria victory in the semifinals over two-time world champion #13 J'den Cox (USA), #2 Kamran Ghasempour (IRI) was a man on a mission in his finals match against top-ranked Magomed Kurbanov (RWF). Leading 6-2 late into the match, Ghasempour was stunned by a Kurbanov takedown and his chances for gold looked dashed as Kurbanov loaded him up for a gut wrench to take the 6-6 criteria lead with short time left. In what was another example of Ghasempour's calm under fire, the Iranian champion used a clutch reversal to expose Kurbanov and lock in the 8-6 win and world gold to become Iran's third world champion of the tournament along with Hassan Yazdani Charati and Amir Zare. Ghasempour looks to have the tools to begin for a long run at 92 KG, but the question of if he will cut down to 86 KG and challenge Yazdani again or fill Iran's much-needed spot for a 97 KG who can win world medals is yet to be seen.
Finishing with bronze at the 92 KG world championships was two-time world champion #13 J'den Cox (USA) by 11-0 tech over Andrii Vlasov (UKR) and #14 Osman Nurmagomedov (AZE) with a 2-0 victory over #11 Amarhadzhi Magomedov (BLR). The future for Cox is in question of if he stays at 92 KG and tries to regain the championship form he had from 2018-2019 or make the move to 97 KG to contend with Kyle Snyder. #14 Osman Nurmagomedov (AZE) capped off a great year with a world bronze medal and I'm really excited to see what the U-23 European runner-up can do now at full strength as he continues to grow throughout the new quad.
#1 Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RWF) looks to continue historic run with seventh World/Olympic title at 97, #2 Kyle Snyder (USA) mounts clutch comeback to beat #11 Mojitaba Goleij (IRI).
#1 Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RWF) was in complete control throughout his run to the finals at 97 KG, putting together victories over #17 Aleksandr Hushtyn (BLR), Mahammad Zakariiev (UKR) and Takashi Ishiguro (JPN). #2 Kyle Snyder (USA) took a harder path to the finals, relying on a takedown in the final five seconds to take out two-time U-23 world champion #11 Mojitaba Goleij (IRI) and make his sixth World/Olympic finals match in pursuit of title number four.
Notable upsets from the bracket were Mahamad Zakariiev (UKR) over #10 Suleyman Karadeniz (TUR) 6-3 in the quarterfinals, #11 Mojitaba Goleij (IRI) over #6 Elizbar Odikadze (GEO) in the qualification round. While Goleij is likely to end his world championships run with a medal, I'm not sold on Iran keeping him as the rep for 97 KG moving forward as they try and return #7 Mohammad Mohammadian (IRI) to form or look to newly minted 92 KG champion #2 Kamran Ghasempour (IRI) to right the ship.