World and Olympic champion Zavur Uguev (photos courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Following up on the incredible action from day one of Russian Nationals, day two of Russian Nationals will see athletes in the 57, 65, 74, 86, 97, and 125 KG weight classes toe the line for a chance to win gold. Headlined by Russia's marquee weights of 57, 65, and 74 KG, day two will see some serious Senior level hardware on display as the following athletes will compete for national titles: Three-time World/Olympic champion #1 Zavur Uguev (RUS) at 57 KG, 2019 world champion #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov and 2021 world champion #6 Zagir Shakhiev at 65 KG, 2019 70 KG world champion #5 David Baev, two time 70 KG world champion ('15,'18) #10 Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov and U-23 world champions #6 Razambek Zhamalov and #7 Cherman Valiev competing at 74 KG, and 2021 World and Olympic bronze medalist #3 Artur Naifonov at 86 KG. These domestic standouts and more will be covered for this preview of day two of Russian Nationals.
Who to Watch Out For
#1 Zavur Uguev- 3x World/Olympic champion ('18,'19,'21), 4x Russian Nationals champion ('17,'18,'20,'21), 2020 Individual World Cup champion
4 Azamat Tuskaev- 2020 Yarygin champion, 2020 European champion, 2020 Russian Nationals runner-up, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion
#5 Nachyn Mongush- 2021 Russian Nationals runner-up, 2021 European runner-up, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament runner-up
#6 Ramiz Gamzatov- 2019 Russian Nationals champion, 2021 Ali Aliyev champion, 2021 61 KG Umakhanov tournament runner-up, 2022 Yarygin champion, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament bronze medalist.
On the top half of the bracket, expect to see reigning national champion #1 Zavur Uguev have a comfortable path through to the semifinals, with his best match beforehand coming against 2021 Yarygin runner-up Musa Mekhtikhanov. In the semifinals, Uguev will face a major test in the form of #4 Azamat Tuskaev in a rematch of the 2020 national finals narrowly won by the Tokyo Olympic champion. By the absolute thinnest of margins, I expect to see Uguev come out on top of Tuskaev and make his fifth Russian Nationals finals. For reference of how highly you should regard the skill of Tuskaev, he is the only man to beat Uguev domestically in the past five years and that was a lopsided drubbing in the 2017 Alans finals. Add in Tuskaev's excellent 2020 that saw him win the Yarygin and European championships and beat out the likes of 61 KG Russian Nationals finalist #7 Akhmed Idrisov, #6 Ramiz Gamzatov and 2019 world runner-up Suleyman Atli (TUR) and the North Ossetian is a very, very serious threat for gold.
On the bottom half of the bracket, expect to see returning national runner-up #6 Nachyn Mongush have a close match in the round of 16 against 2019 national runner-up Muslim Sadulaev followed up with a tough match against 2018 national runner-up Donduk-Ool Khuresh-Ool in the quarters. While this is a winnable bottom half bracket for Mongush, his reliance on his length and upper body finesse can come back to hurt him against people who deny him his ties and can keep him busy with handfighting and finish clean on him. The other half of the bottom bracket should be highlighted by a marquee quarterfinal match between 2019 national champion #6 Ramiz Gamzatov and 2021 world team member Abubakar Mutaliev.
Mutaliev had an excellent 2021 with a bronze medal finish at the national tournament and made the world team last year by Tuskaev and Gamzatov in last year's wrestle-offs before taking fifth at the world championships. I feel that even with as dangerous as Mutaliev can be and the domestic wins he's had plus his two victories form 2019 over #2 Thomas Gilman (USA), his current trend points towards a sustained inconsistency that means he will fall to a surging Gamzatov who's coming off a Yarygin title over 61 KG national finalist #7 Akhmed Idrisov. In the semis, I expect to see Gamzatov continue his hot streak and beat Mongush to make his second national finals. An important point of interest here will be that Gamzatov is a primary training partner of Uguev and will that familiarity be enough to potentially give him an edge over the pound for pound standout?
For the finals, I see it Uguev vs. Gamzatov and for bronze I take #4 Azamat Tuskaev and #5 Nachyn Mongush.
Who to Watch Out For
#2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov- 2x 61 KG World runner-up ('17, '18), 2019 65 KG world champion, 2021 Olympic bronze medalist, 4x Russian nationals champion ('17,'19, '20, '21).
5 Shamil Mamedov- 2021 Junior World champion, 2021 Umakhanov Tournament champion, 2022 Yarygin champion, 2022 Yasar Dogu champion.
#6 Zagir Shakhiev- 2020 Russian Nationals bronze medalist, 2021 Russian Nationals runner-up, 2021 world champion
#10 Alik Khadartsev- 2019 60 KG Junior world bronze medalist, 2021 Yarygin champion, 2022 Poddubny Tournament champion
#11 Ramazan Ferzaliev- 2x Russian Nationals runner-up ('19,'20), 2018 Alans champion, 2022 Yarygin runner-up.
#13 Ibragim Abdurakhmanov- 2019 61 KG Intercontinental Cup champion, 2021 U23 world runner-up, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament bronze medalist.
#14 Ibragim Ibragimov- 2022 Yarygin bronze medalist.
#19 Murshid Mutalimov- 2017 Russian Nationals runner-up, 2017 Alans runner-up, 2019 Russian Nationals bronze medalist.
Muslim Saidulaev- 2018 Alans champion, 2019 Junior European runner-up, 2020 Russian Nationals 5th.
Dasha Sharastepanov- 2018 Russian Nationals bronze medalist, 2020 Yarygin bronze medalist, 2021 Yarygin runner-up.
Chaiaan Mongush- 2020 Russian Junior National champ, 2021 Yarygin bronze medalist.
The top half of the bracket sees reigning national champion and Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov face Yarygin runner-up #11 Ramazan Ferzaliev in the round of 16 and 2021 U23 world runner-up #13 Ibragim Abdurakhmanov in the quarterfinals. Rashidov is so positionally solid and such a strong finisher, I don't see him having a real issue here save for a closeish match against Ferzaliev in the round of 16 and he should take out returning 5th place finisher Gadzhimurad Omarov in the semis to lock up his fifth national finals appearance. Keep an eye out for that round of 16 match between 2017 national runner-up #19 Murshid Mutalimov and 2020 61 KG Russian Nationals bronze medalist #13 Ibragim Abdurakhmanov as I would say confidently it is the best match of the top half.
While the top half of the bracket is relatively clear cut, the bottom half is a posterchild for the depth that Russia fields in its lighter weight classes. On the top side of the bracket, expect to see the surging #5 Shamil Mamedov continue to tear through the weight on his way to the semis. Keep an eye on Mamedov's round of 16 match against 2020 Russian Junior national champion Chaiaan Mongush, as Mongush has a past win over Mamedov from the 2020 Junior national tournament.
The bottom half of the bracket will be fireworks, starting off with 2018 Russian Nationals bronze medalist Dasha Sharastepanov taking on Yarygin bronze medalist #14 Ibragim Ibragimov in the round of 32. While Ibragimov is the one with the higher ranking and better current wins, I expect to see the savvy veteran Sharastepanov take the win and make his way through to the quarterfinals. Reigning world champion #6 Zagir Shakhiev has a brutal draw and while he's shown himself to be a beast when it comes time for national tournament, he will have his hands full starting off with 2018 Alans champion Muslim Saidulaev in his first match and taking on Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion #10 Alik Khadartsev in the round of 16. That Khadartsev match is a big highlight to me as if there's anyone with huge upset potential in this bracket, it's Khadartsev. Given that Zagir can fight his way through to the quarters, I see him matching up favorably against Sharastepanov and then taking on Mamedov in the semis. While Mamedov won their Yasar Dogu finals match in spectacular fashion with a counter throw into a spladle, I expect to see a more controlled match out of both men and see Mamedov come out on top with his excellent low level attacks and finishing prowess against the upper body finesse of Shakhiev. Shakhiev is an excellent scrambler and lethal with his transitional leg lace game but I just think Mamedov is too hot right now and I'm going to with a finals match between #1 Gadzhimurad Rashidov and #5 Shamil Mamedov. For bronze, I see #11 Ramazan Ferzaliev and #6 Zagir Shakhiev securing the hardware.
Who to Watch Out For
#5 David Baev- 2x Russian Nationals bronze medalist ('17,'18), 2019 70 KG world champion, 2020 70 KG Russian Nationals runner-up, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament runner-up.
#6 Razambek Zhamalov- 2x Russian Nationals runner-up ('19, '21), 2020 Russian Nationals champion, 2019 U23 world champion, 2020 Individual World Cup champion.
#7 Cherman Valiev- 2x 70 KG Russian Nationals bronze medalist ('19,'21), 2020 70 KG Russian Nationals champion, 2021 U23 world champion, 2022 Yarygin champion, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament runner-up.
#10 Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov- Two-time 70 KG world champion ('15, '18), 2020 European runner-up, 2x Yarygin champion ('19, '20)
This is a very top-heavy weight which makes the brackets relatively straightforward to follow. #6 Razambek Zhamalov is the man with the highest placing in the field, winning gold in 2020 but having just came back with injuries and coming off a 4-3 semifinal loss from the Poddubny tournament to #5 David Baev, I expect to see the same result repeat itself with Baev making his third national finals with a win over Zhamalov.
On the bottom side of the bracket, #7 Cherman Valiev should be expected to win a rematch of his Yarygin finals match against #10 Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov to set up his second national finals match against #5 David Baev. Baev and Valiev have an extensive rivalry, with Valiev dating back to the 2019 Ali Aliyev where he upset Baev and pushed his career record to 2-0 in the Russian National finals in 2020. Baev took his first victory over Valiev last year in the Russian National team wrestle-offs before losing to #3 Evgheni Zherbaev. Either Valiev can continue to build his lead or Baev can show he's jumped levels at 74 and take the series hold over Valiev. I trend towards Baev's improvements in this case but being that I historically am biased against Cherman Valiev on the grounds that he is one of the most offensively talented but persistent stallers in the sport, never count his high percentage style out. Still, I'll go with Baev. If Zhamalov upsets Baev in the semis, I take Zhamalov over Valiev in the finals. Straight line pick first time I say Baev over Valiev in the finals, Zhamalov and Gazimagomedov take bronze.
Who to Watch Out For
#3 Artur Naifonov- 3x European champion ('18,'20,'21), 2019 world bronze medalist, 2021 Olympic bronze medalist, 2021 world bronze medalist, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion.
#4 Dauren Kurugliev-2017 European champion, 2018 Russian Nationals champion, 2019 European Games champion, 2020 Russian nationals champion, 2021 Russian Nationals runner-up, 2020 Individual World Cup champion, 3x Yarygin champion ('17,'19,'22), 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament runner-up
#5 Magomed Ramazanov- 3x Russian Nationals bronze medalist ('19,'20,'21), 2020 79 KG Yarygin champion, 2020 79 KG European runner-up, 2021 Henri Deglane Grand Prix champ.
#6 Ada Bagomedov- 2021 Medved runner-up, 2022 Yarygin bronze medalist, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament bronze medalist.
#7 Amanulla Rasulov- 2021 U23 European champion, 2022 Yarygin runner-up, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament bronze medalist.
#10 Khabil Khashpakov- 2021 Umakhanov tournament champion, 2
#13 Arsenali Musalaliev- 2016 Junior world champion, 3x Russian Nationals bronze medalist ('17,'19,'20), 2x U23 European champion ('18, '19).
#15 Magomedsharif Biyakaev- 2021 Yarygin champion, 2020 Yarygin bronze medalist, 2020 Russian Nationals 5th place finisher, 2018 Alans runner-up, 2021 Ali Aliev runner-up, 2019 Alans bronze medalist.
Don't let the huge influx of ranked wrestlers here distract you from the fact that 86KG is essentially a two-man weight between #3 Artur Naifonov and #4 Dauren Kurugliev. The men have met a total of eight times with the most recent coming in the finals of the Ivan Poddubny tournament won by Naifonov. Overall, Naifonov leads the series 6-2 and I expect to see a continuation of that here. From the top half of the bracket, expect to see Naifonov breeze through to the semis where he'll take out three time Russian Nationals bronze medalist #13 Arsenali Musalaliev for bronze.
The bottom half of the bracket features three-time Russian Nationals bronze medalist #5 Magomed Ramazanov and #4 Dauren Kurugliev facing off in the first round. While Ramazanov has torn through the international scene and established himself as one of the premiere talents in the world, he has historically proven himself incapable of overcoming the duo of Naifonov and Kurugliev. While Ramazanov is slated to compete to transfer and compete for Romania, the fact that he holds legionnaires status means that he can still compete at the Russian National tournament. Even with this being said, expect to see him take a tough loss to Kurugliev in the round of 16 and bounce for back as Kurugliev makes the finals after a semifinals victory over #15 Magomedsharif Biyakaev.
In the finals I see #3 Artur Naifonov beating #4 Dauren Kurugliev for the seventh time for his third national title, and I see #5 Magomed Ramazanov and #13 Arsenali Musalaliev taking bronze.
Who to Watch Out For
#7 Akhmed Tazhudinov- 2022 Junior Russian Nationals runner-up, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion.
#10 Shamil Musaev- 2019 Yarygin champion, 2019 U23 world runner-up, 2022 Yarygin runner-up, 2019 Russian Nationals bronze medalist.
#15 Sergey Kozyrev- 2022 U23 Russian Nationals champion, 2021 125 KG Russian Nationals champion, 2021 125 KG European runner-up, 2021 125 KG European Olympic Qualifier runner-up.
#19 Abulla Kurbanov- 2022 Junior Russian Nationals champion, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament bronze medalist.
The top half of the bracket should be a clear showing for #7 Akhmed Tazhudinov who is coming off an excellent title run at the Ivan Poddubny tournament where he beat #15 Sergey Kozyrev, #19 Abdulla Kurbanov and #8 Alikhan Zhabrailov. His match with Kurbanov in the quarterfinals will be his toughest test and I'm excited to see how he outdoes 2020 national runner-up Aslanbek Sotiev in the semifinals. Tazhudinov is a young commodity and still not proven outside of his one excellent tournament with the Poddubny but I feel confident in his performance here.
On the bottom half of the bracket, expect to see 2021 125 KG national champion and Olympian #15 Sergey Kozyrev power and excellent outside step single series take him through to the finals after what I expect to be a heart pounding semifinal match against #10 Shamil Musaev.
In the finals I have #7 Akhmed Tazhudinov vs. #15 Sergey Kozyrev and for the bronze medalists I have #19 Abdulla Kurbanov and #10 Shamil Musaev.
Who to Watch Out For
#4 Zelimkhan Khizriev- 2021 Yarygin champion, 2021 world rep, 2021 Ali Aliyev champion, 2021 Russian World Team Trials wrestle-off winner, 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion, 2019 Russian Nationals bronze medalist.
#5 Anzor Khizriev-2022 Yarygin champ, 2x World 5th place finisher ('17, '18), 2019 European Games champion.
#7 Ostap Pasenok- 2021 Yarygin bronze, 2017 Korkin bronze, 2x Maccabi Games champ (''09, '13), 2009 MaccabI Games Greco champ.
#8 Baldan Tsyzhipov- 2020 European bronze medalist, 2020 Yarygin champ, 2019 Alans runner-up, 2016 Russian Nationals bronze medalist.
#11 Erik Dzhioev- 2020 97 KG Russian Nationals bronze medalist, 2018 97 KG Alans 5th place finisher, 2022 Ivan Poddubny bronze medalist.
#13 Vitali Goloev- 2019 U23 world runner-up, 2020 Russian Nationals bronze medalist, 2022 Yarygin runner-up, 2021 Yarygin bronze medalist
Alan Khugaev- 2014 European runner-up, 2014 Russian Nationals runner-up, 2019 Russian Nationals champion, 2020 Russian Nationals champion.
#19 Alen Khubulov- 2019 Junior world bronze medalist, 2022 Yarygin bronze medalist.
Soslan Khinchagov- 2018 Junior world champion, 2019 Medved champ.
Khamzat Khizriev- 2021 Yarygin runner-up
Pavel Krivtsov- 2020 Yarygin runner-up, 2019 Ali Aliyev runner-up, 2019 Russian Nationals bronze medalist
Saypudin Magomedov- 2021 Russian Nationals bronze medalist, 2021 U23 world bronze medalist, 2019 Junior European champion.
Heavyweight will be a story of the brother Khizriev, with reigning world team member #4 Zelimkhan Khizriev on the bottom half and older brother #5 Anzor Khizriev on the top half.
Anzor, a two time national champion with two world fifth place finishers to his name in 2017 and 2018 should have his best competition on his bracket come in the quarterfinals against #8 Baldan Tsyzhipov and in the semis against 2019 national champion Alan Khugaev. I expect to see the elder Khizriev come through to his third Russian Nationals finals match. On the top half, keep an eye out for the Khugaev/Pasenok qualification round match and Khugaev's quarterfinal against former Junior world champion Soslan Khinchagov.
The bottom half of the bracket should be won confidently by #4 Zelimkhan Khizriev. My top match to keep an eye on is quarterfinal between #11 Erik Dzhioev and #13 Vitali Goloev. As it stands now, I'm leaning towards Dzhioev to take the nod over Goloev and lose a tight one to Khizriev in the semifinals. Goloev's issues with his gas tank and in match decision making just seal the deal for me in favor of Dzhioev.
In the finals I see it #4 Zelimkhan Khizriev vs. #5 Anzor Khizriev but it's hard to say if they'll actually wrestle as historically, they forfeit to each other. For bronze, give me Alan Khugaev and #11 Erik Dzhioev.