2022 Russian National finalist Artur Naifonov (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
#1 Zavur Uguev shines at 57 KG, Tuva Republic puts two in the semis in Kyzyl.
#1 Zavur Uguev over Amir Chamyzn 10-0
#5 Nachyn Mongush over #6 Ramiz Gamzatov 11-2
#1 Zavur Uguev was excellent on day two of Russian Nationals, making his fifth national finals after a 10-0 tech fall win over Tuvan standout Amir Chamzyn. Chamzyn was the talk of the tournament at 57 KG, as the relative unknown Tuvan put on a career-defining performance in the quarterfinals to upset 2020 national runner-up #4 Azamat Tuskaev 8-2. On the bottom half of the bracket, returning national runner-up #6 Nachyn Mongush was sublime in putting on an 11-2 semifinal clinic against Yarygin champion #6 Ramiz Gamzatov to make his second consecutive national finals match. Of note, returning 2021 world rep #18 Abubakar Mutaliev was eliminated from the competition in the round of 32 by 2018 national runner-up Donduk-Ool Khuresh-Ool, who was eliminated in the round of 16 by a 12-2 tech fall to Ramazan Abdurakhmanov. I am very interested to see how the resurgent Mongush looks as he pushed Uguev to the edge in last year's finals and if Uguev can continue to build upon his dominance from yesterday and earn his fifth national title in definitive fashion.
2021 world champion Abasgadzhi Magomedov wins third straight national title at 61 KG.
GOLD: #1 Abasgadzhi Magomedov over #7 (57) Akhmed Idrisov 4-2
BRONZE: Cherman Tavitov over Aldar Balzhinimaev 2-0
BRONZE: #5 Bashir Magomedov over Zhargal Damdinov by pin
#1 Abasgadzhi Magomedov was successful in earning his third straight national title and it is yet to be seen if he will be able to defend his 2021 world title this year due to the current sanctions on Russia. Even with that being the case, Magomedov was in top form throughout the competition and has risen to the top of the mountain once again. I was impressed to see #7 (57) Akhmed Idrisov make the full transition up to 61 KG and as he continues to fill out I can see him continue to improve upon what he showed here. Other points of interest are Cherman Tavitov winning his second straight bronze medal at nationals over returning bronze medalist Aldar Balzhinimaev and Junior national champion #5 Bashir Magomedov taking bronze by pin over 2020 bronze medalist Zhargal Damdinov.
In upset-filled 65 KG bracket, Gadzhimurad Omarov and #14 Ibragim Ibragimov breakthrough to make their first national finals.
Gadzhimurad Omarov over #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov 4-3
#14 Ibragim Ibragimov over Aripgadzhi Abdullaev 3-0
65 KG was a weight defined by huge upsets in every round so to understand how we got to the point where an Olympic bronze medalist and a world champion don't make the finals, we have to run it back from the start. The first major upset was 2022 Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion #10 Alik Khadartsev beating reigning world champion #6 Zagir Shakhiev 2-0 in the round of 16. Then the quarterfinal round is where the upsets started to really pile on, with Aripgadzhi Abdullaev upsetting Yarygin champion #5 Shamil Mamedov 4-4 on criteria and #14 Ibragim Ibragimov tech falling #10 Alik Khadartsev 12-0 and eliminating 2021 world champion #6 Zagir Shakhiev from competition.
Now we go into the final round of upsets with the biggest of the tournament coming from Gadzhimurad Omarov, who upended reigning national champion and Olympic bronze medalist #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov after overcoming a 3-0 deficit against the four-time national champion to win 4-3 and improve on his fifth-place finish from last year with a national finals appearance and the biggest win of his career.
And on the other end #14 Ibragim Ibragimov beats Aripgadzi Abdullaev 3-0 which eliminates #5 Shamil Mamedov from competition and secures Ibragimov's first Russian Nationals medal. To put into context how shocking Gadzhimurad Omarov's upset over #2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov is, Rashidov hadn't lost at the national tournament in seven years, with his last loss being at the 2015 61 KG national tournament to Alexander Bogomoev. The first year after a quad always brings in some crazy results, but there was no way of predicting how this bracket turned out. I am interested to see if Russia goes to any further steps for qualification if they are allowed to compete at a world-level event between the winner of the national tournament and Rashidov or will they honor the national champion with the top spot.
#7 Israil Kasumov wins second straight national title at 70 KG over breakthrough star #13 Anzor Zakuev.
GOLD: #7 Israil Kasumov over #13 Anzor Zakuev 6-3
BRONZE: #4 Viktor Rassadin over #5 Ruslan Zhendaev 7-2
BRONZE: #6 Kurban Shiraev over Kezhik Chimba 4-1
On his fifth finals appearance, #7 Israil Kasumov was successful in capturing his second-straight national title over #13 Anzor Zakuev. Concluding his tournament, #13 Anzor Zakuev really was the breakthrough star even after finishing runner-up to Kasumov. Taking fifth at the Poddubny after disappointing losses to #4 Viktor Rassadin and #12 Ruslan Bogatyrev, Zakuev completely turned that around and notched the best win of his career in the quarterfinals over #6 Kurban Shiraev and earned his first Russian Nationals medal after six trips going back to 2016 with a clutch 9-6 win over returning bronze medalist Abdulla Akhmedov, who teched Zakuev in last year's bronze medal match. Zakuev is top-flight talent and I'm excited to see what his next move is. A small note is even though Kasumov is coming off his second national title and fifth finals appearance, he has never made a world team and unless the sanctions are lifted it looks like that trend will continue.
#6 Razambek Zhamalov rebounds against #5 David Baev to make fourth straight Russian Nationals finals match at 74 KG.
#6 Razambek Zhamalov over #5 David Baev 9-3
#7 Cherman Valiev over Magomed Dibirgadzhiev 7-4
#6 Razambek Zhamalov made his fourth-straight Russian Nationals final and made his career series 2-3 against 2019 70 KG world champion #5 David Baev by way of a 9-3 semifinal win. Zhamalov will face off against Yarygin champion #7 Cherman Valiev, who made the finals with a 7-4 victory over 2017 70 KG national runner-up Magomed Dibirgadzhiev, who notched a big 4-4 upset over #10 Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov in the quarterfinals. Zhamalov is 4-0 in his career against Valiev with wins at the 2018 Junior Russian Nationals finals, 2019 Mindiashvili Grand Prix, 2019 Ali Aliyev, and the 2019 Russian Nationals tournament, so I would put my money on Zhamalov earning his second national title with a fifth victory over Valiev.
#4 Malik Shavaev earns second national title with close win over 2021 U23 world champion #13 Magomed Magomaev at 79 KG.
GOLD: #4 Malik Shavaev over #13 Magomed Magomaev 6-4
BRONZE: #3 Radik Valiev over Begkhan Misrikhanov 8-0
BRONZE: Nikita Suchkov over Gadzhimurad Alikhmaev 4-2
Capping off his second national title run, #4 Malik Shavaev followed up his two wins over 2021 world bronze medalist #3 Radik Valiev and 2020 national champion #12 Akhmed Usmanov with a victory over 2021 U23 world champion #13 Magomed Magomaev for gold. Shavaev's peaking for Russian Nationals was incredibly impressive and I cannot wait to see him again in action. 2021 U23 world champion #13 Magomed Magomaev had a great tournament and I see him having a breakthrough by the end of the quad by the least. Both #3 Radik Valiev and Nikita Suchkov secured their third Russian Nationals bronze medals, with Valiev finishing silver in 2016 at 70 and bronze in 2021, and Suchkov taking bronze at 74 KG in 2017 and 2018.
#7 Amanulla Rasulov upsets three-time Russian Nationals finalist #4 Dauren Kurugliev to make first national finals. #3 Artur Naifonov into fourth national final.
#3 Artur Naifonov over #13 Arsenali Musalaliev 6-0
#7 Amanulla Rasulov over #4 Dauren Kurugliev 3-2
The story of 86 KG was Yarygin runner-up #7 Amanulla Rasulov's incredible run to the finals. Rasulov handed returning national runner-up #4 Dauren Kurugliev his first loss to a Russian that wasn't 3x World/Olympic medalist #3 Artur Naifonov since his upset loss to #13 Arsenali Musalaliev at 2017 Russian Nationals. Rasulov's path to the finals also saw him notch two other ranked wins on his way to the finals, beating Yarygin bronze medalist #6 Ada Bagomedov and 2021 Umakhanov Tournament champion #10 Khabil Khashpakov. While Rasulov has wrestled an incredible tournament, it is yet to be seen if he can scale up his success against someone the likes of #3 Artur Naifonov who looks better than ever after a comfortable 6-0 win against #13 Arsenali Musalaliev to make his fifth-straight Russian Nationals finals appearance.
#2 Magomed Kurbanov wins second national title at 92 KG.
GOLD: #2 Magomed Kurbanov over #13 Azamat Zakuev 2-0
BRONZE: #5 Vladislav Valiev over #15 Guram Chertkoev 7-0
BRONZE: #14 Magomed Sharipov over #17 Tamerlan Tapsiev 7-0
#2 Magomed Kurbanov shut out #13 Azamat Zakuev 2-0 in a largely strategic match to win his second consecutive Russian Nationals title. Azamat Zakuev's improvements to peak for nationals were evident as he rebounded from a subpar Yarygin and Poddubny tournament to beat #5 Vladislav Valiev and #15 Guram Chertkoev and stake his claim as the second-best man in Russia. Kurbanov has this weight locked down for the foreseeable future this quad and I'd love to see him get another shot at world gold.
Aslanbek Sotiev and #10 Shamil Musaev rematch set for 97 KG national finals.
Aslanbek Sotiev over #7 Akhmed Tazhudinov 9-5
#10 Shamil Musaev over #15 Sergey Kozyrev 8-4
Past Russian Nationals medalists Aslanbek Sotiev and #10 Shamil Musaev both made the national finals with impressive victories. Sotiev over Ivan Poddubny Tournament champion #7 Akhmed Tazhudinov and Musaev over 2021 125 KG Olympian #15 Sergey Kozyrev. Their finals match will be a rematch of the 2020 Russian Nationals semifinals won by Sotiev in an absolute barnburner that saw Sotiev rally from an early deficit to break Musaev.
Tamerlan Rasuev and #19 Alen Khubulov make finals at 125 KG. National champions #4 Zelimkhan Khizriev and #5 Anzor Khizriev upset
#19 Alen Khubulov over #8 Baldan Tsyzhipov 3-0
Tamerlan Rasuev ovr #11 Erik Dzhioev 5-1
Heavyweight, like 65 KG, was a weight defined by upsets from top to bottom. The two premier upsets of the weight took place against the pair of #4 Zelimkhan and #5 Anzor Khizriev. #5 Anzor Khizriev was eliminated in the round of 16 by 2021 national bronze Saipudin Magomedov, who was eliminated in the quarterfinals by #8 Baldan Tsyzhipov. #4 Zelimkhan Khizriev took a 7-1 loss to eventual finalist Tamerlan Rasuev in the round of 16. Other important upsets were Nikita Khabarov upsetting 2020 Russian Nationals medalist #13 Vitali Goloev and Alan Khugaev upsetting #7 Ostap Pasenok 2-1 in the qualification round. Rasuev is a seasoned veteran at 97 and 125 KG and had a career-best finish of 7th at Russian Nationals in 2020 with a victory over 2019 Alans champion Batraz Gazzaev. Khubulov is a 2019 Junior world bronze medalist, who took bronze at the Yarygin this year and along with beating #8 Tsyzhipov in the semis has two wins over two-time national champion Alan Khugaev. I look forward to seeing how the youth and power of Khubulov vs. the experience and savvy of Rasuev will play out in the finals on the final days of Russian Nationals.