Yazdani Returns From Injury To Compete In Budapest Ranking Series

Yazdani Returns From Injury To Compete In Budapest Ranking Series

The toughest tournament before the Olympics will have a loaded men's freestyle 86kg bracket featuring the return of Iran's Hassan Yazdani.

Jun 5, 2024 by Andrew Spey

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Some people will tell you it's not worth staying up until the wee hours of the night to watch the second and final ranking series of the year, which will also be the toughest tournament between now and the Olympics. Those people are fools. Nincompoops even. 

They do not have your best interests at heart. We do. We know that you, the wise and learned wrestling fan, crave high-level competitions that are all too rare in this day and age. And we know that the 86kg bracket in Budapest will be awesome, and we have proof!

Hassan Yazdani returns to competition after eight months of being out of action with a shoulder injury. He'll be in a loaded bracket with multiple Olympians, world medalists, and NCAA finalists.

I'm Sold. How Do You Watch?

It's live on FloWrestling! How convenient! Click here to watch!

When Is It On?

The full schedule is here!

86kg will be contested on Friday, June 7. Prelim rounds are scheduled to start at 4:30am eastern time. Medal matches are scheduled for 11:00am eastern, still on June 7.

Nice. Now Let's See That 86kg Bracket.

Yes, let's.

You can also see the bracket and the rest of the men's freestyle draws here

What Can You Tell Me About These Guys And Their Draws?


Top Half Bracket Breakdown

Mezei has mostly competed in Greco and likely won't be a factor in this tournament. 

Benferdjallah will be at the Olympics and is a 2022 and 2023 African Champ but will have a tough bout on his hands with Shvelidze, a 2022 U23 bronze medalist from Georgia. Shvelidze should win that quarter of the bracket and advance to the semis. 

In the penultimate round, Shvelidze could see four-time NCAA All-American Trent Hidlay, who recently completed his career with the NC State Wolfpack as a two-time runner-up. Hidlay also has a U20 and U23 world medal from 2019 and 2022 respectively. 

Hidlay, a native of Mifflin County, PA, will have a tough first match in the quarterfinals against Bobur Islomov of Uzbekistan, a 2022 and 2023 bronze medalist, who should have no problem defeating Lawrence, an Australian who qualified for the Olympics but does not any significant international accolades. 

Islamov may also be wrestling for an opportunity to challenge Javrail Shapiev, a Chechen from Dagestan who wrestles for Uzbekistan and qualified the weight for Paris thanks to his fifth-place finish at the 2023 World Championships. 

While it is no sure thing he'll make the finals, Hidlay does have a recent win over world silver medalist Avtandil Kentchadze at the 2024 Bill Farrell, a tournament Hidlay won. 

Bottom Half Bracket Breakdown

The bottom half of this bracket is significantly stronger, as it features the only three senior level world medalists in Budapest in this weight class with Hassan Yazdani, Myles Amine, and Azamat Dauletbekov in the mix. It also features two other Paris Olympians in Ethan Ramos and Hayato Ishiguro. 

Yazdani is arguably the most credentialed wrestler in the tournament, having won an Olympic gold and silver medal plus seven world medals, three of which are gold. The last time Yazdani lost to someone not named David Taylor was before the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

Yazdani is coming off shoulder surgery, however, and there are concerns about whether he will be healed in time for Paris. After extensive training sessions, Yazdani's coaches and doctors are satisfied with his level of recovery, at least enough to compete in Hungary, where his performance will be further scrutinized as to his level of preparedness. 

Yazdani's first test will be with Olympian and New Jersey native Ethan Ramos, a four-time NCAA qualifier and one-time All-American (sixth in 2015) for North Carolina who is representing Puerto Rico. Yazdani will be the overwhelming favorite to win and advance to the quarterfinals and bout against Ishiguro of Japan. 

Just 22 years old, Ishiguro will be one of the youngest wrestlers competing in men's freestyle in Paris. Ishiguro is a 2023 Asian bronze medalist but will be a heavy underdog to Yazdani. 

On the bottom quarter of the bracket is a fire first-round matchup between Myles Amine, an Olympic and World bronze medalist for San Marino by way of Michigan, and Azamat Dauletbelov, a 2022 and 2023 world bronze medalist from Kazakhstan. 

These two last met at the 2022 World Championships, where Dauletbekov got the better of the five-time NCAA All-American to the tune of a 9-1 victory, but don't expect a cakewalk in the rematch, as Dauletbekov, though tough and highly credentialed, is far from invincible. 

Amine was the definition of clutch at this year's European Championships, which he won. Check out the end of finals bout in the tweet below. 

Whoever emerges from that battle will be a massive favorite over Puespoeki of Hungary, who will not be expected to do much at this tournament despite having home mat advantage.

That will set up either Aine or Dauletbekov for a bout with Yazdani, who is 2-0 vs Amine and 5-0 vs Dauletbekov. 


Sure, why not?

  • Gold: Yazdani
  • Silver: Hidlay
  • Bronze: Amine
  • Bronze: Shvelidze
  • Fifth: Islomov
  • Fifth: Ishiguro

Hidlay's bouts against Islomov and Shvelidze are no gimmies, and Amine' is probably a slight underdog against Dauletbekov, so call me an American homer for those picks if you must. Yazdani should win though, if he is anything close to 100%.

How Will This Tournament Affect The Olympic Bracket?

Of paramount concern to all Paris 86kg bracket watchers is how Yazdani looks in his first major competition after soldier surgery and an eight-month recovery period off the mat. Iran has Kamran Ghasempour -- 2021 and 2022 world gold medalist ay 92kg -- waiting in the wings if Yazdani is unable to perform at a high level or reinjuries himself. 

Additionally, it's possible (though not confirmed), that Islomov will have the opportunity to challenge Shapiev for the Uzbekistan Olympic spot if he does well enough at this tournament, which will obviously change the composition of the Olympic bracket if Isomov usurps the spot.

As far as seeds at the Olympics, little will change due to the results in Budapest. Dauletbekov has locked up the #1 seed. Amine will be the #2, and Yazdani the #3 no matter how they all finish in Hungary. 

Javrail Shapiev will have the #4 seed in the Olympics, assuming he's the rep for Uzbekistan and not Islomov, while Magomed Ramaznov of Bulgaria will have the #5 seed. 

They will seed the top 8 in Paris but it gets murkier the further down the rankings you go, or at least the calculations become more tedious anyway. I believe right now the 6, 7 & 8 seeds will be Kurugliev (GRE), Gamkrelidze (GEO) and Ishiguro (JPN) in that order, though Ishiguro can still pass them both depending on how he finishes. 

Any Other Reasons To Watch? 

Oh yeah, heaps of them. Check out the rest of our coverage here for more reasons and then make sure you ignore all your other responsibilities and destroy all healthy sleep habits by tuning in to watch live!