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The 125kg Matteo Pellicone bracket will be small but it has plenty of top talent. With three of the world's top 10 and a handful more high-level competitors, this bracket should be interesting.
January. 15-18 | 4:30 AM Eastern
Tony Nelson is the lone American in this weight class, but he's joined by another familiar face in current Ohio RTC member and former Oregon State All-American Amar Dhesi, who wrestles for Canada. Here is a list of all the registered wrestlers including their world ranking and select accomplishments:
#6 Amir ZARE, IRI (U23 World Gold 2019, Junior World Silver 2019, Cadet World Gold 2018)
#7 Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI, UKR (World Bronze 2019)
#9 Daniel LIGETI, HUN (European Silver 2008, 2012, European Bronze 2011, 2014)
Bilyal MAKHOV, RUS (World Bronze 2012, 2014, 2015, World Silver 2011, World Gold 2007, 2009, 2010)
Anthony NELSON, USA (World Cup Bronze 2019)
Amarveer DHESI, CAN (Junior World Gold 2014)
Er SONGBU, CHN (U23 World 12th Place 2019)
Nick MATUHIN, GER (Junior European Bronze 2009)
Charles MERRILL, PUR (Pan Am 5th 2018)
Luis VIVENES, VEN (Pan Am Bronze 2016, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2006, 2004, Pan Am Silver 2010, 2007)
Commentary: Tony Nelson will represent Team USA in Rome and he's certainly capable of winning this bracket. Nelson has titles at a couple of international tournaments including the 2017 International Ukrainian Tournament and the 2016 Bill Farrell. He has yet to make a World Team for the US but has been a staple at heavyweight for almost a decade.
The top-ranked wrestler at this weight is #6 Amir Zare of Iran. American wrestling fans will remember Zare as the guy who beat Greg Kerkvliet in the Cadet World finals in 2018 and who lost to Mason Parris in the 2019 Junior World finals. He also had a win over three-time world champion Geno Petriashvili this fall and may be the favorite to win this bracket.
One unranked contender at heavyweight is Bilyal Makhov of Russia. Makhov is a seven-time world medalist and a three-time world champ, but his most recent world medal came in 2015. Russia has had a medal drought since Makhov left the roster. If returns in top form, Makhov will present a serious challenge in Rome.
Ukraine's #7 Oleksandr Kotsianivski was a world bronze medalist in 2019, winning his first world medal since his senior-level career began back in 2011. His world bronze medal performance included wins over #12 Alan Khugaev of Russia and #10 Yadollah Mohebi of Iran.
Daniel Ligeti of Hungary is ranked ninth in the world and is coming off a win at the Dmitri Korkin Tournament in Yakutsk, Russia, where he topped a trio of tough Russian heavyweights in #11 Pavel Krivtsov, Baldan Tsysipov, and #14 Zelimkhan Khizriev.
Canadian Amar Dhesi has strong American ties as he was an All-American at Oregon State and currently trains at the Ohio Regional Training Center in Columbus. He won a Junior World title in 2014 and had a productive 2019 winning the Waclaw Zilkowski Memorial tournament in Poland where he had a forfeit win over Bilyal Makhov in the finals. Dhesi also brought home a bronze medal from the Bill Farrell. He's is the favorite to represent the Canadian Olympic Team but will need to qualify the weight for Tokyo first.