2021 Poland Open

Olympic Seeds Are Set - Brutal Draws Loom For Team USA

Olympic Seeds Are Set - Brutal Draws Loom For Team USA

The top 4 seeds for Men's Freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics have been established. See how Team USA will be impacted by the Olympic seeds.

Jun 10, 2021 by Jon Kozak
Olympic Seeds Are Set - Brutal Draws Loom For Team USA
With the conclusion of the Poland Open, seeds for this summer’s Olympic Games are final. Take a look below at the top 4 seeds at each weight and what this means for Team USA’s men’s freestyle team in Tokyo.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

With the conclusion of the Poland Open, seeds for this summer’s Olympic Games are final. Take a look below at the top 4 seeds at each weight and what this means for Team USA’s men’s freestyle team in Tokyo.

Seeding Process Explained

Unlike the American system of seeding tournaments based on head to head results, United World Wrestling has put in place events called the “Ranking Series”. Athletes who compete at these select events earn points toward a seed at the Olympics. Only the top 4 athletes per weight earn a seed, the remaining 12 Olympians are randomly drawn into the bracket. 

*Any athlete ranked in FloWrestling's International Rankings will have "#" next to his name.

57kg

Olympic Seeds:

  1. Stevan Micic (SRB)

  2. #1 Zaur Uguev (RUS)

  3. #2 Suleyman Atli (TUR)

  4. #5 Ravi Kumar (IND)

Thomas Gilman will not be seeded in Tokyo but will be randomly drawn into the 57kg bracket. A more favorable draw for Gilman would be on the top side of the bracket with Micic and Kumar. While Gilman hasn’t wrestled either Kumar or Micic, Zaur Uguev is clearly the favorite to win Olympic gold as the two-time defending world champion. Also, world silver medalist Suleyman Atli will be on the bottom side of the bracket with Uguev. Atli and Gilman have split in their last two meetings but Atli holds the more recent win - a 5-4 victory over Gilman in the bronze medal match at the 2018 World Championships.

Gilman vs Atli at the 2018 World Championships:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

65kg

Olympic Seeds:

  1. #1 Gadzhimurad Rashidov (RUS)

  2. #6 Bajrang Punia (IND)

  3. #12 Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ)

  4. #7 Ismail Musukaev (HUN)

All four medalists from the 2019 World Championships earned the top 4 seeds for the Olympics. Rashidov, the two-time defending world champion, is the top seed and could potentially meet Ismail Musukaev in the semi-finals. Those two met in the semis of 2019 Worlds and Rashidov came away with a 3-2 victory over Musukaev. They also faced off against each other in the gold medal match at the 2018 Yasar Dogu and Rashidov also won 3-2 there. 

Should they wrestle to their seed, Bajrang Punia and Daulet Niyazbekov would meet in the Olympic semi-finals. In the 2019 World semi-finals, Niyazbekov came out on top in a high-scoring 9-9 match. It will be a challenge for those two, and the others, to wrestle to their seeds with the quality competitors who will be randomly drawn into the 65kg bracket. 3 time world champion #9 Haji Aliyev is unseeded along with 2018 World Champ #2 Takuto Otoguro, #3 Vazgen Tevanyan (who just beat Aliyev and Musukaev) and #8 Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (a two-time world medalist). 

Rashidov vs Musukaev at the 2019 World Championships:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

74kg

Olympic Seeds:

  1. #3 Frank Chamizo (ITA)

  2. #14 Daniyar Kaisanov (KAZ)

  3. #1 Zaurbek Sidakov (RUS)

  4. #9 Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev

#2 Kyle Dake has not earned any seeding points due to the fact he was competing at 79kg exclusively prior to this year. This means Dake could draw any of the top 4 seeds in the very first round! While that might be unlikely, he will almost certainly have to wrestle two-time defending World Champion Zaurbek Sidakov to come away with Olympic Gold. After defeating Jordan Burroughs and Frank Chamizo in the last two world championships, Sidakov will be the biggest challenge to Dake in Tokyo. Dake will have a 50/50 chance of being drawn in on the same side of the bracket as the Russian.

86kg

Olympic Seeds:

  1. #2 Hassan Yazdani (IRI)

  2. Deepak Punia (IND)

  3. #11 Myles Amine (SMR)

  4. #3 Artur Naifonov (RUS)

#1 David Taylor could be looking at a repeat of his legendary run at the 2018 World Championships. For those who don’t remember, Taylor drew World and Olympic Champion, Hassan Yazdani in the first round at those World Championships. Then he had to get by Russia’s Dauren Kurugliev just to make the finals. Like those world championships, Yazdani and Russia’s representative, Artur Naifonov, are set to be on the same side of the 86kg Olympic bracket. While David Taylor has 2 wins over Yazdani and 1 over Naifonov, the bottom side of the bracket with Amine and Punia would be a more favorable draw. 

David Taylor vs Hassan Yazdani at 2018 Worlds:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

97kg

Olympic Seeds:

  1. #1 Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RUS)

  2. #2 Kyle Snyder (USA)

  3. Alisher Yergali (KAZ)

  4. Magomedgaji Nurov (MKD)

The good news is Kyle Snyder is guaranteed to be on the opposite side of the pound for pound best wrestler in the world, Abdulrashid Sadulaev. The bad news is that two men who have a win over Snyder will be randomly drawn into the 97kg bracket. Both #8 Sharif Sharifov (AZE) and #4 Mohammad Mohammadian (IRI) have not earned enough points to be seeded in the top 4. Sharifov kept Snyder from reaching his fifth straight world/Olympic final by defeating him 5-2 in the semi-finals at the 2019 World Championships. Mohammad Mohammadian announced himself as an Olympic threat after his pin over Snyder in January of 2020 at the Matteo Pellicone in Italy. While unlikely, Snyder might have to get through both Sharifov and Mohammadian just to make the Olympic semis.

Snyder vs Sharifov at the 2019 World Championships:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

125kg

Olympic Seeds:

  1. #2 Geno Petriashvili (GEO)

  2. #13 Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ)

  3. #1 Taha Akgul (TUR)

  4. Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi

#11 Gable Steveson will be randomly drawn into the 125kg Olympic bracket. This means he has a ⅙ chance of drawing either Geno Petriashvili (3-time defending world Champion) or Taha Akgul (2-time world champion and defending Olympic Champion) in the first round. While those aren’t great odds, because both Akgul and Petriashvili have established themselves as the class of the weight, Steveson will most likely have to defeat both of the heavyweight legends to win Olympic Gold. 


Click here to see United World Wrestlings official document for a full explanation and click here to see the list of “Rankings Series” tournaments.