2021 Senior World Championships

79kg Worlds Preview - Can Anyone Stop Burroughs From Making History?

79kg Worlds Preview - Can Anyone Stop Burroughs From Making History?

An in-depth preview of 79kg at the 2021 World Championships.

Sep 26, 2021 by Jon Kozak
79kg Worlds Preview - Can Anyone Stop Burroughs From Making History?

Jordan Burroughs will be Team USA's 79kg representative at the 2021 World Championships. This preview will provide a brief overview of Burroughs' career and give an in-depth breakdown of his potential competitors at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway.

A Fifth World Title In Reach For Jordan Burroughs

Jordan Burroughs is looking to win his fifth world title and ninth total world/Olympic medal in Oslo. On top of that, Burroughs is just 1 win away from his 200th on the senior level. Burroughs proved at the World Team Trials he is still one of the best wrestlers in the world and is the favorite to win gold in this bracket. However, because he has moved up in weight, Burroughs has not been tested against many of the competitors in this field. In fact, from the wrestlers who will be in Burroughs' bracket, he’s only wrestled Ali-Pasha Umarpashaev (BUL). At the world team trials, a group of competitors who have never wrestled Burroughs tried, and failed, to take out the legend. The competition may be greater at worlds, but like at the trials, Burroughs will be more than prepared to overcome any new challenger on his path to a world title.


Jordan Burroughs (USA)

  • 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 World Gold
  • 2012 Olympic Gold
  • 2014, 2018, and 2019 World Bronze

Burroughs' win over Ali-Pasha Umarpashaev at the 2019 Kolov:

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Biggest Threats To Burroughs At 79kg

Major questions on the health of Jordan Burroughs' leg circulated following the World Team Trials. In the final match against Alex Dieringer, Burroughs limped noticeably and discussed being in pain in his post-match interview. If Jordan Burroughs is 100% at worlds, he’s a heavy favorite, but if he’s still dealing with the leg injury, he’s vulnerable. There are at least 2 main contenders who are best suited for knocking off Burroughs in Norway - Radik Valiev and Nika Kentchadze.

Radik Valiev is Russia’s representative and wrestling in his first senior world championships. Valiev earned his spot by defeating 2021 Russian Nationals Champion Malik Shavaev and 2019 World Bronze medalist Gadzhi Nabiev. While Valiev’s primary success has come against domestic competition, Valiev isn’t completely inexperienced against international competition. Valiev won bronze at the 2019 U23 World Championships and silver all the way back at the 2014 Cadet World Championships. The other main contender, Nika Kentchadze won a U23 World Championship in 2018 where he defeated Gadzhi Nabiev in the finals. Kentchadze also placed bronze at the 2021 European Championships and most recently made the finals of the Alexander Medved tournament where he finished ahead of European Champion Akhsarbek Gulaev.


Radik Valiev (RUS)

  • 2019 U23 World Bronze
  • 2014 Cadet World Silver

Valiev’s win over Ramazan Sari (TUR) in the finals of the 2019 U23 European Championships:

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Nika Kentchadze (GEO)

  • 2018 U23 World Gold
  • 2019 and 2021 Euro Bronze

Kentchadze’s win over Gadzhi Nabiev in the U23 World Finals:

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The “Dark Horse” Group

Part of the reason why Jordan Burroughs is a big favorite to win world gold is 79kg is not as “deep” as other weights at the world championships. Burroughs is only past senior world medalists and many of the competitors ranked in the top 10 will be competing at worlds for the first time. On paper, none of these competitors should be able to challenge Burroughs for a world title.

With that being true, there are 3 competitors who have shown “flashes” of excellence and might be ready for a breakout performance at the world championships. Those wrestlers are Akhsarbek Gulaev (SVK), Mohamed Nokhodi (IRI), and Ali-Pasha Umarpashaev (BUL). Akhsarbek Gulaev had a breakthrough year in 2021 by winning his first two senior-level tournaments - the European Championships and the Poland Open. In Poland, Gulaev defeated former world medalist Rashid Kurbanov (UZB), and at the European Championships Gulaev knocked off Nika Kentchadze. The main reason Gulaev is not on the list of contenders is his inconsistency since Euros. At the beginning of September, Gulaev competed at the Medved tournament and lost first round to Russia’s #5 79kg wrestler - Magomed Magomaev.

Ali-Pasha Umarpashaev made huge waves at the European Olympic Qualifier when he defeated both Tajmuraz Salkazanov (SVK) and eventual Olympic silver medalist Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (BLR). Umarpashaev ultimately did not qualify for the Olympics but has "big move" potential - making him capable of ending any match in a matter of seconds. The final wrestler worth highlighting is the 2021 Junior World Champion Mohamed Nokhodi (IRI). Along with winning junior worlds in August, Nokhodi was a 2019 U23 World silver medalist and won the 2021 Yasar Dogu in June over a number of talented senior-level wrestlers. Take a look below at this group's accomplishments and video of some of their best wins. 


Akhsarbek Gulaev (SVK)

  • 2021 European Gold
  • 2017 U23 World Silver

Win over Kentchadze at 2021 Euros

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Ali-Pasha Umarpashaev’s win over Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov from the 2021 European Olympic Qualifer:

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Mohamed Nokhodi (IRI)

  • 2021 Junior World Gold
  • 2019 U23 World Silver

Nokhodi's win in the 2021 Junior World Finals:

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Prediction

Jordan Burroughs is the best wrestler in this bracket and I believe he’ll prove that in Norway. Beyond the accolades, at the world team trials Burroughs showed incredible match management, dynamic offense, and world-class defense at the world team trials. If Burroughs is anywhere close to 100%, expect him to bring home his 5th world title and 9th world/Olympic medal. 


Full Predictions:
Gold - Jordan Burroughs (USA)
Silver - Nika Kentchadze (GEO)
Bronze - Radik Valiev (RUS)
Bronze - Ali-Pasha Umarpashaev


Check out our World Championship Rankings at 79kg here to view the top 10 wrestlers who will be competing at worlds ranked according to recent results and head-to-head matches.