2021 Senior World Championships

97kg Worlds Preview-Snyder And Sadulaev Set For Another Showdown At Worlds

97kg Worlds Preview-Snyder And Sadulaev Set For Another Showdown At Worlds

An in-depth preview of 97kg at the 2021 World Championships.

Sep 27, 2021 by Jon Kozak
97kg Worlds Preview-Snyder And Sadulaev Set For Another Showdown At Worlds

Kyle Snyder is the 97kg representative for the United States at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway. This preview will give a brief overview of Kyle Snyder's international career and break down his potential competitors at the world championships.

Snyder Gets Another Shot At Sadulaev

Kyle Snyder will be the #2 seed at the world championships with Abdulrashid Sadulaev as the #1. The two could wrestle in the finals at the highest level for the fourth time in as many years. Snyder and Sadulaev’s three previous matches have all materialized in three very different ways. In the first match at the 2017 World Finals, Snyder was able to outlast Sadulaev and scored the winning takedown with just over 20 seconds in the match. In the 2018 World Finals, Sadulaev struck quick and pinned Snyder in just over a minute. Most recently in their Olympic Final, Sadulaev went ahead 6-0 before Snyder got a takedown with only 50 seconds left to make it 6-2. Snyder would only get another step-out and the match ended 6-3 in favor of Sadulaev.

By medaling at the last 6 worlds/Olympics, Kyle Snyder has established himself as one of the best wrestlers in the world regardless of what but is firmly behind Sadulaev as the #2 97kg wrestler in the world. In order to overcome Sadulaev, he’ll have to solve the puzzle of converting on scoring attacks. In their Olympic final, Sadulaev scored twice on a chest wrap when Snyder was in low on Sadulaev’s legs. It won’t be a miracle for Snyder to defeat Sadulaev, but Snyder is certainly an underdog to beat Sadulaev and walk away with a gold medal.


Kyle Snyder (USA)

  • 2020 Olympic Silver
  • 2016 Olympic Gold
  • 2015 and 2017 World Gold
  • 2018 World Silver
  • 2019 World Bronze

Snyder's win over Sadulaev in the finals of the 2017 World Championships:

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Abdulrashid Sadulaev Is The 97kg King

Abdulrashid Sadulaev is the undisputed pound-for-pound best wrestler in the world. He has won 4 world titles, a world silver, and 2 Olympic gold medals since he burst onto the scene in 2014. On top of his accolades, Sadulaev hasn’t lost a match since the 2017 world finals to Snyder - a 55 match win streak. He also has wins over 8 of the remaining 9 wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in our 97kg world rankings. Sadulaev is the complete wrestler - incredible defense from every position, one of the best gut wrenches, and dynamic offensive scoring abilities. Many believe his reason for entering the 2021 World Championships is to make history. He’s chasing the likes of Sergei Beloglazov (6 world gold/2 Olympic golds), Buvaisar Saitiaev (6 world golds/3 Olympic golds) and Alexander Medved (7 world gold/3 Olympic gold). Sadulaev will already go down as one of the best wrestlers of his generation but should he win in Oslo, he’ll be one step closer to becoming the best freestyle wrestler of all time.


Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RUS)

  • 2016 and 2020 Olympic Gold
  • 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019 World Gold
  • 2017 World Silver
  • 2020 World Cup Gold
  • 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Euro Gold

Sadulaev's win over Snyder in the finals of the 2018 World Championships:

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The Fight For Bronze

97kg is unique amongst the weights at this year’s worlds in that 9 of the 16 Tokyo Olympians will compete in Oslo - the most returning Olympians of any weight. Reineris Salas (CUB) is the only Olympic medalist who will not wrestle at the world championships. Because of the familiarity of the field, Snyder and Sadulaev are heavy favorites to meet in the finals. The battle for the remaining two medals should be fierce with at least 8 competitors capable of winning bronze. 

Whoever comes away with a medal in Oslo (after Sadulaev and Snyder) will depend on the draw of the bracket and whoever is wrestling their best. Mojtaba Goleij is a wrestler to watch as he is the only of the top 10 who did not wrestle at the Olympics. Goleij is replacing Mohammad Mohammadian (who defeated Kyle Snyder) and he is a 2017 U23 World Champion. It will also be interesting to see how Olympic bronze medalist, Abraham Conyedo performs at worlds. He was a bit of a dark horse going into the Games but defeated the likes of Albert Saritov and Suleyman Karadeniz in Tokyo to come away with a medal. Take a look below at the rest of the top 10’s accomplishments and videos of their notable victories.


Abraham Conyedo (ITA)

  • 2020 Olympic Bronze
  • 2018 World Bronze
  • 2020 Euro Bronze

Conyedo's win over Sharif Sharifov from 2021 Poland Open:

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Suleyman Karadeniz (TUR)

  • 2020 World Cup Bronze

  • 2020 Euro Gold

  • 2021 Euro Silver

Karadeniz's over Elizbar Odikadze from 2021 European Championships:

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Elizbar Odikadze (GEO)

  • 2018 World Bronze
  • 2015 Euro Silver
  • 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Euro Bronze
  • 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 World 5th
  • 2016 Olympic 5th

Odikadze's win over Abraham Conyedo from 2018 European Championships:

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Mojtaba Goleij (IRI)

  • 2017 U23 World Gold
  • 2020 Asian Gold

Win over Alisher Yergali from 2020 Asian Championships:

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Aleksandr Hushtyn (BLR)

  • 2017, 2018, 2019 Euro Silver

  • 2019 Euro Games Bronze

Win over Elizbar Odikadze from 2019 European Championships:

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Albert Saritov (ROU)

  • 2016 Olympic Bronze

  • 2011 World Bronze

  • 2020 Euro Silver

Win over Abraham Conyedo from the 2020 European Championships:

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Alisher Yergali (KAZ)

  • 2021 Asian Silver

  • 2020 Asian Bronze

  • 2019 World 5th

Win over Magomedgadji Nurov from 2021 Poland Open:

Magomedgadji Nurov vs Alisher Yergali

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Magomedgadji Nurov (MKD)

  • 2019 World Bronze

Win over Alisher Yergali from the 2019 World Championships:

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Prediction

Abdulrashid Sadulaev and Kyle Snyder have separated themselves as the clear best 97kg wrestlers in the world. They are likely to meet again in the world finals in Oslo and I expect a similar result to their Olympic final - Abdulrashid Sadulaev winning by 2-3 points. Sadulaev has shown to be one step ahead of Snyder in every position and I don’t believe 2 months is enough time for Snyder to make the necessary adjustments. After Sadulaev and Snyder, the bronze medalists could be any 2 of a variety of wrestlers but Suleyman Karadeniz and Mojtaba Goleij have shown the most upside of the field, so they are my choice for bronze. 


Full Prediction

Gold - Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RUS)
Silver - Kyle Snyder (USA)
Bronze - Mojtaba Goleij (IRI)
Bronze - Suleyman Karadeniz (TUR)