2022 Final X NYC

Early Predictions For Team USA At 2022 Worlds

Early Predictions For Team USA At 2022 Worlds

Early predictions for Team USA's men's freestyle squad at the 2022 World Championships.

Jun 9, 2022 by Jon Kozak
Early Predictions For Team USA At 2022 Worlds

Team USA’s world team is set and expectations are high for the men’s freestyle team. With 3 months remaining, it's time for some “way too early predictions” and give a brief outlook on every weight at the 2022 world championships in men’s freestyle.

57kg - Thomas Gilman

World Championship Ranking - #1

Current Seed: #1

As the returning World Champion, Thomas Gilman will be the favorite to win the 57kg world title in 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia. While he has looked better than ever, there are still a few wrestlers in the field who Gilman hasn't wrestled or who Gilman has never defeated. The top of that list is Olympic silver medalist Ravi Kumar (IND). Kumar will be the #2 seed and is a favorite to meet Gilman in the finals. After Kumar, whoever Japan sends to the world championships will be a dangerous threat. Most notable from Japan is 2017 world champion Yuki Takahasi who has two past wins over Gilman.

Way Too Early Prediction: Gold

Gilman's win over Iran's Alireza Sarlak in the 2021 world finals:

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61kg - Seth Gross

World Championship Ranking - #6

Current Seed: None

As one of the more surprising world team members for Team USA, Gross took out returning world silver medalist Daton Fix in an excellent three-match series in Stillwater. The win over Fix shows Gross’ potential but it’s also worth noting Gross lost to Nico Megaludis less than 2 months ago at the US Open. On top of that, Gross does not have any results against the world championships field at 61kg. Gross is an unknown - he has the potential to defeat anyone in the bracket but could also go 0-1 with the wrong draw.

Way Too Early Prediction - Does not place


65kg - Yianni Diakomihalis

World Championship Ranking - #7

Current Seed: None

Yianni Diakomihalis is the first American to make consecutive world teams at 65kg since Brent Metcalf in 2014-15. Yianni has made notable improvements both on his leg attacks and parterre offense with his gut wrench. He has the potential to defeat anyone in this bracket but it won’t be easy. 65kg is one of the toughest weights in the world and Yianni’s bracket will include some hammers in Haji Alieyev (world champ), Ismail Musukaev (world medalist), Bajrang Punia (world and Olympic medalist), Tulga Tumur-Ochir (world medalist), Vazgen Tevanyan (defeated Yianni last year at worlds), and potentially Takuto Otoguro (world and Olympic champ). 

Way Too Early Prediction - Bronze


70kg - Zain Retherford

World Championship Ranking - #6

Current Seed: None

Zain Retherford made his third world team by taking out Jordan Oliver in a back-and-forth three-match series at Final X Stillwater. Retherford had a solid start to his year by winning the Dan Kolov tournament in Bulgaria where he defeated #7 Ramazan Ramazanov in the finals. Retherford will be a medal contender but won’t be seeded at the world championship meaning his outcome at worlds could depend on the draw he receives in the bracket. Look for his toughest competitors to come from Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (POL-2021 world champ), Ernazar Akmataliev (KGZ-2021 world silver), Taishi Narikuni (JPN-2021 Asian Champ), and Amir Yazdani (IRI-2021 world silver).

Way Too Early Prediction - Bronze


74kg - Kyle Dake

World Championship Ranking - #1

Current Seed: #1

Without Russia or Belarus in the field, Kyle Dake will be a big favorite to repeat as the world champion in Serbia. Last year, Dake defeated the current #2 seed Tajmuraz Salkazanov in the world finals and the current #3 seed Frank Chamizo in the Olympic bronze medal match. No other major contenders have emerged in the last year; therefore, we should expect Dake to cruise to the finals at the world championships where he will be a favorite to win his fourth world title.

Way Too Early Prediction - Gold

Kyle Dake's win over Tajmuraz Salkazanov in the 2021 world finals:

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79kg - Jordan Burroughs

World Championship Ranking - #1

Current Seed: #1

Jordan Burroughs is chasing American history and will look to become the first American to win 7 world/Olympic titles. While Burroughs should be the considerable favorite after his gold medal performance last year in Oslo, Iran will send a dangerous rep - either Mohammad Nokhodi or Ali Savadkoui. Nokhodi is the returning world silver medalist and lost to Burroughs in the finals, 5-1. Savadkoui will challenge Nokhodi for the world team spot and lost to Burroughs in a tight, 2-1 match in February at the Yasar Dogu tournament. 

Way Too Early Prediction - Gold

Burroughs' win over Ali Savadkoui from the 2021 Yasar Dogu:

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86kg - David Taylor

World Championship Ranking - #2

Current Seed - #2

For the past four years, David Taylor and Hassan Yazdani have dominated the 86kg field. David Taylor won worlds in 2018 and the Olympics in 2021 - Yazdani won worlds in 2017, 2019, and 2021. Nothing has changed and we should expect to see David Taylor and Hassan Yazdani battling for gold in Serbia. I’m predicting Taylor gets back on top this year, winning his second world championship and extending his series lead to 4-1 over Yazdani. 

Way Too Early Prediction - Gold


92kg - J’den Cox

World Championship Ranking - #2

Current Seed: #3

J’den Cox lost to Iran’s Kamran Ghasempour in the semi-finals last year on criteria - 3-3. Currently, Cox is the #3 seed while Ghasempour is the #1 seed and the two are the favorites to meet once again in the finals. Feyzullah Akturk is a dark horse in this bracket worth mentioning. He’s been on an amazing run over the last few months and most recently won the European Championships in March. Akturk is capable of spoiling the rematch between Cox and Ghasempour and should be considered a threat to win gold.

Way Too Early Prediction - Silver

Cox's loss to Ghasempour in the 2021 world semi-finals:

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97kg - Kyle Snyder

World Championship Ranking - #1

Current Seed: #1

Kyle Snyder is only 26 years old and has made 7 straight world/Olympic teams winning a medal every time - 3 golds, 3 silvers, and 1 bronze. With Russia banned from the Olympics this year, Snyder should be considered the favorite to win his fourth world title. Snyder’s biggest test will come from whoever Iran sends at 97kg - Mojtaba Goleij or Mohammad Mohammadian. Snyder beat Goleij in the semi-finals at last year’s world championships on a late takedown. Mohammadian and Snyder also have history - Mohammadian burst on the scene in January of 2020 when he teched Bo Nickal and pinned Snyder at the Matteo Pellicone. Because both haven’t been active on the senior level, neither has accumulated many seeding points meaning Snyder could draw them early at the world championships.

Way Too Early Prediction - Gold

Snyder's win over Goleij in the 2021 world semi-finals:

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125kg - Hayden Zillmer

World Championship Ranking - #8

Current Seed: None

Hayden Zillmer is one of the most unpredictable world team members for Team USA in recent memory. However, his impressive performance at Final X over Nick Gwiazdowski gives USA fans reason to be hopeful for Zillmer at the world championships. In order for Zillmer to replicate his Final X performance at worlds, he’ll likely need to be drawn in on the top side of the bracket. World champions Amir Zare and Geno Petriashvili are currently sitting at the #2 and #3 seeds respectively and will be big favorites over Zillmer. Because of the size Zillmer will be conceding and his dependence on the perfect draw, it’s unlikely we see Zillmer on the medal stand in Serbia. 

Way Too Early Prediction - DNP


USA vs Iran For The Team Title

With Russia out of the picture, there will be one team the United States will contend with for a team title - Iran. In our current World Team Rankings, it’s about as close to a “dead heat” as possible with Team USA holding a slight edge - 174-168. However, one weight class could provide a huge swing in the rankings. For instance, at 61kg Iran is currently earning zero points but Seth Gross is earning 10. If Gross goes 0-1, then Iran goes into the lead by 4. 

The above scenario can be played out for every weight but three weights look especially important to the team race - 61, 65, and 70. These are the three weights where Team USA has representatives that have never accomplished anything at the world championships. If USA wants to win a team title, they will likely need to bring home a medal in at least one of those weights. 

It will also be important for USA to win the toss-ups. From our world championship rankings, USA and Iran are predicted to win medals at 57, 79, 86, 92, and 97 with both countries holding the top 2 athletes at 79, 86, and 92. If USA wins the head-to-head matches, expect them to bring home the team title from Serbia.

Current Scoring Breakdown based on World Championship Rankings:

Country576165707479869297125Total
USA251081025252020256174
Iran15
152082025251525168