2022 Senior World Championships

2022 Worlds Bracket Breakdown - Men's Freestyle

2022 Worlds Bracket Breakdown - Men's Freestyle

A breakdown of the brackets for each Team USA men's freestyle wrestler at the 2022 World Championships.

Sep 14, 2022 by Jon Kozak

Men’s Freestyle at the World Championships will start Thursday morning in Belgrade, Serbia. Before the action kicks off, let’s take a look at each American’s path to the world finals!

57kg: Thomas Gilman - #1 Seed

57kg Seeds:

  1. Thomas Gilman, USA
  2. Ravi Kumar, IND
  3. Horst Lehr, GER
  4. Alireza Sarlak, IRI
  5. Vladimir Egorov, MKD
  6. Beka Bujiashvili, GEO
  7. Oscar Tigreros, COL
  8. Muhammet Karavus, TUR

Gilman’s Path

Gilman will have the winner of Okorkov (AUT) and Segura (GUA) in the opening round and then likely Turkey’s Muhammet Karavus in the quarters and returning world silver medalist Alireza Sarlak in the semis. Karavus is proving to be one of Turkey’s best young prospects after winning junior world silver last year. However, he failed to place at this year’s European Championships making Gilman a big favorite in that potential match. 

Gilman’s semi against Sarlak is the one to circle. The two have had incredibly close matches and the outcome of this match will be key to the team race. On top of Gilman’s 5-4 win over Sarlak in the 2021 World finals, Gilman more recently beat Sarlak in an 11-7 shootout in July. Gilman’s a slight favorite in this match but Sarlak is more than capable of coming out on top.

On the other side of the bracket, Ravi Kumar is the big favorite as the defending Olympic silver medalist. Kumar’s toughest test will be a potential semi-final bout against 2021 world bronze medalist - Germany’s Horst Lehr. Most recently, Lehr pinned Thomas Gilman at the Tunisian ranking tournament in July.

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 57kg:

  • Toshihiro Hasegawa, JPN
  • Gulomjon Abdullaev, UZB
  • Aliabas Rzazade, AZE
  • Rakhat Kalzhan, KAZ
  • Stevan Micic
  • Zelimkhan Abakarov, ALB

Of the above wrestlers - Hasegawa and Abdullaev are the one’s to watch. Hasegawa won world bronze last year at 61kg, however, because he’s dropped in weight he holds no seeding points and was randomly drawn into the bracket. Hasegawa is sitting on the bottom side of the bracket and will have to go through Horst Lehr to make the semis against Kumar. 

Abdullaev has past wins over Ravi Kumar and was moments away from defeating Zaur Uguev at the Olympics. With the random draw, Abdullaev was drawn into the same side of the bracket as Kumar and the two could likely meet in the round of 16.

Abakarov is a Russian transfer and won a bronze medal at this year’s Yarygin. Abakarov is on the bottom side of the bracket and drew #7 seed Tigreros first round. Abakarov should be considered a favorite in that match and will likely wrestle the winner of Kumar and Abdullaev in the quarters.

Check out the full 57kg Worlds Preview here.

61kg: Seth Gross - Unseeded

61kg Seeds:

  1. Arsen Harutyunyan, ARM
  2. Georgi Vangelov, BUL
  3. Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov, KGZ
  4. Suleyman Atli, TUR
  5. Eduard Grigorev, POL
  6. Teimuraz Vanishvili, GEO
  7. Islam Bazarganov, AZE
  8. Rei Higuchi, JPN

Gross’ Path

Seth Gross was unseeded and randomly drawn into the bracket. He drew Andrii Dzhelep in the first round - a 2021 Euro silver medalist and a junior world silver medalist in 2019. Should Gross win that match he'll have Eduard Grigorev - a Russian transfer and 2022 European Bronze medalist. After that, he'll likely have the #4 seed and 2 time world medalist Suleyman Atli, who Gross notably teched earlier this year. Then in the semis, Gross will likely have the winner of Rei Higuchi (2016 Olympic silver medalist) and Arsen Harutyunyan. Overall, Gross has about a tough of a draw as he could have asked for.

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 61kg:

  • Reza Atri, IRI
  • Andrii Dzhelep, UKR

The unseeded wrestlers in this weight are very talented with all being capable of winning a medal. Atri was Iran’s Olympic rep last year at 57kg and fell short in the bronze medal match against Thomas Gilman. We already mentioned Dzhelep, but was drawn on the bottom side and will have #7 Bazarganov in 

Check out the full 61kg Worlds Preview here.

65kg: Yianni Diakomihalis - Unseeded

65kg Seeds:

  1. Haji Aliyev, AZE
  2. Bajrang Punia, IND
  3. Sebastian Rivera, PUR
  4. Ismail Musukaev, HUN
  5. Alibek Osmonov, KGZ
  6. Krzysztof Bienkowski, POL
  7. Vazgen Tevanyan, ARM
  8. Abbos Rakhmonov, UZB

Yianni’s Path

Yianni didn't have enough rankings points to earn a top 8 seed so was randomly drawn into the bracket. Coincidentally, Yianni drew Vazgen Tevanyan, the wrestler who defeated him at last year's worlds, 5-1. After that, Yianni will be a big favorite to meet Bajrang Punia in the quarter-finals. The other half of that bracket is wide-open with Sebastian Rivera as the favorite to make the semi-finals. 

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 65kg:

  • Abbos Rakhmonov, UZB

Most of the top wrestlers at 65kg will be seeded but Abbos Rakhmonov. In June, Rakhmonov finished second at the rankings tournament in Kazakhstan where he defeated Bajrang Punia, 5-3. Dudaev, a Russian transfer, won bronze at both the Yarygin and European Championships this year and looks to be a legitimate medal contender. Rakhmonov is on the top side and will have to get through #1 seed Haji Aliyev in the quarters.

Check out the full 65kg Worlds Preview here.

70kg: Zain Retherford - #6 Seed

70kg Seeds:

  1. Ernazar Akmataliev, KGZ
  2. Zurabi Iakobishvili, GEO
  3. Arman Andreasyan, ARM
  4. Syrbaz Talgat, KAZ
  5. Amir Yazdani, IRI
  6. Zain Retherford, USA
  7. Selahattin Kilicsallayan, TUR
  8. Bacar Ndum, GBS

Zain’s Path

Zain Retherford earned the #6 seed and will be a big favorite in his opening two matches. In the quarters, Retherford will likely meet Armenia’s Arman Andreasysan in the quarterfinals. Andreasyan won Euro silver this year, where he lost only to Zurabi Iakobishvili and recorded wins over Nicola Grahmez (MDA), Kevin Henkel (GER), and Selahattin Kilicsallayan (TUR). On top of that performance, Andreasyan was 1 win shy of a bronze medal and finished 5th at last year’s world championships. 

If Retherford gets by Andreasyan, he’ll face off against 2017 World Champion and 2-time world bronze medalist (2018 and 2021) Zurabi Iakobishvili. Though Iakobishvili won Euros this year, he struggled at the Matteo Pellicone where he failed to place after losing to Joshgun Azimov (AZE) and Servet Coskun (TUR).

The opposite side of the bracket has 3 hammers in #1 seed Ernazar Akmataliev, #5 Amir Yazdani, and unseeded Taishi Narikuni. Both Yazdani and Akmataliev wrestlers won world silver at last year’s world championships - Akmataliev at 70kg and Yazdani at 65kg. They also met in a wild bout at the 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier where Akmataliev came out on top, 15-12. However at the Yasar Dogu in February, Yazdani won gold in a bracket where Akmataliev failed to place. Simply put, either is capable of winning this bracket and their potential semi could be the best match of the tournament.

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 70kg:

  • Taishi Narikuni, JPN
  • Joshgun Azimov, AZE
  • Ramazan Ramazanov, BUL
  • Ilyas Bekbulatov, UZB

Of the above wrestlers, 2022 Asian Champion Taishi Narikuni is the biggest threat to win a medal (maybe even gold) in this 70kg bracket. At those Asian Championships, Narikuni was ultra impressive and highlighted his tournament with a 4-3 victory over Ernazar Akmataliev in the finals. Azimov and Ramazanov have also had impressive results this year and while they might not be gold threats, it wouldn’t be too surprising if either reached the podium.

Check out the full 70kg Worlds Preview here.

74kg: Kyle Dake - #1 Seed

74kg Seeds:

  1. Kyle Dake, USA
  2. Tajmuraz Salkazanov, SVK
  3. Frank Chamizo, ITA
  4. Turan Bayramov, AZE
  5. Younes Emami, IRI
  6. Khetik Tsabolov, SRB
  7. Soner Demirtas, TUR
  8. Mitch Finesilver, ISR

Dake’s Path

Kyle Dake has a clear path to the finals. He'll be a big favorite in his opening 2 matches and has the potential to meet Mitch Finesilver in the quarters. Dake would then have the winner of Bayramov and Emami in the semis. Bayramov defeated James Green at last year’s world championships where he ultimately finished in 5th place. It’s also worth noting that Emami won world bronze at 70kg back in 2019. However, neither has shown any signs of being on the same level as defending world champ Kyle Dake.

The #2 and #3 seeds, Salkazanov and Chamizo, are the clear class of the bottom half of the bracket. The two have met at each of the past two European Championships with Salkazanov coming out on top in close bouts. Both also have a history against Dake - Chamizo is 0-2 against Dake losing 5-0 in the bronze medal match at the Olympics - Salkazanov lost to Dake 7-3 in last year’s world finals. 

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 74kg:

  • Nurkozha Kaipanov, KAZ

Nurkozha Kaipanov was runner-up at this year’s Asian Championships where he lost only to Younes Emami, 5-2. Beyond that, Kaipanov won a bronze medal at the rankings tournament in Kazakhstan in June losing a tight 3-1 bout to Salkazanov and securing a notable win over past world and Olympic medalist Ikhtiyor Navruzov. Kaipanov is on the bottom side of the bracket and will likely wrestle Salkazanov in the round of 16.

Check out the full 74kg Worlds Preview here.

79kg: Jordan Burroughs - #1 Seed

79kg Seeds:

  1. Jordan Burroughs, USA
  2. Mohammad Nokhodi, IRI
  3. Georgios Kougioumtsidis, GRE 
  4. Arman Avagyan, ARM
  5. Vladimeri Gamkrelidze, GEO
  6. Ashraf Ashirov, AZE
  7. Muhammet Akdeniz, TUR
  8. Saifedine Alekma, FRA

Looking to make history, Jordan Burroughs will be a big favorite in his first 2 matches to set up a likely potential match against Arslan Budazhapov in the quarters. Budazhapov lost to Chance Marsteller at the Yasar Dogu in February making Burroughs a heavy favorite.

Burroughs semi-final opponent will be one of Gulaev, Umarpashaev, or Arman Avagyan. Avagyan took 5th at last year’s world championships where he lost to Mohammad Nokhodi (8-4) and Nika Kentchadze (10-0). Regardless of who Burroughs faces on his side of the bracket, he’ll be a big favorite to reach the finals.

It’s clear returning world silver medalist Mohammad Nokhodi is the class of the bottom half of the bracket. His biggest test at this point is the #3 seed - 2022 Euro champ Georgious Kougiomtsidis. However, Nokhodi will be tested first round by Russian transfer Iakub Shikhdzhamalov.

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 79kg:

  • Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, UZB
  • Iakub Shikhdzhamalov, ROU
  • Akhsarbek Gulaev, SVK

The above 3 wrestlers all have the potential to reach the medal stand in Belgrade, Serbia but Bekzod Abdurakhmonov stands out as a big contender. Abdurakhmonov is moving up after winning an Olympic bronze medal last year at 74kg and is the only wrestler to record a technical superiority over Jordan Burroughs (11-1 win at the 2016 Olympics). After Abdurakhmonov, Shikhdzhamalov is a Russian transfer and won silver at the Matteo Pellicone where he notably defeated Akhsarbek Gulaev and Muhammet Akdeniz. Though Gulaev lost to Shikhdzhamalov, he was the 2021 European Champion and won bronze at both the Kazakhstan rankings tournament and Matteo Pellicone. 

Check out the full 79kg Worlds Preview here.

86kg: David Taylor #2 Seed

86kg Seeds:

  1. Hassan Yazdani, IRI
  2. David Taylor, USA
  3. Myles Amine, SMR
  4. Abubakr Abakarov, AZE
  5. Boris Makoev, SVK
  6. Azamat Dauletbekov, KAZ
  7. Ethan Ramos, PUR
  8. Fatih Erdin, TUR

Taylor’s Path

David Taylor could have 2 wrestlers with American ties in both the quarters and semis - UNC All-American Ethan Ramos and 5X All-American for the University of Michigan Myles Amine. Taylor has never wrestled Ramos, however, he did record a 12-2 technical superiority victory over Myles Amine in the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics. However, France's junior world champion Magamadov is one to watch for and could be an interesting test for #7 seed Ethan Ramos. 

As big of a favorite as Taylor is to make the final on his side of the bracket, Hassan Yazdani is just as big of a favorite to run through his side of the bracket to the finals. Taylor currently holds a 3-1 series lead over Yazdani, however, Yazdani holds the latest victory from the 2021 world finals. Their potential final is undoubtedly the most anticipated match of the entire world championships. 

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 86kg:

  • None

The seeds at 86kg are the best representation of the top talent at the weight class and will not leave any of the major contenders unseeded.

Check out the full 86kg Worlds Preview here.

92kg: J’den Cox - #3 Seed

92kg Seeds:

  1. Kamran Ghasempour, IRI
  2. Osman Nurmagomedov, AZE
  3. J’den Cox, USA
  4. Adilet Davlumbayev, KAZ
  5. Mirani Maisuradze, GEO
  6. Georgii Rubaev, MDA
  7. Feyzullah Akturk, TUR
  8. Akhmed Bataev, BUL

J’den’s Path

As the #3 seed, J’den Cox will likely wrestle Georgii Rubaev in the quarters and Osman Nurmagomedov in the semis. Nurmagomedov is a legitimate contender and had a breakout year in 2021. Last year, Nurmagomedov placed bronze at the European Championships, bronze at senior worlds, and won U23 worlds. However, look out for Feyzullah Akturk from Turkey against Nurmagomedov in the quarters. Akturk is having a breakout year at 92kg and is likely the biggest threat to Cox and Ghasempour. He won the European Championships in March where he defeated Georgii Rubaev (MDA), Miriani Maisuradze (GEO), and Akhmed Bataev (BUL). Though

Top-seeded and defending world champion Kamran Ghasempour is a heavy favorite to reach the finals on the top side of the bracket. Ghasempour defeated Cox at last year’s world, 3-3 on criteria. Look for Akhmed Bataev to be Ghasempour's biggest test on the way to the finals. Bataev has had a fantastic 2022 with silver finishes at the Kolv and Euros and 2 wins over world medalist Osman Nurmagomedov.

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 92kg:

  • None

The seeds at 92kg are the best representation of the top talent at the weight class and will not leave any of the major contenders unseeded.

Check out the full 92kg Worlds Preview here.

97kg: Kyle Snyder - #1 Seed

97kg  Seeds:

  1. Kyle Snyder, USA
  2. Magomedgadji Nurov, MKD
  3. Batzul Ulziisaikhan, MGL
  4. Mahamaed Zakariiev, UKR
  5. Mohammad Mohammadian, IRI
  6. Batyrbek Tsauklov, SVK
  7. Mamed Ibragimov, KAZ
  8. Magomedkhan Magomedov, AZE

Snyder’s Path

Kyle Snyder will be the top seed at 97kg and is looking to make his 7th world/Olympic finals. Snyder's opening match will be against Zbigniew Baranowski who he teched at the Bout At The Ballpark in February. Then in the quarters, Snyder will like wrestle Russian transfer Magomedkhan Magomedov. Magomedov was a junior world champ in 2018 and won both the Kolov and Euros this year. Between those 2 tournaments, Magomedov had notable wins over Aliaksandr Hushtyn, Elizbar Odikadze, and Vladislav Baitsaev. 

Then in the semis, Snyder will wrestle in a highly anticipated rematch against Iran’s Mohammad Mohammadian. Snyder was pinned by Mohammadian in January of 2022 at the Matteo Pellicone, however, Snyder went on to medal at the Olympics where Mohammadian went 0-1. Will Snyder get his revenge or will Mohammadian prove superior once again? That’s the question we’ll likely have the answer to when they likely meet in the semis Saturday night in Belgrade.

The bottom side of the bracket is fairly wide open but #6 seed Batyrbek Tsakulov should be considered the favorite at this point. Tsakulov took bronze at the European Championships where he lost to Vladislav Baitsaev but bounced back with gold in June at the Kazakhstan rankings tournament and the Matteo Pellicone. At the Pellicone, he notably defeated Givi Macharashvili, Zbigniew Baranowski, and Elizbar Odikadze. 

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 97kg:

  • Givi Macharashvili, GEO
  • Vladislav Baitsaev, HUN

The above 2 wrestlers will all be wrestling at their first senior world championships with Baitsaev being a Russian transfer. Both are on the bottom side of the bracket (opposite Snyder) and potential finalists. For years, Baitsaev was the #2 97kg behind Sadulaev and has had close losses to Snyder in the past. This year, Baitsaev placed bronze at the Matteo Pellicone and silver at Euros with wins over Magomedgadji Nurov and Batrybek Tsakulov. 

Then there’s Givi Macharashvili. He recently won the 97kg spot over veteran and world medalist Elizbar Odikadze and has other notable wins this year over both Magomedkhan Magomedov and Vladislav Baitsaev while only losing to the aforementioned Tsakulov. 

Check out the full 97kg Worlds Preview here.

125kg: Hayden Zillmer - Unseeded

125kg Pre-Seeds

  1. Geno Petriashvili, GEO
  2. Taha Akgul, TUR
  3. Amir Zare, IRI
  4. Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur, MGL
  5. Gennadij Cudinovic, GER
  6. Oleg Boltin, KAZ
  7. Youssif Hemida, EGY
  8. Robert Baran, POL

Zillmer’s Path

Hayden Zillmer was randomly drawn into the 125kg bracket and received about as favorable of a draw as he could have hoped for. Zillmer is on the top side of the bracket opposite both Akgul and Zare but on the same side as Petriashvili. Zillmer will first have Saparov and then a crucial match against #8 seed Robert Baran. Baran is a multiple-time European medalist and even has a past win over Nick Gwiazdowski.

Should Zillmer win his match against Baran and make the quarters, he'll likely have 3-time world champ Geno Petriashvili. Zillmer and Petriashvili wrestled twice in July in two competitive matches. The other quarter has a few potential contenders in Oleg Boltin, Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur, Magomedgazhi Nurasulov, and Khasanboy Rakhimov. Any one of those could reach that top semi-final. 

Best Unseeded Wrestlers at 125kg:

  • Amar Dhesi, CAN
  • Oleg Boltin, KAZ
  • Zhiwei Deng, CHN

Amar Dhesi won the Pan-Am Championships this year after defeating 2-time world medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in the finals. He absolutely has the potential to take out anyone in this bracket outside of the top 3. 

China's Zhiwei Deng is a two-time world medalist and was drawn in on the bottom side of the bracket. Should he win his first match, he'll have defending world champion Amir Zare. We shouldn't expect him to challenge Zare but that could be an interesting match that shows us how Zare is wrestling.

Check out the full 125kg Worlds Preview here.