2021 - Olympic Qualifiers - Men's Freestyle
97KG - Abdulrashid Sadulaev
Abdulrashid Sadulaev is the biggest favorite of any weight in Men’s Freestyle to win gold in Tokyo. Sadulaev has won almost 50 matches in a row and hasn’t lost since the 2017 World Finals against Kyle Snyder. Another interesting note is that Sadulaev has wins over every guy in the bracket ranked between 2-11. Because of seeding points, Snyder will be opposite of Sadulaev in the bracket but should have a few “land mines” on his path to the finals. Sharif Sharifov, who beat Snyder in the semis of the 2019 world championships, will be on the same side of the bracket as Snyder. Also, Mohammad Mohammadian, who pinned Snyder in January 2020 will be randomly drawn into the bracket. Mohammadian doesn’t have many results at 97kg since he returned from his banned substance suspension, but does look to be the biggest threat to knocking off Sadulaev from his 97kg throne.
Iran used the Poland Open to determine their Olympic representative at 97kg and Mohammad Mohammadian came out on top. On his way to winning gold at the Poland Open, Mohammadian teched Kollin Moore, beat Alireza Karimi (IRI) in the semis and edged Ali Shabani (IRI) in the finals - 1-1. The win over Shabani avenged two previous losses Mohammadian had suffered to his fellow countryman from November 2020.
Also in Poland, Alisher Yergali and Magomedgaji Nurov placed high enough to move themselves into the top four seeds for the Olympics. Yergali defeated Nurov in the bronze medal match in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament - it was 11-7 before Yergali pinned Nurov. Along with reaching the bronze match, Yergali and Nurov were able to cement themselves in the Olympic seeding due to Sharif Sharifov’s poor performance. In the opening round of the Poland Open, Abraham Conyedo (ITA) defeated Sharifov, 2-2. Coyedo lost in the next round to Alireza Karimi; ending Shafiov’s tournament and ability to gain any seeding points.
Abdulrashid Sadulaev was back in action at the Ali Aliev but looked less than 100%. Sadulaev forfeited in the finals to #10 ranked Magomed Ibragimov (UZB) but will not be punished in the rankings (forfeits and injury defaults are not considered in rankings). However, on the way to the finals, Sadulaev had 3 decision victories over solid competition. It seemed Sadulaev was still working his way back to peak form six weeks prior to the Olympics.
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