With Russia and Belarus out for the world championships there are some matches that a lot of people have been looking forward to that we will not be able to see. Let’s take a look at the main ones. (no order)
#1 Kyle Snyder vs Abdulrashid Sadulaev
People have started to question how much a rivalry this really is anymore with Sadulaev somewhat dominating the last two meetings however the Snyderlaev series has been one of the best in recent history beginning in 2017.
Sadulaev currently has 7 gold medals to his name from the world championships and the Olympic games. He is 26 years old and has already stated his main goal is to pass Aleksandr Medved in medals (10). Not being able to compete may put a wrench into those plans a little bit and force him to go a little bit longer in his career.
He has said that Paris is where he plans on retiring from wrestling but who knows sometimes plans change. If he were to ride his career to Los Angeles in 2028 and possibly become the first freestyle wrestler to win 4 Olympic golds that would be interesting but all of that is only speculation at the time being.
Snyder seems to be back to his best version, there were some doubts after 2018 when Sadulaev pinned him and he didn’t make the 2019 finals falling to Sharifov that maybe he had “fallen off.” He shut those doubts down in 2021 as he made the Tokyo Olympic finals against Sadulaev and put on a lot better of a showing than many has expected him to. Still lost 6-3 but that is closer than anyone else in the world was able to keep it.
At world similar situation, Snyder had a close match in the semis against Iran but came out on top. This time Sadulaev won 6-0 but the 4 points that came were from 1 exchange at the other 2 from the shot clock.
This year with Sadulaev not being in the field it makes for an interesting bracket. Don’t know if Sharifov will be coming back for Azerbaijan but if he does he has upended Snyder in the past and so has Mohammadian from Iran. As far as who Snyder will hypothetically see in the finals could be many guys such as Sharifov, Mohammadian, Odikadze, or Salas it all depends.
However without Sadulaev there it begs the question how much is the gold medal truly worth?
#2 Thomas Gilman vs Zavur Uguev
This is another one that many people wanted to see after Gilman gave Uguev a run for his money at the Olympic games. Uguev scored a takedown with under ten seconds left to take the lead on the American and win gold.
Gilman won gold in Oslo at the world championships but with Uguev not there as well as Ravi Kumar of India the real levels that Gilman has jumped were yet to be proven. A lot of people talk about Gilman’s improvement since joining the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club at Penn State. This is where he needs to prove it at the world championships in Serbia.
Even without Uguev in the field it will probably be Gilman vs Kumar which should be a good match since they are both Olympic medalists with Gilman taking bronze and Kumar silver both losing to Uguev.
Uguev coming back in 2023 most likely himself will have a lot to prove and show people that is the top dog, while Gilman and Kumar are going to do what they can to show otherwise.
#3 Seth Gross vs Abasgadzhi Magomedov
This is an interesting one since we have not seen Gross at the world level really. He did knock off Daton Fix who lost to Magomedov in the world finals 4-1 so it begs the question that if Gross is able to make the finals or win it this year how would this match turn out.
A lot of this is speculation however so not really much can be said about this match or how it might turn out when it does happen.
#4 Kyle Dake vs Zaurbek Sidakov
Dake did not have the greatest tournament in Tokyo and it was apparent as he was teched by Kadimagomedov of Belarus. Sidakov remains the guy to beat here and this is a match a lot of people assumed they would see in Tokyo.
We might see this match in 2023, obviously no guarantees but it becomes interesting because as time goes on Sidakov is in his prime and Dake is only getting older.
Dake vs Chamizo seems like the logical world finals here but who really knows at this point with Kadi and Sidakov being out of the picture.
#5 Jordan Burroughs vs Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov
This is a potential match that people never really talked about in the United States which still seems crazy. Kadi takes silver in Tokyo and his only losses have been to Sidakov since then.
Kadi has been competing at 79kg as well as Burroughs so this match could very well happen next year in 2023 which would be absolutely insane being that normally the non Olympic weights tend to be less competitive.
Kadi would of course be the favored wrestler statistically with the tech over Dake and JB’s loss to Dake but the style matchup becomes interesting now that we are up at 79 can Kadi handle the horsepower or JB.