David Taylor will be coming into the 2022 World Championships as the two seed after falling to rival Hassan Yazdani in the world finals last year. The match was 6-2 in favor of Yazdani but Taylor won the Olympic finals 4-3.
Taylor will have the harder path to the finals if that really means anything at this point. As the 2 seed he will see Deepak Punia of India in the quarterfinals who was the world silver medalist in 2019, the year that Taylor was out due to injury. In the semifinals he will most likely see Olympic bronze medalist Myles Amine of San Marino.
Looking back on the matchups between these two wrestlers Taylor leads the series 3-1. Taylor won by fall at the 2017 world cup pretty much gassing out Yazdani. In their bout at the 2018 world championships Yazdani would get out to an early lead however Taylor would mount a massive comeback to win the bout 11-6.
This past year is where the true “rivalry” started. Coming into the Olympic Games with everyone looking past Yazdani it made for an interesting final for people to see how he improved and if he would ever be a threat for Taylor. Yazdani would be winning the match up until the last 10 seconds where Taylor would power through a double to take Yazdani down and ice the win 4-3.
Yazdani would be denied his 2nd Olympic gold medal, however the world championships in Oslo would be a different story with Yazdani powering strong with the early dominance and being able to score another takedown late to finally defeat Taylor 6-2.
The main question people have is who is the favorite to win this next match. The history favors Taylor, and the recency and actual sequences that happened in the matches favor Yazdani. They both looked solid at their last showings as Yazdani walked his way through the ranking series and Taylor swept Zahid Valencia at Final X to make the world team.
The main things that I think will change in this meeting is the approach that Taylor takes. He most likely will not be able to sit back for the first half of the match and let Yazdani work his under hooks because that will allow him to build a substantial lead, and with the visible size that Yazdani has put on it does not look like he will gas. Taylor will most likely try to push the pace early while Yazdani looks to find his way to more leg attacks off of his under hook series instead of settling for pushouts.
Yazdani is definitely the favorite coming into this but who really knows. This should definitely be a high scoring match should it go down how I think it will.