The 2022 World Cup will begin with Team USA vs Team Mongolia in mens freestyle, as well as Team Japan vs Team Mongolia in women’s freestyle.
Session I will begin at 11:00am EST on Saturday December 9th
57kg- Nick Suriano vs Zanabazar Zandanbud
Nick Suriano has been out of the wrestling scene for a while and a lot of people are very excited to see him compete again. This will be a very tough challenge for Suriano as he will most likely be taking on 2022 world bronze medalist Zanabazar Zandanbud. If Suriano returns how he left this will be a lot closer of a match than people think but at this point Zandanbud definitely has the upper hand.
61kg- Seth Gross vs Narankhuu Narmandakh
This is a very intriguing matchup at 61kg, Seth Gross placed 5th at the World Championships with losses to Rei Higuchi and Arsen Harutyunyan who were arguably the two best competitors in the field.
Narmandakh was able to win a bronze medal however. I would give the advantage to Gross in the matchup but it should be a fun one to watch.
65kg- Yianni Diakomihalis vs Tulga Tumur-Ochir
This is another very interesting match here, Tumor-Ochir won bronze at the 2021 World Championships with his only loss being by criteria 4-4 to eventual champion Zagir Shakiev.
Tumur-Ochir tends to wrestle lower scoring bouts which may play into Yianni’s favor here if he can blow the match wide open. This one could go either way just depending on who has the better day.
70kg- Alec Pantaleo vs Temuulen Enkhtuya
Hopefully the United States not having Zain Retherford here does not come back to hurt us but this is a toss up atleast on paper.
Enkhtuya lost a 2-1 match to Zurbai Iakobishvili of Georgia who by the looks of it was heading to the finals but lost to Zain Retherford knocking Enkhtuya out of medal contention.
Pantaleo is good and a solid fill in for Retherford, he has produced on the senior level which may put this bout in his favor so this should be a good one.
74kg- Jason Nolf vs Suldkhuu Olonbayar
This prediction is going somewhat on the basis of Nolf being competitive with Dake and having a pretty dominant win over Tsabolov. Nolf should really have no trouble here being that his growth has been consistent and Dake won by tech over Olonbayar in the 1/8 finals at worlds this year.
79kg- Jordan Burroughs vs Sumiyabazar Zandanbud
One of the weaker weights for Mongolia here and having Jordan Burroughs at this weight class we should have no problem taking this home and hopefully in dominant fashion.
We also have Chance Marstellar here who might take the mat against Mongolia.
86kg- Zahid Valencia vs Bat Erdene Byambasuren
Another really weak weight for Mongolia here, even without the USA having David Taylor here Valencia should be able to get the job done with ease. Most likely a tech here if we wrestling Zahid, we also have Mark Hall at this weight class if they decide to start him.
92kg- Nate Jackson vs Gankhuyag Ganbaatar
Nate Jackson has looked as solid as ever lately even taking a match against J’den Cox at Final X. Ganbaatar was decently competitive in the 92kg weight class grabbing a win at the World Championships but does not look like he will be able to grab a medal.
Jackson should get the win here but it might be hard to see the gap between the two before we actually get to see the match.
97kg- Kyle Snyder vs Orgilokh Dagvadorj or Batzul Ulziisaikhan
With Snyder here there really is not anyone in the world except Sadulaev that can stay competitive or beat him at this weight class. Both of these guys are again a weaker part of this lineup so Snyder should be able to pick up a tech here.
125kg- Hayden Zillmer vs Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur
With his performance lately Munkhtur should be able to grab a win here. Zillmer has multiple losses to Geno Petriashvili and Munkhtur beat Geno at the World Championships to eliminate Zillmer.
This might be a bit closer of a match looking at the style matchup however Munkhtur should be able to grab a close one.