Abdulrashid Sadulaev

Abdulrashid Sadulayev pins Kyle Snyder in Rematch of the Century

Leave a comment

Kyle Snyder called out Abdulrashid Sadulayev in the spring, saying he could beat the Russian more soundly than in the 2017 Match of the Century. That Sadulayev was getting bad advice from those who told him he could beat Snyder if he entered the world championships in the 97kg freestyle division again this year.

Turns out, Sadulayev’s advisers were right.

The Russian Tank pinned Snyder for gold in the Rematch of the Century at wrestling worlds in Budapest on Tuesday. It was over in 70 seconds.

Sadulayev took control with a single-leg shot at 40 seconds, quickly took Snyder down and, after 20 seconds of jostling, used his 215 pounds on top of Snyder to get the American’s shoulders on the mat.

“Ended quickly,” Snyder said. “That stunk. Everybody knows Sadulayev’s a very talented wrestler. He hit me in a good move, and it worked out well for him. … This one doesn’t even really hurt too much right now.”

Snyder, 22, lost on the global championship stage for the first time. In 2015, he became the youngest American to win a world title. In 2016, he became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion. In 2017, he beat Sadulayev in the worlds final 6-5, overcoming a two-point deficit in the final minute in a battle of Olympic gold medalists.

Former Russian freestyle coach Magomed Guseynov was proven prophetic Tuesday.

“Sadulayev wasn’t prepared well last time,” he told United World Wrestling before worlds. “[Sadulayev] is 10 times better than Snyder. … Being a coach with 47 years of experience, I guarantee that Sadulayev won’t give him a chance to score a single point. Sadulayev will wrestle as if Snyder is an amateur.”

Sadulayev, a 22-year-old from Dagestan, was undefeated at the senior international level from November 2013 up to that 2017 World final. He beat four Rio Olympic 86kg opponents by a combined 28-1.

Sadulayev was more impressive than Snyder in Monday’s early rounds, winning all four matches by the 10-point mercy rule. Snyder’s closest match was his semifinal, a 3-0 win over two-time world medalist Pavlo Oliynyk of Hungary.

In other divisions Tuesday, three-time world champion Adeline Gray beat Olympic gold medalist Erica Wiebe of Canada to reach Wednesday’s 76kg final. Gray took 2017 off to recover from injuries after surprisingly missing the medals at her first Olympics in Rio.

Helen Maroulis, a 2015 and 2017 World champion and Rio gold medalist, opens her bid Wednesday to tie Tricia Saunders for the U.S. female record of four combined Olympic and world titles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Wrestling worlds TV schedule

J’den Cox, Kyle Dake earn first wrestling world titles

Leave a comment

J’den Cox had enough of bronze. Kyle Dake, an NCAA wrestling legend, considered quitting after finishing second at U.S. trials year after year.

Both Cox and Dake broke through for their first wrestling world titles in Budapest on Monday, giving the U.S. three male world champions in one year for the first time since 1995.

Cox, bronze medalist at the Rio Olympics and 2017 Worlds, dumped Belarusian Ivan Yankouski 4-1 in the 92kg final. A half-hour earlier, Dake completed an unscored upon run through the 79kg division, beating Olympic bronze medalist Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijan 2-0.

Both Cox and Dake won their titles at non-Olympic weights. It’s likely that Cox drops back down to 86kg, where David Taylor just won the world title, for the Tokyo 2020 trials. Dake’s road might be even tougher if he goes down to 74kg, land of five-time Olympic and world champion Jordan Burroughs.

Since Rio, Cox underwent surgery for the torn meniscus that he competed on at the Olympics, won his third NCAA title, mulled and ruled out playing college football for Missouri, moved up from 86kg to 92kg, relocated to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and shaved his head.

“I expected this outcome,” Cox said. “I did the work.”

Dake, 27, reached the pinnacle of international wrestling five years after completing an unrivaled NCAA career at Cornell. Dake, nicknamed “Kid Dynamite,” is the only wrestler to win NCAA titles at four weight classes or without a redshirt.

From 2013-17, Dake was runner-up at Olympic or world championships trials four times. Three times, he ran into Burroughs in world trials finals. He considered retiring after losing in the 2016 Olympic Trials 86kg final to Cox.

Dake made his first world team this year, helped some by the tournament moving from eight weight classes to 10. He didn’t have to face Burroughs or Cox at trials.

“Motivating, having guys like that who are just half a step, quarter of a step, eighth of a step ahead of you, that you need to go catch puts a fire under your belly,” Dake said. “I challenge [Olympic and world 97kg champion] Kyle Snyder [in practice]. I challenge J’den. I challenge those guys. I go down [in weight]. I’ll wrestle Jordan.”

And Dake proved he belonged in Budapest as the first U.S. man to win an Olympic or world title without surrendering a point in at least 30 years. Helen Maroulis, who wrestles later this week, also notched the feat at the 2015 and 2017 Worlds.

Worlds continue Tuesday, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, with the most anticipated match of the tournament — Snyder versus Russian Olympic champ Abdulrashid Sadulaev in the 97kg final, a rematch of the 2017 final dubbed the “Match of the Century” won by Snyder.

Also Monday, 2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman dropped his 57kg bronze-medal match 5-4 to Süleyman Atlı of Turkey.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Wrestling worlds TV schedule

Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder lead U.S. to first freestyle wrestling team title since 1995

Leave a comment

Jordan BurroughsTwitter handle reads “All I See Is Gold.”

He won 74kg gold medals at the 2012 Olympics, as well as at the world wrestling championships in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

But he failed to earn a medal of any color at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Burroughs is seeing gold once again, after claiming his fourth world championship title Saturday in Paris.

“I’ve never taken second place,” Burroughs said to reporters in Paris. “If I’m in the finals, I’m going to win it.”

Burroughs helped the U.S. win the men’s freestyle team title for the first time since 1995.

It was an even matchup between Burroughs and Russia’s Khetag Tsabolov, the 2014 world champion. Neither athlete led by more than two points until Burroughs won 9-6.

Exhausted, Burroughs fell to the mat before taking a lap with a U.S. flag.

“I actually tried to rip my singlet, but it was too tightly bound,” Burroughs said, laughing. “I’m not as strong as I thought I was.”

Burroughs, who said he will celebrate by eating a French crepe, is already looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when he will be 32.

“I’m hoping Tokyo can be the final chapter for me,” Burroughs said. “Rio couldn’t be it. I couldn’t go off with that being the lasting imprint on my legacy, finishing in ninth place.”

Also on Saturday, Kyle Snyder defeated Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev to win the 97kg world championship. Sadulayev, who won the 2014 and 2015 World titles and 2016 Olympic gold at 86kg, moved up to 97kg this year to potentially meet Snyder for the first time.

The 21-year-old Snyder became the youngest American wrestler to win a world title in 2015 and an Olympic title in 2016.

“Kyle is the new G.O.A.T. of this era,” Burroughs said, using the acronym “Greatest of All Time” to describe his teammate. “He truly motivates me.”

NBCSN will recap the world wrestling championships Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Helen Maroulis dominates for world title after making history in Rio