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World Championships preview in freestyle wrestling at 70 kg

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Aug. 25, 2015, 11:52 a.m. (ET)

VIDEO: James Green vs. Dustin Schlatter at U.S. World Team Trials

Date of competition: Saturday, Sept. 12

The second year of the non-Olympic weight class of 70 kg/154 lbs. may feature another wide-open battle for a World gold medal in freestyle wrestling.

The World Championships are set for Sept. 7-12 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Returning champion Khetik Tsabolov of Russia and returning World bronze medalist Ali Shabanau of Belarus have been wrestling up a weight class at 74 kg/163 lbs. this year and both are ranked at 74 by United World Wrestling.

Tsabolov may drop back down to 70 for the Worlds. He is another very talented Russian who was very dominant when he competed in this weight class.

Returning World silver medalist Yakup Gor of Turkey is ranked third at 70 kg and returning World bronze medalist Bekzod Abdurakhmanov of Uzbekistan is ranked fourth.

Abdurakhmanov wrestled collegiately in the United States for Clarion and wrestled superbly last year in landing a spot on the medal podium.

Russia’s Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov and Poland’s Magomedmurad Gadzhiev are ranked 1-2 at 70 kg. They placed 1-2 at the European Games.

Iran’s Hassan Yazdani, a 2014 Junior World champion, is another wrestler to watch in this weight class. Yazadni beat American phenom Aaron Pico in the Junior World finals last year. Yazdani is ranked seventh by UWW.

Yazdani is a very tough, hard-nosed and aggressive competitor who looked very good at this year’s World Cup in Los Angeles.

American James Green is fresh out of college, but the four-time NCAA All-American for Nebraska is a wrestler you certainly can’t count out in this weight class.

Green placed second at the 2014 University World Championships and he trains daily with Olympic and World champion Jordan Burroughs at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Like Burroughs, Green is an explosive athlete who can strike quickly from his feet. Green earned back-to-back wins over a tough competitor in Nick Marable to make the U.S. team. Marable placed eighth at the 2014 Worlds.

Green also turned in a strong performance to win the Grand Prix of Spain this summer. He is ranked No. 16 in the World at 70 kg by United World Wrestling.

Green is definitely a contender to win a medal in Las Vegas. He is a tough matchup for anyone with his athletic ability and quick-striking ability from his feet. It will be interesting to see how he fares at his first Senior Worlds.

UWW WORLD RANKINGS

70 kg/154 lbs.
1. Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov (Russia)
2. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland)
3. Yakup Gor (Turkey)
4. Bekzod Abdurakhmanov (Uzbekistan)
5. Zelimkhan Yusupov (Tajikistan)
6. Israil Kasumov (Russia)
7. Hassan Yazdani (Iran)
8. Ruslan Dibirgadzhiyev (Azerbaijan)
9. Miroslav Kirov (Bulgaria)
10. Rasul Arsanaliev (Russia)
11. Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (Russia)
12. Zaur Efendiev (Serbia)
13. Evgheni Nedealco (Moldova)
14. David Tlashadze (Georgia)
15. Georgi Zlatov (Bulgaria)
16. James Green (USA)
17. Zsombor Gulyas (Hungary)
18. Andrey Karpach (Belarus)
19. Elaman Dodgurubek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan) 
20. Takafumi Kojima (Japan)

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2014 World Championships
70 kg/154 lbs. – Gold – Khetik Tsabolov (Russia); Silver – Yakup Gor (Turkey); Bronze – Ali Shabanau (Belarus); Bronze – Bekzod Abdurakhmanov (Uzbekistan); 5th – Cleopas Ncube (Canada); 5th – Zalimkhan Yusuopv (Tajikistan); 7th – Yoan Blanco (Ecuador); 8th – Nick Marable (USA); 9th – Kim Dai-Sung (Korea); 10th – Evgheni Nedealco (Moldova)