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World Championships preview in freestyle wrestling at 86 kg

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Aug. 31, 2015, 12:56 p.m. (ET)

VIDEO: Jake Herbert vs. Ed Ruth at 2015 World Team Trials

Date of competition: Friday, Sept. 11

Russia’s Abdul Rashid Sadulaev has become the story of this weight class.

And what an amazing story it is.

Sadulaev, a 2012 and 2013 Cadet World champion, stormed to the 2014 Senior World freestyle title at 86 kg/189 lbs.

And he’s still a teenager.

He celebrated his 19th birthday in May. He is considered the clear favorite to repeat as World champion when his weight class is contested at the 2015 Worlds on Sept. 11 in Las Vegas.

Sadulaev won the European Games title this summer and he has emerged as one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers on the planet. He also won the Alexander Medved title in 2015.

Veteran Reineris Salas of Cuba has won a World silver medal the past two years in this weight class. Salas has wrestled well again this year and looked dominant in winning the Pan American Games.

Sadulaev rolled to a 10-0 technical fall over Salas in the 2014 World finals.

Iran has wrestlers listed 4-5 in the rankings with Meisam Mostafa Joukar fourth and Alireza Karimimachiani fifth.

Returning World bronze medalist Selim Yasar of Turkey may also be in the mix in this division. He is ranked 10th in the World this year.

2013 World bronze medalist Istvan Vereb of Hungary is another wrestler that could make some noise in this weight class in Vegas.

Moldova’s Piotr Ianulov, Poland’s Radoslaw Marcinkiewicz and Aleksandr Hushtyn of Belarus are ranked 7-8-9 in the World at 86 kilograms.

American Jake Herbert, a 2009 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympian, has returned to competition this season and has looked very good.

Herbert, ranked 19th, finished second to Salas at the Pan American Games. Salas earned a 12-7 win over Herbert in that action-packed bout in July in Toronto.

Herbert is an aggressive, dynamic wrestler who is going to come at you for six minutes. The deeper he goes in the tournament the more dangerous he becomes.

Herbert believes in his base wrestling training system with Coach Andy Hrovat and he is definitely a threat to land a spot on the podium in Vegas.

2012 Olympic silver medalist Jaime Espinal of Puerto Rico is another wrestler to watch in this division. Herbert defeated Espinal by a 10-0 technical fall at the Pan Am Games this year.

Spain’s Taymuraz Friev is another wrestler who can’t be overlooked in this power-packed weight class. Friev placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Friev is ranked 20th by United World Wrestling at 86 kilograms.

Azerbaijan’s Gamzat Osmanov and Kazahkstan’s Aslan Kakhideze both placed fifth at last year’s Worlds in this weight class.

India’s Naresh Kumar was seventh in 2014, followed by Bulgaria’s Mihail Ganev, Georgia’s Dato Marsagishvili and Venezuela’s Pedro Ceballos. Ganev won a World title at the 2010 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

Sadulaev is clearly the class of this division. Saying he has been a dominant force is a huge understatement. It will take a very strong performance to knock him off.

Opponents will be looking to come up with new strategies, tactics and game plans to try and stop the momentum of the talented Russian wrestler.

Salas is definitely a wrestler with the athleticism, power and skill to be a World champion. He’s been in the finals the last two years and he remains a legitimate gold-medal contender at 86 kg.

Iran will have a strong entry in this weight class among a number of top candidates that powerhouse country has to pick from.

Yasar has dropped to No. 10 in the rankings, but he is an athlete who knows how to win at this level. He will be looking to improve on his bronze-medal showing from the 2014 World Championships.

Herbert is another wrestler who has made a comeback in a big way this season.

Herbert is very motivated and he is very confident he can win a World title this year and an Olympic gold medal in 2016. He is wrestling the best he has since earning a World bronze medal in 2009 in Herning, Denmark.

Herbert loves the bright lights and the attention that will be focused on him when he steps on the big stage in Las Vegas. He will be looking to put on a show for the large crowd of American fans when he steps on the mat. He is definitely a guy who can make a big impact this year at the World Championships.

UWW WORLD RANKINGS

86 kg/189 lbs.
1. Abdul Rashid Sadulaev (Russia)
2. Reineris Salas Perez (Cuba)
3. Shamil Kudiyamagomedov (Russia)
4. Meisam Mostafa Joukar (Iran)
5. Alireza Karimimachiani (Iran)
6. Dauren Kurugliev (Russia)
7. Piotr Ianulov (Moldova)
8. Radoslaw Marcinkiewicz (Poland)
9. Aleksandr Hushtyn (Belarus)
10. Selim Yasar (Turkey)
11. Sandro Aminashvili (Georgia)
12. Istvan Vereb (Hungary)
13. Atsushi Matsumoto (Japan)
14. Zbigniew Baranowski (Poland)
15. Aleksander Gostiev (Azerbaijan)
16. Ahmed Bilici (Turkey)
17. Amarhadshi Magomedov (Belarus)
18. Nurmagomed Gadzhiev (Azerbaijan)
19. Jake Herbert (USA)
20. Taymuraz Friev (Spain)

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2014 World Championships
86 kg/189 lbs. – Gold – Abdul Rashid Sadulaev (Russia); Silver – Reineris Salas Perez (Cuba); Bronze – Mohammadhossein Mohammadian (Iran); Bronze – Selim Yasar (Turkey); 5th – Gamzat Osmanov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Aslan Kakhidze (Kazakhstan); 7th – Naresh Kumar (India); 8th – Michail Ganev (Bulgaria); 9th – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia); 10th – Pedro Ceballas Fuentes (Venezuela)

2013 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); Silver – Reineris Salas Perez (Cuba); Bronze – Istvan Vereb (Hungary); Bronze – Ehsan Lashgari (Iran); 5th – Murad Gaidarov (Belarus); 5th – Taymuraz Friev (Spain); 7th – Georg Seregelyi (Germany); 8th – Uitumen Orgodol (Mongolia); 9th – Serdar Boke (Turkey); 10th – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia)

2012 Olympic Games
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan); Silver – Jaime Espinal (Puerto Rico); Bronze – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia); Bronze – Ehsan Lashgari (Iran); 5th – Soslan Gattsiev (Belarus); 5th – Ibrahim Bolukbasi (Turkey); 7th – Jake Herbert (USA); 8th – Anzor Urishev (Russia); 9th – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); 10th – Armands Zvirbulis (Latvia)

2011 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan); Silver – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); Bronze – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia); Bronze – Albert Saritov (Russia); 5th – Armands Zvirbulis (Latvia); 5th – Cael Sanderson (USA); 7th – Alireza Goudarzi (Iran); 8th – Shinya Matsumoto (Japan); 9th – Alex Dolly (Ireland); 10th – Yermek Baiduashov (Kazakhstan)

2010 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Mihail Ganev (Bulgaria); Silver – Zaurbek Sokhiev (Uzbekistan); Bronze – Soslan Ktsoev (Russia); Bronze – Reineris Salas (Cuba); 5th – Piotr Ianulov (Moldova); 5th – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); 7th – Maciej Balawender (Poland); 8th – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia); 9th – Vadim Laliev (Armenia); 10th – Nauruz Temrezov (Azerbaijan)

2009 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Zaurbek Sokhiev (Uzbekistan); Silver – Jake Herbert (USA); Bronze – 
Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); Bronze – Sharif Sharipov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Jousop Abdulsalomov (Tajikistan); 5th – Abdusalam Gadisov (Russia); 7th – Gokhan Yavaser (Turkey); 8th – Reineris Salas (Cuba); 9th – Jaime Espinal Fajardo (Puerto Rico); 10th – Istvan Vereb (Hungary)