Ellis, Soto win No-Gi World silver medals, Adzitso adds a No-Gi bronze at the Grappling World Championships

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Sept. 23, 2019, 8:36 a.m. (ET)
Top photo: Carlos Soto of the USA secures a leg attack against Gadzhimurad Abdulaev of Russia in the 92 kg finals.
Bottom photo: Lisa Ellis works on a choke during her finals match against Svitlana Skrypnyk of Ukraine,
Photos by Lin Bin.


NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Team USA came home with three No-Gi medals on Monday at the Grappling World Championships in Barys Arena.

Five-time Grappling World champion Lisa Ellis of Olympia, Wash. won her ninth career UWW Grappling medal, claiming a silver medal in No-Gi Grappling at 53 kg on Monday night.

Ellis was defeated in the gold-medal finals by Svitlana Skrypnyk of Ukraine, 10-2. Skrypnyk scored the initial takedown and gradually added to her total throughout the match, as Ellis battled hard and attempted to secure submission holds from different positions. At the end, Skypnyck was a bit too much for Ellis.

Lisa Ellis likes a challenge. For the last few years, she has dreamed about the chance to compete once again against Skrypnyk, a champion who had beaten her twice in the past. A member of the first U.S. Grappling World Team which competed in Antalya, Turkey, she has seen the sport of Grappling grow and develop over the years.

On Sunday, she scored three straight submissions to reach the finals. She opened with a cowboy choke submission over Anzhelika Pekh of Russia in 1:52. She won her next two matches with a kimura, stopping Ana Nair Marques Dias of Portugal in 2:49 and Anastasia Tanelli of Italy in 3:24.

In past UWW Grappling World Championships, Ellis has won four No-Gi golds (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011) and a Gi gold medal in 2008. She now has two No-Gi silvers, from 2009 and 2019, and two bronzes, a Gi bronze from 2010 and a No-Gi bronze from 2016.

Carlos Soto of West Lafayette, Ind. added a World silver medal at 92 kg in No-Gi, dropping a close 4-2 decision to Gadzhimurad Abdulaev of Russia.

This was the second year in a row that Soto has reached the World finals, after winning a World silver medal in Gi Grappling in 2018. Both years he was beaten in the finals by a Russian athlete.

Early in the bout, Soto almost secured a submission. Abdulaev took a 2-1 lead on Soto, and was in the top position on the mat for an extended period of time. With the match tied at 2-2, and criteria in Abdulaev’s advantage, Soto got a single leg on Adbulaev but was not able to complete the takedown. Abdulaev got a last-second takedown with Soto pressing the action for the final two points.

On Sunday, Soto secured a head and arm choke for a submission over Remazi Kventenadz of Georgia. In the semifinals, he beat Bekir Bariyev of Kazakhstan, 4-2.

Claiming a bronze medal in No-Gi at 100 kg was Koffi Adzitso of Logan, Utah, who defeated Nurbek Ismailov of Kyrgyzstan, 5-0 in the bronze-medal bout. Adzitso controlled the entire bout, scoring two takedowns along the way.

On Sunday, Adzitzo opened with a strong 8-4 victory over Eduardo Riego Gonzalez of Spain, before losing by submission to Abdurakhman Bilarov of Russia in the semifinals.

The U.S. had four athletes qualify for bronze-medal bouts, where they lost and placed fifth.

Daniel Rodriguez of LaSalle, Ill. was fifth at 71 kg, after losing by submission in the bronze-medal bout to Jakub Witkowski of Poland in 3:54. Rodriguez led 5-1 at one point in the bronze match, but Witkowski tied it up at 5-5 before securing his submission hold.

Rodriguez won his opening bout by forfeit over Farid Hadiyev of Azerbaijan and was defeated in the semifinals by Francisco Alcade Torreblanca of Spain by submission in 1:52. Rodriguez was a 2015 Grappling World No-Gi bronze medalist.

Jonathan Becerra of Santa Ana, Calif. finished fifth in No-Gi Grappling at 84 kg. In a unique situation, Becerra qualified for bronze-medal bouts in both Gi and No-Gi, and faced the same opponent in both styles, Riccardo Berti of Italy.

Becerra won their battle for the Gi Grappling bronze medal, beating Berti, 5-2. Only a few minutes later, they both returned to the center mat to compete in No-Gi. Berti won the No-Gi bronze bout, 9-0, which gave Becerra his fifth place in No-Gi, and third place in Gi.

On Sunday, Becerra opened with a 12-6 decision over Dymitro Liashenko (Ukraine. In the semifinals, he lost by submission to Magomed Abdulkadirov of Russia. He will draw Riccardo Berti of Italy in the bronze bout.

Also placing fifth in No-Gi were John Hansen of Omaha, Neb. at +100 kg and Diana Betanzo of Hillsborough, Calif. at 71 kg.

Hansen reached the finals in Gi Grappling on Monday morning, and chose to forfeit in the No-Gi bronze-medal bout in order to focus entirely on his shot for a gold in Gi.

Betanzo won her opening match on Sunday by forfeit over Radhika Kumari of India, then was beaten in the semifinals by Magdelena Loska of Poland by submission in 1:13.

Betanzo is a former U.S. Senior World Team member in women’s freestyle wrestling, competing under her maiden name Diana Wesendunk. This summer, she competed in two Beach World Series events, winning a bronze medal at the Zagreb Beach World Series final. She also was third in the Beach World Series standings in her weight class.

The USA also competed in the Gi Grappling competition at the World Championships. A separate article on the Gi competition will also be posted today.

GRAPPING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, September 22

U.S. Men's No-Gi Grappling performances on Sunday


62 kg - Juan Carlos Cholula, Lafayette, Ind.
LOSS Bauyrzhan Alymbayev (Kazakshtan), 7-6

66 kg - Luis Quinones, Los Angeles, Calif
LOSS Gairbeg Ibragimov (Russia), submission 1:59
LOSS Yurii Cherkaliuk (Ukraine), 2-2

71 kg - Daniel Rodriguez, LaSalle, Ill., 5th place
WIN Farid Hadiyev (Azerbaijan), forfeit, no show
LOSS Francisco Alcade Torreblanca (Spain), submission, 1:52
LOSS Jakub Witkowski (Poland), submission, 3:54

77 kg – Steven Ramos, Nyack, N.Y.
LOSS Azamat Bakytov (Kazakshtan), tech. fall 15-0
LOSS Aurel Pirtea (Romania), 12-5

84 kg - Jonathan Becerra, Santa Ana, Calif., 5th place
WIN Dymitro Liashenko (Ukraine), 12-6
LOSS Magomed Abdulkadirov (Russia), submission, 2:45
LOSS Riccardo Berti (Italy), 9-0

92 kg - Carlos Soto, West Lafayette, Ind., silver medal
WIN Ramazi Kvetenadze (Georgia), submission, head and arm choke
WIN Bekir Bariyev (Kazakhstan), 4-2
LOSS Gadzhimurad Abdulaev (Russia), 4-2

100 kg - Koffi Adzitso, Logan, Utah, bronze medal
WIN Eduardo Riego Gonzalez (Spain), 8-4
LOSS Abdurakhman Bilarov (Russia), submission, 0:35
WIN Nurbek Ismailov (Kyrgyzstan), 5-0

+100 kg - John Hansen, Omaha, Neb., 5th place
WIN Shakhmaral Jetpissov (Kazakhstan), 12-2
LOSS Ruslan Abdulaev (Russia), 7-3
LOSS Sebastian Maciejewski (Poland), forfeit

U.S. Women’s No-Gi Grappling performances

53 kg – Lisa Ellis, Olympia, Wash., silver medal
WIN Anzhelika Pekh (Russia), submission, cowboy choke, 1:52
WIN Ana Nair Marques Dias (Portugal), submission, kimura 2:49
WIN Anastasia Tanelli (Italy), submission, kimura, 3:24
LOSS Svitlana Skrypnyk (Ukraine)

71 kg – Diana Betanzo, Hillsborough, Calif., 5th place
WIN Radhika Kumari (India), forfeit, no show
LOSS Magdelena Loska (Poland), submission, 1:13
LOSS Daiana Zkhap Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan), submission, 1;39

+71 kg – Laree Callihan, Burke, Va.
LOSS Halyna Kovalska (Ukraine), tech. fall 20-2
LOSS Clair France Thevenon (France), tech. fall 20-2
WIN Rita Tana (Italy), 7-2