Photo of Nick Suriano by Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling.
NICE, France – The USA continued to roll on day two of the Henri Deglane Grand Prix as four men’s freestylers were crowned champs and four others claimed medals on Saturday in Nice, France.
Winning gold for the USA was 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder at 97 kg, two-time World champion Kyle Dake at 74 kg, National Team member Yianni Diakomihalis at 65 kg and Nick Suriano at 57 kg. Other medals came from James Green, Thomas Gilman, Zahid Valencia and Nick Gwiazdowski.
Back in action at 97 kg, Snyder, also a two-time World champion, went through round-robin action before making his way to the finals. In his round robin matches, he defeated Erik Thiele of Germany, 11-1; Radoslaw Baran of Poland, 9-2; and Radu Lefter of Moldova, 11-0. The wins put him in the semifinals, where he was slated to face past World champ and Olympic bronze medalist Sharif Sharifov in a rematch of the 2019 World semifinals, which Sharifov won. However, the Azeri forfeited the bout, sending Snyder to the finals. There, he dominated 2018 U23 World champion Givi Matcharashvili of Georgia for the gold, 13-2.
Two-time World champion Dake was impressive at 74 kg, ending all of his matches early to cruise to gold. To begin his tournament, Dake registered back-to-back 11-0 wins against Jonathan Alvarez of Spain and Mitch Finesilver of Israel, who trains in the U.S. In the semifinals, he went up 7-0, thanks to one of his famous “Dake bombs” before pinning 2018 Junior World champion Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev of Azerbaijan in 2:04. Unfortunately, Dake did not get to wrestle in the finals as his opponent Daviti Tlashadze of Georgia forfeited the bout.
The 65 kg finals featured USA vs. USA as Final X runner-up and two-time Cadet World champion Diakomihalis faced Senior World silver and bronze medalist James Green. Diakomihalis put up a decisive 5-0 win, thanks to takedowns in each period. It was the third time the two have met up since December, when they competed in the RTC Cup. Diakomihalis owns a 3-0 record in the series.
On his way to the finals, Diakomihalis put together a great showing, which included a 13-2 technical fall over 2016 Olympic champion and 2015 World champ Vladimer Khinchegashvili.
Green was also impressive, collecting back-to-back technical falls in his opening bouts and a hard-fought 2-0 win in the semifinals.
Suriano shined in his first international tournament overseas, winning a tough bracket that included two U.S. stars. In his first match, Suriano shut out 2019 European Games champion and 2015 Junior World champ Mahkir Amiraslanov of Azerbaijan. To land a spot in the finals, Suriano took out 2013 Junior World bronze medalist Beka Bujiashvili from Georgia, 4-1. For gold, he controlled his bout against Islam Bazarganov of Azerbaijan en route to a 7-1 win.
Three Americans claimed bronze medals on Saturday, including Thomas Gilman at 57 kg, Zahid Valencia at 86 kg and Nick Gwiazdowski at 125 kg.
Gilman, a 2017 World silver medalist, began his day the same way he ended it, with wins over two-time European champion Giorgi Edisherashvili of Azerbaijan. In his opening bout, Gilman beat the Azeri, 6-4. After a quarterfinals win over USA teammate Vitali Arujau, Gilman advanced to the semifinals, where he dropped a heart-breaking 6-6 criteria bout to Islam Bazarganov of Azerbaijan. The loss put Gilman in the bronze-medal bout, where he met up with Edisherashvili once again. This time, it was a 6-4 win for Gilman to secure the medal.
2017 Junior World silver medalist Valencia started his day with a tough loss to 2018 World Military champion Magomed Ramazanov from Russia, 8-7. Valencia battled his way back through repechage, collecting two technical falls to earn a spot in the bronze-medal match. There, he defeated 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dato Marsagashvili of Georgia with a pin in 2:30.
At 125 kg, Gwiazdowski went 2-1 on the day to collect some hardware. He opened the tournament with a dominating 11-0 win against Jere Heino of Finland, who trains in the U.S. Similar to Gilman, Gwiazdowski fell in a criteria loss to 2020 Individual World Cup runner-up Robert Baran of Poland, 5-5. He bounced back in the bronze-medal match, putting on a takedown clinic against Asghar Laghari of Germany for a 10-0 win.
Also competing for Team USA was Vitali Arujau at 57 kg, who dropped his first match to U.S. teammate Thomas Gilman, 6-2. Arujau earned his way to the bronze match, winning his first two repechage matches handily. For bronze, he lost a 15-13 barn burner to Bujiashvili of Georgia to take fifth.
Competition wraps up with Greco-Roman action on Sunday at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) live on Flowrestling. Fans can keep up with the action by following @USAWrestling on Twitter.
2021 HENRI DEGLANE GRAND PRIX
Nice, France | Jan. 16, 2021
U.S. men’s freestyle results
57 kg: Nick Suriano (Sunkist Kids) - GOLD
WIN Mahkir Amiraslanov (Azerbaijan), 7-0
WIN Beka Bujiashvili (Georgia), 4-1
WIN Islam Bazarganov (Azerbaijan), 7-1
57 kg: Thomas Gilman (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC) - BRONZE
WIN Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan), 4-0
WIN Vitali Arujau (USA), 6-2
LOSS Islam Bazarganov (Azerbaijan), 6-6
WIN Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan), 6-4
57 kg: Vitali Arujau (Titan Mercury WC/Spartan RTC) - FIFTH
LOSS Thomas Gilman (USA), 6-2
WIN Anvar Suviniitty (Finland), 11-1
WIN Razvan Kovacs (Romania), 8-2
LOSS Beka Bujiashvili (Georgia), 15-13
65 kg: Yianni Diakomihalis (Titan Mercury WC/Spartan RTC) - GOLD
WIN Quentin Sticker (France), 13-2
WIN Krzysztof Bienkowski (Poland), 10-0
WIN Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia), 13-2
WIN James Green (USA), 5-0
65 kg: James Green (Titan Mercury WC/SERTC) - SILVER
WIN Marwane Yezza (France), 12-1
WIN Augustin Destribats (Argentina), 11-0
WIN Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 2-0
LOSS Yianni Diakomihalis (USA), 5-0
74 kg: Kyle Dake (Titan Mercury WC/Spartan RTC) – GOLD
WIN Jonathan Alvarez (Spain), 11-0
WIN Mitch Finesilver (Israel), 11-0
WIN Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (Azerbaijan), fall 2:04
WIN Daviti Tlashadze (Georgia), forfeit
86 kg: Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids) - BRONZE
LOSS Magomed Ramazanov (Russia), 8-7
WIN Andrian Grosul (Moldova), 13-2
WIN Damian Iglesias (Spain), 10-0
WIN Dato Marsagashvili (Georgia), fall 2:30
97 kg: Kyle Snyder (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC) - GOLD
WIN Erik Thiele (Germany), 11-1
WIN Radoslaw Baran (Poland), 9-2
WIN Radu Lefter (Moldova), 11-0
WIN Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan), forfeit
WIN Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia), 14-3
125 kg: Nick Gwiazdowski (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC) – BRONZE
WIN Jere Heino (Finland), 11-0
LOSS Robert Baran (Poland), 5-5
WIN Asghar Laghari (Germany), 10-0