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Freestyle World Cup preview: Men’s Group A matches between the USA, Georgia and Mongolia

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Dec. 02, 2022, 8:54 a.m. (ET)

Jordan Burroughs (USA), Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), Tulga Tumur Ochir (Mongolia).
Jordan Burroughs (USA), Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), Tulga Tumur Ochir (Mongolia). UWW photos of Burroughs by Tony Rotundo, Petriashvili and Tumur Ochir by Kadir Caliskan.

Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup tickets

TheMat.com will preview each of the Group match-ups for the Men’s and Women’s World Cup in Coralville, Iowa, Dec. 10-11. Group pairings are based upon team placements at the 2022 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September.

We start with Men’s Freestyle Group A, which features No. 1 USA, No. 4 Mongolia and No. 5 Georgia. All three teams are bringing a mix of veteran stars and some young talents. The USA has two Olympic champions, four World champions and 10 past World medalists on the team. Mongolia brings four past World medalists, while Georgia has five past World medalists, including two World champions.

Saturday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. CT – USA vs. Mongolia

The World champion United States team competes in the first dual meet of the World Cup against a Mongolian team with some experienced talent. Mongolia has a chance to get off to a strong start, with World medalists in the first two weight classes. At 57 kg, 2022 World bronze medalist Zanabazar Zandanbud of Mongolia faces Zane Richards or Nick Suriano. Another 2022 World bronze medalist, Narankhuu Narmandakh, will face 2022 World Team member Seth Gross at 61 kg. Both Narmandakh and Gross lost in the 2022 World semifinals, but it was Narmandakh who won his bronze bout, while Gross finished fifth. Two medalists could be competing at 65 kg, as 2022 World silver medalist Yianni Diakomihalis of the USA and 2021 World bronze medalist Tulga Tumur Ochir are on the roster.

The middle weights lead off with 2017 U23 World bronze medalist Temuulen Enkhtuya of Mongolia against either Tyler Berger or Alec Pantaleo of the USA at 70 kg, a pairing which could be a toss up. At 74 kg, Jason Nolf of the USA, a Pan American champion and Yarygin Grand Prix runner-up, should be favored over Suldkhuu Olonbayar, who was eighth in the 2022 World Championships. 2012 Olympic champion and six-time World champion Jordan Burroughs follows at 79 kg against either Dulguun Altanzul or Sumiyabazar Zandanbud, neither who have won a Senior World medal. The USA will have a chance to create some momentum at this time.

Zahid Valencia or Mark Hall, both past age-group World medalists, will compete at 86 kg, against 2018 U20 World bronze medalist Bat Erdene Byambasuren. 2021 Pan American champion Nate Jackson will face either Gankhuyag Ganbaatar or Bymanbadorj Bat Erdene, both who are past U23 World medalists. Olympic champion and three-time World champion Kyle Snyder will be a strong favorite at 97 kg over Batzul Ulziisaikhan, who was fifth at the 2021 World Championships. Mongolia’s most credentialled wrestler, two-time World medalist Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur, will battle 2022 World Team member Hayden Zillmer at 125 kg. The match ups favor a USA victory, but the host team needs to stay sharp throughout the lineup.

United States vs. Mongolia
57 kg - Zane Richards or Nick Suriano (USA) vs. Zanabazar Zandanbud or Nasanbuyan Narmandakh (Mongolia)
61 kg - Seth Gross or Daniel DeShazer (USA) vs. Narankhuu Narmandakh or Munkh Erdene Altansuvd (Mongolia)
65 kg - Yianni Diakomihalis or Evan Henderson (USA) vs. Tsogbadrakh Tseveensuren or Tulga Tumur Ochir (Mongolia)
70 kg - Tyler Berger or Alec Pantaleo (USA) vs. Temuulen Enkhtuya or Khanburged Gankhuyag (Mongolia)
74 kg - Jason Nolf or Vincenzo Joseph (USA) vs. Suldkhuu Olonbayar or Sunduijadamba Boldbaatar (Mongolia)
79 kg - Jordan Burroughs or Chance Marsteller (USA) vs. Dulguun Altanzul or Sumiyabazar Zandanbud (Mongolia)
86 kg - Zahid Valencia or Mark Hall (USA) vs. Bat Erdene Byambasuren or Tsogtgerel Munkhbaatar (Mongolia)
92 kg - Nathan Jackson or Jay Aiello (USA) vs. Gankhuyag Ganbaatar or Bymanbadorj Bat Erdene (Mongolia)
97 kg - Kyle Snyder or Kollin Moore (USA) vs. Orgilokh Dagvadorj or Batzul Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia)
125 kg - Hayden Zillmer or Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) vs. Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur or Batmagnai Enkhtuvshin (Mongolia)

Saturday, December 10, 3:00 p.m. CT – Mongolia vs. Georgia

Although Georgia was fifth at the 2022 Worlds, the lowest placer of those who qualified for World Cup, it will bring one of the strongest lineups to Coralville. There are Senior World Team members at almost every weight, and they match up well against both teams in Group A. Right off the bat, both Mongolia and Georgia have their 2022 World Team members in the first two bouts, but Mongolia has the edge with medalists. At 57 kg, 2022 World bronze medalist Zanabazar Zandanbud of Mongolia battles Beka Bujiashvili. At 61 kg, 2022 World bronze medalist Narankhuu Narmandakh of Mongolia faces Teimuraz Vanishvili. Narmandakh beat Vanishvili at the 2022 Worlds, 10-2. The 65 kg match features two stars, 2016 World silver medalist Beka Lomtadze of Georgia against 2021 World bronze medalist Tulga Tumur-Ochir of Mongolia. It feels like Mongolia needs to do well in these early matches to hang with Georgia’s firepower in the upper weights.

One of Georgia’s best, 2017 World champion and three-time World bronze medalist Zurabi Iakobishvili comes in at 70 kg, and is favored over 2017 U20 World bronze medalist Temuulen Enkhtuya. The 74 kg match is a toss up, with 2019 U23 World bronze medalist Giorgi Sulava of Georgia against Suidkhuu Olonbayar of Mongolia, who was eighth in the 2022 Worlds. The 79 kg match could also be close, with Georgia’s 2022 U23 World champion Giorgi Sulava against Suidkhuu Olonbayar of Mongolia, a 2014 U17 World finalist. These could be swing matches in the dual meet.

Georgia is talented in the next four weights and could be favored in them all. Both wrestlers at 86 kg are past U20 World bronze medalists, Tarzan Maisuradze of Georgia and Bat Erdene Byambasuren of Mongolia. At 92 kg, 2022 World bronze medalist Miriani Maisuradze, also a past U17 World champion, should have an edge over either Gankhuyag Ganbaatar or Bymanbadorj Bat Erdene, both who are past U23 World medalists. At 97 kg, 2022 World bronze medalist Givi Matcharashvili, who won World titles at the U23 and U17 levels, should be tough against Batzul Ulziisaikhan, who was fifth at the 2021 World Championships. If this goes down to heavyweight, it should be fun. Three-time World champion and Olympic silver medalist Geno Petriashvili of Georgia squares off with two-time World medalist Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur of Mongolia. Petriashvili beat Munkhtur 4-2 in the 2022 World semifinals.

Mongolia vs. Georgia
57 kg –Zanabazar Zandanbud or Nasanbuyan Narmandakh (Mongolia) vs. Beka Bujiashvili (Georgia)
61 kg –Narankhuu Narmandakh or Munkh Erdene Altansuvd (Mongolia) vs Teimuraz Vanishvili (Georgia)
65 kg - Tsogbadrakh Tseveensuren or Tulga Tumur Ochir (Mongolia) vs. Beka Lomadze (Georgia)
70 kg - Temuulen Enkhtuya or Khanburged Gankhuyag (Mongolia) vs. Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia)
74 kg - Suldkhuu Olonbayar or Sunduijadamba Boldbaatar (Mongolia) vs. Giorgi Sulava (Georgia)
79 kg - Dulguun Altanzul or Sumiyabazar Zandanbud (Mongolia) vs. Vladimeri Gamkrelidze (Georgia)
86 kg - Bat Erdene Byambasuren or Tsogtgerel Munkhbaatar (Mongolia) vs. Tarzan Maisuradze (Georgia)
92 kg - Gankhuyag Ganbaatar or Bymanbadorj Bat Erdene (Mongolia) vs. Miriani Maisuradze (Georgia)
97 kg - Orgilokh Dagvadorj or Batzul Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia) vs. Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia)
125 kg - Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur or Batmagnai Enkhtuvshin (Mongolia) vs. Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)

Saturday, December 10, 6:00 p.m. CT – USA vs. Georgia

This match could determine the winner of Group A, and there should be great matches up and down the lineup. Georgia is hoping to get some traction in the two lightest weights, when they put out their 2022 Senior World Team members Beka Bujiashvili at 57 kg and Teimuraz Vanishvili at 61 kg. Team USA will counter at 57 kg with either Zane Richards or Nick Suriano, both who are capable of winning with a strong performance. At 61 kg, 2022 World Team member and offense machine Seth Gross, who was fifth in the Worlds, should hold the edge over the Vanishvilli. The 65 kg match features a pair of World runners-up, 2022 World silver medalist Yianni Diakomihalis of the USA and 2016 World silver medalist Beka Lomtadze of Georgia. Lomtadze lost in the first round at the 2022 Worlds, so it is fair to say Diakomihalis is favored.

Georgia puts out one of its best wrestlers, 2017 World champion and four-time World medalist Zurabi Iakobishvili at 70 kg, who must wrestle either Tyler Berger or Alec Pantaleo, both who have competed well internationally. At 74 kg, Jason Nolf will square off with 2019 U23 World bronze medalist Giorgi Sulava. Nolf will have a chance to show off his immense skills, something fans are excited to see. Jordan Burroughs, with seven World and Olympic golds and 10 career medals, faces a young talent in 2022 U23 World champion Vladimeri Gamkrelidze. Burroughs is often at his best at the World Cup, an event which he has always shined at.

Georgia’s strength is in the upper weights, but the USA is also very capable up top. At 86 kg, U20 World silver medalist Zahid Valencia faces U20 World bronze medalist Tarzan Maisuradze. Valencia was a 2022 Pan American champion with great freestyle skills. Georgia has a 2022 World medalist at 92 kg with Miriani Maisuradze, who has an experience edge over 2021 Pan American champion Nate Jackson. Olympic champion and three-time World champion Kyle Snyder will be favored over 2022 World bronze medalist Givi Matcharashvili, who Snyder has beaten twice by technical fall. Georgia hopes to be within striking distance at heavyweight, where three-time World champion and two-time Olympic medalist Geno Petriashvili is their anchor. Most recently, he beat Hayden Zillmer in the 2022 Worlds, 9-4. This dual meet should be very entertaining.

United States vs. Georgia
57 kg - Zane Richards or Nick Suriano (USA) vs. Beka Bujiashvili (Georgia)
61 kg - Seth Gross or Daniel DeShazer (USA) vs.Teimuraz Vanishvili (Georgia)
65 kg - Yianni Diakomihalis or Evan Henderson (USA) vs. Beka Lomadze (Georgia)
70 kg - Tyler Berger or Alec Pantaleo (USA) vs. Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia)
74 kg - Jason Nolf or Vincenzo Joseph (USA) vs. Giorgi Sulava (Georgia)
79 kg - Jordan Burroughs or Chance Marsteller (USA) vs. Vladimeri Gamkrelidze (Georgia)
86 kg - Zahid Valencia or Mark Hall (USA) vs. Tarzan Maisuradze (Georgia)
92 kg - Nathan Jackson or Jay Aiello (USA) vs. Miriani Maisuradze (Georgia)
97 kg - Kyle Snyder or Kollin Moore (USA) vs. Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia)
125 kg - Hayden Zillmer or Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) vs. Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)

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