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2010 FILA World Championships preview freestyle

On Monday Sept. 6, the 2010 FILA World Wrestling Championships will kick off. International wrestling has been one of the many proving grounds for future MMA prospects. Several fighters have competed in this tournament during their wrestling careers including Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal who took seventh in 2005 and Daniel Cormier who won a bronze medal in 2007. Stay close to for updates and coverage on the seven-day event.

55 kg/121 lbs

In this wide-open weight class, several wrestlers have a shot at the gold. Russia’s Victor Lebedev won a bronze medal at last year’s tournament. This year, he won the Russian Nationals and took another bronze at the European Championships. Returning world champion Kyong-II Yang of North Korea recently placed third at the Asian Championships.

U.S. Entry
Obe Blanc represents the lone Oklahoma State alumnus on this world team. He defeated 2010 NCAA runner-up Angel Escobedo in the finals of both the U.S. Open and the World Team Trials. However, since the event Escobedo has been the one who is shining. At the Heydar Aliyev Golden Gran Prix, Escobedo eliminated Blanc in the second round and went on take bronze.

MMA Connection
The 2008 Olympic gold medalist at this weight, Henry Cejudo hasn’t competed since winning his medal. However, during his time away from wrestling, he has trained with Ultimate Fitness and American Top Team. He plans on wrestling in the 2012 Olympics, and eventually beginning an MMA career.

60 kg/132 lbs

Since taking gold at the 2007 World Championships and bronze at the 2008 Olympics, Besik Kudukhov has moved up from 55 kg to 60 kg. At the new weight, he has continued to succeed. At last years Worlds, he took gold. He is the clear gold-medal favorite in this weight class.

U.S. Entry
Last year, Mike Zadick defeated Shawn Bunch at the national tournament, but Bunch returned and won the World Team Trials. This year, the same scenario played out in reverse. Bunch took the U.S. Open title, but Zadick defeated Bunch in two-straight matches at the trials to earn a spot on the team. Also this year, Zadick took the title at the Dave Schultz memorial and took a bronze at the Cerro Pelado in Cuba.

MMA Connection
Zadick’s chief rival, Bunch is a full-fledged member of Team Thirsty. He has trained in MMA, and is almost certainly headed to MMA when his wrestling career is finished.

66 kg/145.5 lbs

Iran’s Mehdi Taghavi will be looking to repeat as the world champion. However, pushing him will be Jabrayli Hasanov of Azerbaijan. Hasanov won the European Championships this year and took two-straight matches over American Brent Metcalf.

U.S. Entry
Metcalf finished out his Iowa Hawkeye wrestling career by going 36-1 in his senior season and capturing his second NCAA title. His success has continued on the next level. At the trials, Metcalf made his way to the finals by defeating his former coach and 2008 Olympian Doug Schawb. He then outlasted Jared Frayer in a grueling best-of-three series.

MMA Connection
Metcalf’s only loss during his senior season came against Ohio State’s Lance Palmer in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeye got his revenge in the NCAA final. Palmer has signed on with Team Alpha Male and will pursue an MMA career. Will Metcalf be the next to crossover? It is possible. When asked about training submission wrestling, Metcalf said, “I don’t do that stuff, because next thing you know you’re getting choked out and you don’t even know what’s going on.”

74 kg/163 lbs

Russia’s Denis Tsargush needs to be considered the favorite here. Last year’s world champion at this weight is back. This season he has competed extremely well taking titles at both the Russian Nationals and European Championships. Chamsulvara Chamsulvarayev of Azerbaijan could push Tsargush after picking up a silver at last year’s World Championships and a bronze at this year’s European Championships.

U.S. Entry
Travis Paulson had to defeat both Ben Askren and his twin brother Trent to win a spot on this world team. He represents one of the country’s best chances to medal. Paulson recently finished second at the Heydar Aliyev Golden Grand Prix, which is considered one of the precursors to the World Championships.

MMA Connection
After losing to Paulson in the World Team Trials, Bellator tournament champion Ben Askren announced that he was done wrestling for now. He will face Lyman Good for the Bellator welterweight championship late this year.

84 kg/185 lbs

Uzbekistan’s Zaurbek Sokhiev defeated American Jake Herbert in the finals of last year’s tournament. Although he has not competed regularly this season, he is a three-time world medalist and will be looking to repeat as champion.

U.S. Entry
It would not be a stretch to call Herbert the favorite at 84 kg. While wrestling as a collegiate at Northwestern, Herbert went 149-4. During his junior and senior seasons, he went undefeated and captured NCAA titles. In 2009, the wrestler took a world silver medal and was named the USA Wrestling “Freestyle Wrestler of the Year.”

MMA Connection
Herbert’s collegiate teammate, Ryan Lang has already begun an MMA career. He is currently 4-0 with his most recent victory coming against Noe Quintanilla by submission in June.

96 kg/211.5 lbs

The 2004 Olympic gold medalist is still the man to beat at 96 kg. Khadjimourat Gatsalov of Russia is not only an Olympic gold medalist, but also a four-time World Champion and a three-time European champion. At last year’s tournament, he defeated 2010 European Champion Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan in the finals.

U.S. Entry
J.D Bergman graduated from Ohio State in 2008 as a three-time All-American. His coming out party for the senior level was the wrestle offs for the 2010 World Cup. Bergman defeated Bryce Hasseman and Olympian Andy Hrovat to earn a spot on the team. Since then, he won gold medals at the Cerro Pelado and Ion Corneanu tournaments. To win the World Team Trials, Bergman bested undefeated 2010 NCAA champion Jake Varner.

MMA Connection
Hrovat finished third at the World Team Trials and failed to make the world team. Of course, Hrovat is the wrestler who defeat Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in the finals of the 2008 Olympic Trials and prevented Lawal from going to the Olympics.

120 kg/264.5 lbs

Bilal Makhov is the type of Russian beast that comes to mind when people talk about high-level international wrestling. Makhov picked up world titles in 2007 and 2009. This year, he has dominated the competition once again and won the European Championships.

U.S. Entry
After winning a bronze at the 2009 World Championships Tervel Dlagnev looked like the new top dog in the heavyweight division. However, this season Les Sigman his risen to the top. He holds three-straight victories over Dlagnev and other wins over 2008 Olympian Steve Mocco. Sigman took the title at the Dave Schultz memorial and was named “Outstanding Wrestler.”

MMA Connection
Despite Brock Lesnar’s indication that Division II wrestlers are inferior, both Dlagnev and Sigman wrestled for Division II schools during their collegiate years. Sigman was a four-time champion for Nebraska-Omaha, and Dlagnev won two NCAA titles at Nebraska-Kearney.


  1. “Henry Cejudo has competed since winning his medal”

    Not sure, but are you trying to say he hasn’t competed since then?…

    Part of me really dislikes guys like Hendricks, Roller, and Rosholt going straight into MMA out of college. The US continues to get destroyed on the world stage, and it only seems to be getting worse. Hendricks IMO could’ve been a beast on the international scene.

    Maybe we finally need to change the scoring in highschool and college…

  2. “Hrovat finished third at the World Team Trials and failed to make the world team. Of course, Hrovat is the wrestler who defeat Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in the finals of the 2008 Olympic Trials and prevented Lawal from going to the Olympics.”

    I guess a win is a win, and if you beat someone you deserve their spot… But Mo would’ve been so much better than Hrovat at the Olympics. Sounds like Bergman is for real.

  3. it says “hasn’t.” I never make typos… just kidding. Thanks.

    1. You can’t really say Roller went right into MMA. He graduated in 2002.
    2. Both Hendricks and Rosholt were married and had to provide for their families. Wrestling for USA Wrestling would not have brought in nearly enough money.
    3. You hit on an interesting point. In Russia they select their wrestlers. Whoever wins the national tournament does not necessarily get the spot. I think the U.S. needs that. Back in 2008, Lawal finished 2nd at the Golden Grand Prix, which is huge. Hrovat had a tough style for Lawal, but Lawal had a better chance to medal.

  4. Ah did not know that about Roller. Also I can’t fault anyone for providing for family so it is what it is. I just hate that the US has become second rate in wrestling on the world level.

    Also I did not know that at all about Russia. I think that is a great system. That way you wouldn’t have the possiblity of a guy like Buvaisar Saitiev getting upset in your own tourney…

    Again great article.

  5. where can I see all the tornament …..

  6. You will need to learn Russian to navigate their website. However, a lot of the matches are on

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