Ildar Hafizov runs with the American Flag after winning the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
Tony Rotundo / Wrestlers Are Warriors

Ildar Hafizov runs with the American Flag after winning the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.


Bey, Hafizov battle to Greco-Roman gold, Miracle bags freestyle bronze at Pan American Games

by Richard Immel

SANTIAGO, Chile – The Team USA wrestling momentum extended in a big way on day three of the Pan American Games at Centro de Entrenamiento Olímpico—Soldier athletes Kamal Bey and Ildar Hafizov kicked off the Greco-Roman tournament with a pair of gold medals, and Kayla Miracle battled to a bronze medal in women’s freestyle.

Army WCAP teammates Bey, Hafizov grab gold to launch Greco-Roman

The Army WCAP tandem of Bey and Hafizov set the tone for the rest of the Greco-Roman group. In an interesting juxtaposition, Hafizov exploded to an early lead and held on for a close win in the finals, while Bey did the exact opposite, falling in a hole early before letting his offensive arsenal loose in a winning effort.

Hafizov, a two-time Olympian and past Pan American Games bronze medalist, faced Cuban newcomer Kevin De Armas Rodriguez in the 60 kg final. Hafizov separated himself early with a set of high gut-wrench attacks from the par terre position to go up 7-0. De Armas Rodriguez pulled himself back into the match with a four-point arm throw just before intermission. In the second frame, Hafizov was dinged for passivity, but held his ground thereafter to finish the match with a 7-5 decision.

Earlier in the day, Hafizov made his way to the 60 kg finals with a quarterfinal forfeit from Samuel Gurria Vigueras of Mexico and an 8-0 technical fall over 2023 Pan American silver medalist Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez of Ecuador. Scoring from the front headlock position was the key to his semifinal win.

The 77 kg final was quite the spectacle for fans watching in venue and around the globe. Out of the gates, Bey fell into a five-nothing hole against five-time Pan American medalist Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior of Brazil. After giving up a four-point lift from forced par terre, Bey went to work with his dynamic over/under body locks and controlled the rest of the match. His relentless pressure eventually forced De Brito Ramos Junior into an errant throw attempt, which Bey capitalized on for a pin at the 5:35 mark.  

The U20 World champion and three-time U.S. World Team member was impressive in his three earlier bouts—technical falls against Guatemala’s David Choc Huoc and Chile’s Eduardo Bernal Molina, and a come-from-behind decision over 2020 Olympian and five-time Pan American medalist Yosvanys Pena Flores of Cuba.

The win in Santiago solidified Bey as the top Greco-Roman competitor at 77 kg in the Western Hemisphere as he backed up his Pan American Championships title from last May.

2023 Pan American Games Day Three Finals

21 photos

Miracle rebounds for bronze medal, Chavez finishes in fifth place

The Tokyo Olympian Miracle bounced back with a hard-fought 10-3 victory over Nathaly Griman Herrera of Venezuela, clinching the bronze medal at 62 kg for the U.S. women. She opened the bout with a salty lateral drop on the edge of the mat to set the tone and rode the momentum to the finish. Miracle has collected back-to-back medals at the Pan American Games, adding today’s bronze to her gold from 2021 in Lima, Peru.

Miracle, a two-time World finalist, finished with a 2-1 record on the day in perhaps the deepest weight class in the women’s division. She opened with a second period fall over Ecuador’s Leonela Ayovi Parraga before stumbling against familiar foe and eventual champion Lais Nunes De Oliveira of Brazil, 6-2.

It wasn’t a lack of effort that hampered youngster Samara Chavez against scrappy Venezuelan Betzabeth Arguello Villegas in the 53 kg bronze medal match. Simply put, her positioning appeared slightly off throughout the key exchanges in the match, and it cost her.

Chavez, a two-time college All-American for King University, pressed forward with multiple attacks, but was countered to her back on separate occasions. She did collect two points by rolling through a headlock, but that’s all she could muster. Arguello Villegas would up with a 12-2 technical fall to claim the bronze.

2021 U20 World champion and three-time age-group World medalist Kylie Welker did not advance to the Friday night medal rounds. She dropped her opening match at 76 kg to Ecuador’s Genesis Reasco Valdez, 9-7, in a back-and-forth contest. Reasco Valdez fell in her next match, which eliminated Welker from the tournament.

The U.S. women ended its time in Chile with medals in two of the six contested weight classes—Miracle’s bronze from today paired alongside Forrest Molinari’s gold medal from Thursday. Cuba stood atop the medal tracker with five women’s freestyle medals, including two champions. Venezuela and Ecuador were next in line with four medals to their credit. Brazil tied with Cuba for the most champions at two.

Up next in Santiago

The Pan American Games resume at 9 a.m. (ET) on Saturday with the preliminary rounds for the remaining Greco-Roman weights (67-87-97-130 kg). The U.S. will only compete in three weights tomorrow since it didn’t qualify for the event at 67 kg. Zac Braunagel, Joe Rau and Cohlton Schultz are the Saturday crew for Team USA.

The Panam Sports Channel is broadcasting the event live at Brackets and updated results from this event can be found at

2023 Pan American Games, At Santiago, Chile, Nov. 3

Women’s freestyle results

53 kg

Gold – Lucia Yepez Guzman (Ecuador)

Silver – Laura Herin Avila (Cuba)

Bronze – Betzabeth Arguello Villegas (Venezuela)

Bronze – Antonia Valdes Arriagada (Chile)

5th – Samara Chavez (United States)

5th – Thalia Mallqui Peche (Peru)

7th – Karla Acosta Martinez (Mexico)

8th – Maria Gonzalez De La Rosa (Dominican Republic)

9th – Kathia Caballero Pineda (Panama)

Gold – Lucia Yepez Guzman (Ecuador) dec. Laura Herin Avila (Cuba), 6-0

Bronze – Betzabeth Arguello Villegas (Venezuela) tech. fall Samara Chavez (United States), 12-2

Bronze – Antonia Valdes Arriagada (Chile) dec. Thalia Mallqui Peche (Peru), 4-2

62 kg

Gold – Lais Nunes De Oliveira (Brazil)

Silver – Maria Santana Garcia (Cuba)

Bronze – Kayla Miracle (United States)

Bronze – Katherine Renteria Cuero (Colombia)

5th – Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela)

5th – Javiera Roco Pardo (Chile)

7th – Alexis Gomez (Mexico)

8th – Leonela Ayovi Parraga (Ecuador)

Gold – Lais Nunes De Oliveira (Brazil) fall Maria Santana Garcia (Cuba), 1:30

Bronze – Kayla Miracle (United States) dec. Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela), 10-3

Bronze – Katherine Renteria Cuero (Colombia) tech. fall Javiera Roco Pardo (Chile), 10-0

76 kg

Gold – Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba)

Silver – Tatiana Renteria (Colombia)

Bronze – Genesis Reasco Valdez (Ecuador)

Bronze – Maria Acosta (Venezuela)

5th – Atzimba Landaverde Moreno (Mexico)

5th – Shauna Kuebeck (Canada)

7th – Kylie Welker (United States)

8th – Linda Machuca (Argentina)

9th – Mahealani Ramirez Nobre (Uruguay)

10th – Emelyn Bautista Corcino (Dominican Republic)

Gold – Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba) dec. Tatiana Renteria (Colombia), 5-4

Bronze – Genesis Reasco Valdez (Ecuador) fall Atzimba Landaverde Moreno (Mexico), 1:09

Bronze – Maria Acosta (Venezuela) fall Shauna Kuebeck (Canada), 3:57

Greco-Roman results

60 kg

Gold – Ildar Hafizov (United States)

Silver – Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (Cuba)

Bronze – Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (Ecuador)

Bronze – Raiber Rodriguez Orozco (Venezuela)

5th – Samuel Gurria Vigueras (Mexico)

5th – Cristobal Torres Nunez (Chile)

7th – Dicther Toro Castaneda (Colombia)

8th – Yerony Liria Carreras (Dominican Republic)

9th – Samuel Mesropian (Argentina)

Gold – Ildar Hafizov (United States) dec. Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (Cuba), 7-5

Bronze – Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (Ecuador) forfeit Samuel Gurria Vigueras (Mexico)

Bronze – Raiber Rodriguez Orozco (Venezuela) dec. Cristobal Torres Nunez (Chile), 7-1

77 kg

Gold – Kamal Bey (United States)

Silver – Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil)

Bronze – Yosvanys Pena Flores (Cuba)

Bronze – Emmanuel Benitez Castro (Mexico)

5th – Eduardo Bernal Molina (Chile)

5th – Wuileixix Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela)

7th – Jair Cuero Munoz (Colombia)

8th – Jonathan Viruet (Puerto Rico)

9th – David Choc Huoc (Guatemala)

10th – Adrian Maynard (Barbados)

Gold – Kamal Bey (United States) fall Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil), 5:35

Bronze – Yosvanys Pena Flores (Cuba) tech. fall Eduardo Bernal Molina (Chile), 9-0

Bronze – Emmanuel Benitez Castro (Mexico) dec. Wuileixix Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela), 5-3

U.S. women’s freestyle results

53 kg – Samara Chavez (Arlington, Texas/Team Tornado WC), 5th

LOSS Laura Herin Avila (Cuba), fall, 1:38

LOSS Betzabeth Arguello Villegas (Venezuela), tech. fall, 12-2

62 kg – Kayla Miracle (Tempe, Arizona/Sunkist Kids WC), Bronze

WIN Leonela Ayovi Parraga (Ecuador), fall, 4:02

LOSS Lais Nunes De Oliveira (Brazil), 6-2

WIN Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela), 10-3

76 kg – Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisconsin/Titan Mercury WC/Iowa Women’s WC), 7th

LOSS Genesis Reasco Valdez (Ecuador), 9-7

U.S. Greco-Roman results

60 kg – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army WCAP), Gold

WIN Samuel Gurria Vigueras (Mexico), Forfeit

WIN Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (Ecuador), tech. fall, 8-0

WIN Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (Cuba), 7-5

77 kg – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army WCAP), Gold

WIN David Choc Huoc (Guatemala), tech. fall, 9-1

WIN Yosvanys Pena Flores (Cuba), 4-3

WIN Eduardo Bernal Molina (Chile), tech. fall, 9-0

WIN Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil), fall, 5:35