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Pantaleo and Green set to square off in rematch in 70 kg finals, Valencia goes for gold at 86 kg and Moore wrestles for bronze at 97 kg in the Poland Open

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

The American men’s freestylers looked sharp in the opening round of the Poland Open. Four Americans competed this morning, with three making the finals and one battling back to compete for bronze.

While six weight classes are being contested today, The U.S. only had representatives at 70 kg, 86 kg and 97 kg.

70 kg features an all-U.S. final between James Green and Alec Pantaleo. The pair finished first and second in their round robin, both defeating Oleksii Boruta of Ukraine, a two-time U23 World Championships fifth-place finisher. Pantaleo dismantled the Ukrainian, 10-0, in a little over a minute, while Green had a tougher go of it, winning 2-1 with all three points coming from passivity calls.

Green bested Pantaleo, 8-0, when the pair met, scoring a big four-point throw late in the second period to widen the gap. Both Americans faced impressive competition in the semifinals. Green took out Georgia’s Zurabi Iakobishvili, a 2017 World champion at 65 kg and a 2018 World bronze medalist at 70 kg, 4-0. Green scored all of his points in the first period, earning a takedown off a counter and following it up with another takedown off a shot of his own.

On the other side of the bracket, Pantaleo defeated three-time World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Haji Aliyev 6-6. Aliyev, who will represent Azerbaijan at 65 kg in the upcoming Olympics, came storming back late in the match, earning a takedown and a gut wrench to level the score at 6-6. However, Pantaleo held criteria due to a beautiful four-point feet-to-back lift in the first period.

At 86 kg, Zahid Valencia squares off in the finals against 2015 World bronze medalist and 2021 European Championships silver medalist Sandro Aminashvili of Georgia. Valencia opened his tournament with a win over Poland’s Sebastian Jezierzanski, 6-5. Jezierzanski was a 2018 World Team member and a 2021 European Championships fifth-place finisher. In the quarterfinals, Valencia received an injury default over 2019 World silver medalist Deepak Punia of India.

To punch his ticket to the finals, Valencia downed San Marino Olympian Myles Amine, 7-1. Amine, who finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships, is a four-time All-American for Michigan and trains with the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club. The pair met six times in their collegiate careers competing at 174 pounds, with Valencia winning all six matchups.

Leading 1-0 in the first period, Valencia fended off a deep high crotch attempt by Amine, countering for a takedown and quickly locking up a leg lace for a turn to take a commanding 5-0 lead, which Amine was unable to overcome.

Kollin Moore will wrestle for bronze at 97 kg. He dropped his opening match to Iran’s Mohammad Hossein Mohammadian, 11-0. Mohammadian, a 2014 World bronze medalist and 2019 World Military Games champion who won the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier to earn Iran’s berth to the Tokyo Games, made the finals, pulling Moore into repechage. He won his first match against Kazakhstan’s Serik Bakytkhanov, a 2018 Junior World bronze medalist and 2019 U23 fifth-place finisher, 8-2.

Moore will see another Iranian in the bronze medal match, Alireza Mohammad Karimimachiani, a three-time Senior World medalist including a 2019 World silver at 92 kg.

Action resumes at 12:00 p.m. EST and will be streamed live on FloWrestling.

2021 Poland Open

Warsaw, Poland

U.S. Men’s Freestyle Results

70 kg: James Green (SERTC/TMWC)
WIN – Alec Pantaleo (United States), 8-0
WIN – Oleksii Boruta (Ukraine), 2-1
WIN – Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia), 4-0
vs. Alec Pantaleo (United States)

70 kg: Alec Pantaleo (Cliff Keen WC/TMWC)
WIN –  Oleksii Boruta (Ukraine),
LOSS – James Green (United States), 8-0
WIN – Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan), 6-6
vs. James Green (United States)

86 kg: Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids)
WIN – Sebastian Jezierzanski (Poland), 6-5
WIN – Deepk Punia (India), INJ DEF
WIN – Myles Amine (San Marino), 7-1
vs. Sandro Aminashvili (Georgia)

97 kg: Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC/TMWC)
LOSS –  Mohammad Hossein Askari Mohammadian (Iran), 11-0
WIN –  Serik Bakytkhanov (Kazakhstan), 8-2
vs. Alireza Mohammad Karimimachiani (Iran)