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USA Grappling wins nine medals, led by double champion Tara White, in its first year as UWW Grappling organization

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

2021 U.S. Senior Grappling World Team poses together in Serbia. Photo courtesy of Blair Green, USA Grappling.

USA Grappling, a new non-profit focused on the growth and development of Grappling in the United States, led its first Senior World Team at the United World Wrestling Senior Grappling Championships, held in Belgrade, Serbia, October 28-31.

The United States came home from the World Championships with nine medals, including gold medals in both Gi and No-Gi by Tara White.

USA Wrestling has agreed to support USA Grappling as the organization in the United States which manages all Grappling programs affiliated with United World Wrestling. USA Wrestling, which manages U.S. programs in Olympic wrestling and numerous other associated wrestling styles, had organized the UWW Grappling programs through 2000.

White, competing in her first UWW Grappling Worlds, claimed the 90 kg title in both Gi and No-Gi. In Gi, she won three straight matches, including a victory in the gold-medal finals over Claire Thevenon of France, 4-0. In No-Gi, White also had three victories, including an 8-2 decision over Magdelena Zaszczudlowicz of Poland in the finals.

White became only the sixth U.S. woman to win a UWW Gi gold medal, and only the 11th U.S. woman to win a No-Gi gold medal at the UWW Grappling Worlds.

Winning a pair of medals was John Hansen, who claimed a silver medal in No-Gi and a bronze medal in Gi at 130 kg. Hansen has now won three career UWW Grappling medals, after winning a Gi gold medal in 2019, the last year that this event was held.

Lisa Ellis won a 10th career UWW Grappling World medal, the most of any American, by capturing a bronze medal at 53 kg in No-Gi Grappling. Ellis claimed her medal with a 39-second submission in the bronze-medal bout over Ana Nair Marques Dias of Portugal. Ellis also has won the most No-Gi medals of any American, with eight.

Three other U.S. athletes secured No-Gi men’s bronze medals, captured by Cole Morrison (71 kg), Kevin Crane (84 kg) and Paul Ardila Ibarra (92 kg). Morrison beat Rustam Makhamad of Belarus, 4-1 in his bronze bout, while Ibarra stopped Abu Gudanatov of the Russian Wrestling Federation, 3-3 for his bronze. Crane won his bronze-medal bout by forfeit. These were their first career UWW Grappling World medals.

Also included in the medal haul was a Gi World bronze medal at 62 kg by Eric Medina. He defeated
Vladislav Mukhortov of Kazakhstan, 4-2 in the bronze-medal bout, to come home with his first UWW Grappling World medal.

The event was dominated by the Russian Wrestling Federation, which captured a total of 15 gold medals combined in both styles and genders.

Those interested in becoming members of USA Grappling and participating in its events and programs should visit their official website at:

At Belgrade, Serbia, October 28-31

No-Gi Grappling champions

62 kg – Magomed Shakhbanov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
66 kg – Kurban Gasanov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
71 kg – Gadzhimurad Alibekov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
77 kg – Mahomed Szharbaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)
84 kg – Zaireden Mukhambetzhanov (Kazakhstan)
92 kg – Mukhamed Urusov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
100 kg – Isa Umarov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
130 kg – Magomekamil Guseinov (Russian Wrestling Federation)

53 kg – Naiomi Matthews Martin (Spain)
58 kg – Andrianna Wojarska (Poland)
64 kg – Ekaterina Plitkina (Russian Wrestling Federation)
71 kg – Klaudia Mitko (Poland)
90 kg – Tara White (USA)

U.S. No-Gi Grappling performances

USA Men's performances

62 kg – Eric Medina, 9th place
WIN Jerzy Izdebski (Poland), 5-3
LOSS Magomedbek Temeev (Russian Wrestling Federation), 12-0

62 kg – Juan Carlos Cholula, dnp/16th
LOSS Mayis Nersesyan (Armenia), 7-0

66 kg – Luis Quinones, 5th place
WIN Danill Ilinski (Ukraine), forfeit
LOSS Kurban Gasanov (Russian Wrestling Federation), 2-0

66 kg – Anthony Steiebach, dnp/12th
LOSS Yurii Cherkaliuk (Ukraine), 2-2

71 kg – Cole Morrison, bronze medal
WIN Alessio Sacchetti (Italy), 2-1
WIN Abdyldabek Kekenov (Kyrgyzstan), 10-5
LOSS Alli Gaziev (Russian Wrestling Federation), 8-1
WIN Rustam Makhamad (Belarus), 4-1

77 kg – Forrest Fraijo, dnp/11th
LOSS Bekzat Baimuratov (Kazakhstan), 9-3

84 kg – Kevin Crane, bronze medal
WIN Konstantinos Chioutakos (Greece), 9-0
WIN Aleksandr Djukanovic (Serbia), 9-1
LOSS Zaireden Mukhambetzhanov (Kazakhstan), 2-1
WIN by forfeit

92 kg – Paul Ardila Ibarra, bronze medal
WIN Manuel Pilato (Italy), 9-2
WIN Mykhailo Muzychenko (Ukraine), 12-3
LOSS Mukhamed Urusov (Russian Wrestling Federation), 3-2
WIN Abu Gudanatov (Russian Wrestling Federation), 3-3

92 kg – Jeff Anderson, 10th place
LOSS Murtazali Murtazaliev (Kyrgyzstan), 10-6

100 kg – Koffig Adzitso, dnp/12th
LOSS Ivan Malin (Ukraine), 8-1

130 kg – John Hansen, bronze medal
WIN Ivan Snihur (Ukraine), 13-2
WIN Ionnis Kargiotakis (Greece), 18-4
LOSS Magomekamil Guseinov (Russian Wrestling Federation), 6-6
WIN Andrzej Iwat (Poland), 6-3

130 kg – Travis Clark, 7th place
WIN Talgat Zhiyentayev (Kazakhstan), submission 1:30
LOSS Andrzej Iwat (Poland), submission 0:58

U.S. women’s performances

53 kg – Lisa Ellis, bronze medal
LOSS Kristina Zhurabekova (Kazakhstan), 6-3
WIN Ana Nair Marques Dias (Portugal), submission 0:39

58 kg – Breanna Stikkelman, 5th place
WIN Aizhan Ismagulova (Kazakhstan), WBO 0:54
WIN Melissa Benediti (Italy), submission 4:19
LOSS Viktoriia Serhiienko-Syniavina (Ukraine), 5-4
LOSS Olesia Zhuravleva (Russian Wrestling Federation), 9-8

90 kg – Tara White, gold medal
WIN Alena Vlasova (Russian Wrestling Federation), 8-1
WIN Claudia Fornes Carbonne (Spain), 9-0
WIN Magdelena Zaszczudlowicz (Poland), 8-2

90 kg – Christina Hansen, 5th place
LOSS Magdelena Zaszczudlowicz (Poland), 2-2
LOSS Angelina Leonidova (Russian Wrestling Federation), 2-0

Gi Grappling champions

62 kg – Magomedbek Temeev (Russian Wrestling Federation)
66 kg – Islam Bochkaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)
71 kg – Kurban Kadiev (Russian Wrestling Federation)
77 kg – Fernando Medina Werner (Spain)
84 kg – Umar Isupov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
92 kg – Abu Gudanatov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
100 kg – Abdurakhman Bilarov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
130 kg – Andrzej Iwat (Poland)

53 kg – Naiomi Matthews Martin (Spain)
58 kg – Adrianna Wojarska (Poland)
64 kg – Renata Iakubova (Russian Wrestling Federation)
71 kg – Klauda Mitko (Poland)
90 kg – Tara White (USA)

U.S. Gi Grappling performances


62 kg – Eric Medina, bronze medal
WIN Jerzy Izgebski (Poland), 2-1
LOSS Magomedbek Temeev (Russian Wrestling Federation), 11-4
WIN Vladislav Mukhortov (Kazakhstan), 4-2

62 kg – Juan Carlos Cholula, dnp/14th
LOSS Mayis Nersesyan (Armenia), submission 2:12

66 kg – Luis Quinones, dnp/12th
LOSS Marius Florin Spac (Romania), 9-3

71 kg – Cole Morrison, dnp/18th
LOSS Alessio Sacchetti (Italy), 4-0

84 kg – Kevin Crane, 10th place
LOSS Umar Isupov (Russian Wrestling Federation), 8-1
LOSS Vasile Cublesan (Romania), 8-2

92 kg – Jeff Anderson, dnp/13th place
LOSS Abu Gudanatov (Russian Wrestling Federation)
LOSS Martin Barthel (Germany), submission 1:24

130 kg – John Hansen, silver medal
WIN Yaroslav Strilets (Ukraine), 7-2
WIN Ivan Snihur (Ukraine), submission 1:32
WIN Shamil Magomedov (Russian Wrestling Federation), submission 3:08
LOSS Andrezj Iwat (Poland), submission 0:59

130 kg – Travis Clark, 7th place
WIN Luc-Pierre Rousseau (France), 2-2
LOSS Saulet Abussalikhov (Kazakhstan), 11-2


53 kg – Lisa Ellis
LOSS P Krupskaia (Russian Wrestling Federation), forfeit

58 kg – Breanna Stikkelman, dnp/11th
LOSS Minerva Montero Perez (Spain), 3-2

90 kg – Tara White, gold medal
WIN Alena Vlasov (Russian Wrestling Federation), 6-2
WIN Magdalena Zaszczudlowicz (Poland), 5-0
WIN Claire Thevenon (France), 4-0

90 kg – Christina Hansen, 9th place
LOSS Magdalena Zaszczudlowicz (Poland), submission 2:56

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