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Snyder’s last-second heroics put him into World finals against Sadualev; Green eliminated at Senior Worlds in Norway

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Kyle Snyder (USA) scores last second takedown to defeat Mojtaba Goliej of Iran in World semifinals. Photo by Justin Hoch

OSLO, Norway - 2016 Olympic champion and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Kyle Snyder pulled off some last-second heroics during the semifinals at the 2021 Senior World Championships on Monday night, punching his ticket for a rematch against Russian superstar Abdulrashid Sadulaev in Tuesday’s gold-medal finals at 97 kg.

Snyder was trailing 2-1 to 2019 U23 World champion Mojtaba Goleij of Iran with less than 10 seconds on the clock when his tenacious attack paid big dividends. He scored a takedown with less than four seconds to go for a 3-2 victory.

The wrestlers traded points on the inactivity clock, Snyder being penalized in the first period and Goleij early in the second period to make it 1-1, with Snyder holding After Snyder was able to defend from getting a step out on the edge after a powerful Goleij attack, referees put Snyder back on the activity clock. Snyder got close to scoring, but Goleij survived the 30-second attack to take the 2-1 lead. With Iranian fans chanting loud in the background, Snyder still had one powerful move left that led to the winning score.

A match between Kyle Snyder and Abdulrashid Sadulaev has become a classic rivalry within the sport. Snyder beat Sadulaev in the 2017 World finals, while Sadualaev scored a stunning pin in the 2018 World finals. Sadulaev was able to defeat Snyder in the finals of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo just a few months ago. Fans will get the chance to see this showdown one more time in Oslo.

There is a tight team race between Iran, the United States and Russia, so the Snyder-Sadulaev final could be important in determining what the final team placements will be.

In addition to his two Olympic medals, Snyder is also a 2015 and 2017 World champion, as well as 2018 World silver medalist and 2019 World bronze medalist.

At 70 kg, two-time World medalist James Green was eliminated after No. 2 seed and 2021 European silver medalist Turan Bayramov of Azerbaijan was defeated in semifinals by Magomedmurad Gadzhiev of Poland. Bayramov had beaten Green 6-5 in the quarterfinals on Monday morning. Only those who lose to a finalist are eligible for repechage.

Snyder will go for his gold medal on Tuesday night during the finals which begin at 6:00 p.m. local time. Oslo is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone.


At Oslo, Norway, October 4

Group Three men’s freestyle finals pairings

70 kg - Ernazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan) vs. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland)

97 kg - Kyle Snyder (USA) vs. Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)

Group Three men’s freestyle semifinal results

70 kg

Ernazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan) dec. Evgenii Zherbaevâ (Russian Wrestling Federation), 9-5

Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland) dec. Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 4-2

97 kg

Kyle Snyder (United States) dec. Mojtaba Goleij (Iran), 3-2

Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russian Wrestling Federation) tech fall Mahamed Zakariiev (Ukraine), 11-0, 5:27

U.S. men’s freestyle Group Three results

70 kg – James Green (Blacksburg, Va./Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Seungchul Lee (Korea), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Shamil Ustaev (Germany), tech. fall 10-0

LOSS Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 6-5

97 kg – No. 2 seed Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Batzul Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia), tech. fall 14-4

WIN Magomedgadji Nurov (North Macedonia), tech. fall 11-0

WIN Mojtaba Goleij (Iran), 3-2

Gold medal match – vs. Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)