I texted Tommy my predictions earlier in the week. Sadly, they were split second decisions while riding in a car. Now that the Freestyle Brackets have been released, I'd like a moment to elaborate on my official predictions.
57 KG, Joe Colon
Since entering the freestyle scene, Joe Colon has been a total monster. To my recollection, he has beaten up just about anyone not named Tony Ramos or Nick Simmons, both of which aren't wrestling in this tournament. With that being said, this is a very tough bracket. Junior Bronze Medalist Micic, Olympic Bronze Medalist Coleman Scott dropping down, Olympian Sam Hazewinkle, NCAA Champions and other World Team Members strewn through the competitive landscape, it's going to be tough, but ultimately I see him taking out Coleman Scott in the finals.
65KG, Kellen Russell
With Jordan Oliver not participating as I thought, it really changes things. Ultimately Russell is on the same side of the bracket as Aaron Pico and Logan Stieber, but I believe he can beat Pico and that he will come out ahead of Stieber after dropping their most recent bout. Don't forget, that Russell one the two previous bouts with Stieber, one by tech fall. On the other side of the bracket there is Frank Molinaro, World Team Member Reese Humphrey, and World Team Member Jimmy Kennedy. I see an all Cliff Keen Wrestling Club finals where I will finally be able to answer the question of who wins that match up. Side note, this also has the return of CKWC Member BJ Futrell who is looking to turn some heads and should match up with Stieber at some point.
74KG, Andrew Howe
Andrew Howe is a monster and has established himself for the last 3 years or so as a legit threat to the world. Sadly for him, the best wrestler in the world happens to be in his way and within his own country. With the departures of Dake and Taylor, this looks to be his spot. World Team Member Nick Marable and former Collegiate rival Chris Perry are on the other side of the bracket, but I am not too concerned that either will pose a real threat. Logan Massa is also participating, which will be interesting to see.
87KG, Kid Dynamite, Kyle Dake
This is a total cluster of talent. The quarter finals will likely be David Taylor v Ed Ruth on one side of the bracket and Kyle Dake v Keith Gavin on the other side of the bracket. Get your popcorn ready and prepare for the insanity that is going to take place. Other participants include Jon The Gladiator Reader, Richard Perry, Zahid Valencia, Clayton Foster and Tyler Caldwell. I have bet against Kyle Dake too many times to let it happen again, and I'm ultimately picking him once again over David Taylor. Ultimately this weight class has two people with their own shoes and I expect them to meet in the finals. This weight class just became WAY more competitive though and will be exceptional to watch for the next 5 years.
97KG, Kyven Gadson
This is a tough weight, not to the level of 87KG, but it's tough. Ultimately it comes down to me deciding on the guy that beat the world champion over a bunch of dudes that didn't do that. My initial pick, Wynn Michalak, happens to be on the same side of the bracket as Kyven, so clearly that made up my mind there. Also, I just don't see the rest of the guys having the ceiling that Gadson has, and I trust that he is putting in the work to get there. Speaking of putting in work, I expect him to meet Burak in the finals, because Iowa guys appear to really enjoy working hard.
125KG, Tyrell Fortune
I am now disappointed that I had never Google Imaged Tyrell Fortune. These are pure gold! From him just LAUNCHING people, to lifting grown men above his head without issue, it's awesome. He will beat Tony Nelson on his side of the bracket, and beat Dom Bradley in the finals. He is a monster and I hope he is trying to reach his wrestling goals before diving head first into MMA. Do work Tyrell. Do work.