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USA Falls to Iran in World Cup Final

Photo by Wrestlers Are Warriors

Photo by Wrestlers Are Warriors

The United States freestyle team fell in the World Cup final to Iran who win their 4th straight World Cup. The final count was 5-3 with the United States having a chance to win going in to the last match of the tournament. Komeil Ghasemi controlled the tie-ups in the heavyweight match with Zach Rey which extended the streak of Iran's World Cup dominance. 

While it is always disappointing to lose, the tournament coming down to the final match is a vast improvement over the disappointing 2014 World Championships when the Americans finished tied for 10th. Hell, the Americans were only in the tournament because they were the hosts. The other 7 countries involved finished higher than them (at '14 worlds). Russia did send their "c" team which is still formidable, but not exactly the win you would hope for. It does make me feel a lot better about our standing in the world that we didn't go out their and get our doors blown off by Iran, who had only lost 2 individual matches heading in to the final. 

There were many positives over the weekend. Jordan Burrroughs does not appear to have lingering effects from the knee injury last September. He went back to being the dominant force that had him carrying around the moniker of "greatest current wrestler on the planet". Tony Ramos looks like he is a legit force gaining experience. Brent Metcalf went undefeated and looked world class in the process trying to shake that "best never" attachment. Ed Ruth continues to develop and delivered the match of the weekend performance over Salas (Cuba) 22-13. And finally, Jake Varner appears to be more ready to wrestle 6 hard minutes than he did last season. 

The negatives from the weekend are largely administrative. Why LA hosts this event is a head scratcher. It's great so many Iranians live in California for a fun atmosphere, but the arena was still less full than a high caliber Big Ten dual. Having the tournament in Big Ten country or even Philadelphia would be nice to have a larger more attended presence. I don't mind at all the Iranians are there and having it on the east coast would probably mean more Cuban and Russian fans in attendance as well. My problem is there seem to be 20 other geographic locations inside the US that we could host the event that would result in a greater attendance. 

Other negatives include the shot clock, criteria instead of overtime, and the live streams. The shot clock rarely results in points. You are pretty much telling the offended  you get to stall for 30 seconds and get a point. It doesn't create action, it simply discourages it. Criteria continues to be confusing and stupid, but that is well documented. The live streams were somehow a disaster. I am not sure how I watched I watched the last two world championships at my desk (that doesn't have great internet) from Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Budapest, Hungary....but in 2015 near one of highest populated and technologically advanced areas in the world I wasn't able to watch on Sunday. We need these things to work to build a fan base. I cleared out my schedule on Sunday afternoon to watch these matches and was disappointed. The next time someone like me will rather go golfing instead of the probable chance of a poor connection. 

To end on a positive note, there was great coverage of the final by the NBC Sports Network on the channel formerly known as Versus. The channel is wisely trying to promote Olympic sports more to help their ratings when the Olympics roll around. It was great to sit back and watch some freestyle on tv without worrying about the stream and wifi to my Ipad or laptop. Rulon Gardner is also a pretty solid commentator. He lacks some when it comes to being an "ambassador" for our sport, but on the mic he is pretty good. 

57 kg/125 lbs. – Hassan Rahimi (Iran) dec. Tony Ramos (USA), 5-5 
61 kg/134 lbs. – Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran) dec. Coleman Scott (USA), 9-7
65 kg/143 lbs. – Brent Metcalf (USA) dec. Masmoud Esmailpour (Iran), 3-1
70 kg/154 lbs. – Hassan Yazdani (Iran) dec. Nick Marable (USA), 3-1
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) won by tech. fall over Morteza Rezaei Ghaleh (Iran), 10-0
86 kg/189 lbs. – Meisam Mostafa Joukar (Iran) won by tech. fall over Clayton Foster (USA), 12-2
97 kg/213 lbs. – Jake Varner (USA) dec. Mohammad Hossei Mohammadian (Iran), 3-3
125 kg/275 lbs. – Komeil Ghasemi (Iran) dec. Zach Rey (USA), 3-1

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Tony Ramos (USA) dec. Tsogtbaatar Damdinbazar (Mongolia), 1-1
61 kg/134 lbs. – Coleman Scott (USA) dec. Nemekhbayar Batsaikhan (Mongolia), 8-5
65 kg/143 lbs. – Brent Metcalf (USA) dec. Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (Mongolia), 8-2
70 kg/154 lbs. – Nick Marable (USA) dec. Ankhbayar Batchuluun (Mongolia), 4-1
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia), 6-0
86 kg/189 lbs. – Clayton Foster (USA) dec. Usukhbaatar Purevee (Mongolia), 2-2
97 kg/213 lbs. – Jake Varner (USA) dec. Khuderbulga Dorjkhand (Mongolia), 3-0 
125 kg/275 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev (USA) won by tech. fall over Chuluunbat Jargalsaikhan (Mongolia), 10-0

USA 4, RUSSIA 4 (USA wins on criteria)
57 kg – Tony Ramos (USA) dec. Omak Syuruun (Russia), 4-2
61 kg – Murshid Mutalimov (Russia) dec. Coleman Scott (USA), 10-1
65 kg – Brent Metcalf (USA) won by tech. fall over Akhmed Chakaev (Russia), 14-3
70 kg – Israil Kasumov (Russia) dec. Nick Marable (USA), 6-4
74 kg – Jordan Burroughs (USA) won by tech. fall over Iakubali Shikhdzhamalov (Russia), 12-0
86 kg – Dauren Kurugliev (Russia) pinned Ed Ruth (United States), 0:51
97 kg – Yury Belonovskiy (Russia) dec. Jake Varner (USA), 4-0
125 kg – Tervel Dlagnev (United States) won by tech. fall over Arslanbek Aliev (Russia), 10-0

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba) pinned Tony Ramos (USA), 4:57
61 kg/134 lbs. – Antonio Perez Gonzalez (Cuba) dec. Coleman Scott (USA), 8-1
65 kg/143 lbs. – Brent Metcalf (USA) dec. Franklin Maren Castillo (Cuba), 7-2
70 kg/154 lbs. – Nick Marable (USA) won by tech. fall over Andy Yoan Moreno Gonzalez (Cuba), 10-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Livan Lopez (Cuba), 6-2
86 kg/189 lbs. – Ed Ruth (USA) dec. Reineris Salas (Cuba), 22-13
97 kg/213 lbs. – Jake Varner (USA) dec. Javier Cortina (Cuba), 3-0
125 kg/275.5 lbs. – Zach Rey (USA) dec. Eduardo Mesa, 3-0