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Titan Mercury finishes second at World Clubs Cup
By Gary Abbott, TheMat.com
TEHRAN, Iran – It all went down to heavyweight. You couldn’t draw up a more exciting conclusion for the 2017 Freestyle World Clubs Cup.
Easy Pipe Kasham, a club from Iran with some tough international athletes in the lineup, led defending World Clubs Cup champion Titan Mercury WC of the USA, five matches to four, going into the last match at 125 kg. Because of some bonus points wins, if Titan Mercury won the heavyweight bout, it would claim the tiebreaker.
Easy Pipe was represented by 2017 World champion Geno Petriashvilli of Georgia at heavyweight, while Titan Mercury sent out 2017 World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski. The sold-out arena was whipped into a frenzy.
In a back-and-forth match in which both athletes had a lead, Petriashvili scored a clutch takedown and gut wrench turn in the second period, then held off a furious Gwiazdowski attack as time ran out, for the 6-5 win, giving Easy Pipe a 6-4 victory and the team title. Gwiazdowski scored two takedowns and got another point on a shot clock violation, pushing the World champion hard and almost pulling off the big win.
It was the fourth straight year that the Titan Mercury WC had reached the finals of the Freestyle World Clubs Cup, after also taking second in both 2014 and 2015 and winning in 2016. American fans were able to watch the final on live Instagram streams by Titan Mercury as well as the Iranian Wrestling Federation.
It started out very well for Easy Pipe, which rolled to a 4-0 lead in the light weights.
Reza Atrari of Easy Pipe edged 2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman of Titan Mercury in the opening bout at 57 kg, 6-4. Gilman had defeated Atari at the 2017 World Championships on his run to the finals.
Next up, Easy Pipe’s Vladimir Khinchegashvili, a 2016 Olympic champion and 2015 World champion for Georgia, led 3-0 over Alan Waters at the break, but opened it up in the second period for a convincing 7-0 victory.
Easy Pipe extended the lead to 3-0 at 65 kg, when Farsad Amouzadeh Khalili defeated B.J. Futrell in a 6-3 match.
Titan Mercury dropped a close battle at 70 kg, where 2011 World silver medalist Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico was defeated by Mohammad Naderi in a 2-2 criteria. Gomez scored a first period takedown and Naderi answered with a takedown in the second period, winning by scoring the last point. Naderi was third in the 2015 World Military Championships, and is a two-time Beach World champion. Gomez was an NCAA champion for Michigan State and trains in the USA.
Titan Mercury turned it around at 74 kg, with some last minute heroics, with Titan Mercury’s Nazar Kulchytskyy coming from behind to defeat Hossein Elyasi, 5-4. Kulchytskyy trailed most of the match, but scored a clutch four-point takedown on the edge in the closing seconds for the big win. Elyasi was a silver medalist in the 2017 Asian Indoor Games.
All tournament long, Titan Mercury dominated in the heavier weight classes, and wrestled with confidence as its heavy hammers took the mat in the championship dual.
Kyle Dake, the four-time NCAA champion who has been a national team member many times, turned up his high-power offense at 79 kg, scoring takedowns and turns for a 12-0 technical fall over Reza Afzali, a 2012 and 2016 World University champion.
David Taylor, who won two NCAA titles and has been a multiple National Team member, kept up the pressure, opening up a close match at 86 kg for a big 3-1 win over Alireza Karimi.
Easy Pipe scored a clutch win at 92 kg, as Hossein Shabazi edged Nick Heflin in a 4-2 decision. Heflin was very aggressive in the second period but was held off by Shahbazi once he got the lead.
Titan Mercury’s biggest star, 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Kyle Snyder, competed like a true champion, scoring an 11-0 technical fall over Vladislav Baitsaev of Russia, a Russian National runner-up and past Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix champion. Snyder’s assault was relentless, scoring takedowns until he broke Baitsaev in the second period.
Snyder’s victory put Titan Mercury in a position to tie the dual at heavyweight, and win the tiebreaker based upon classification points.
In the semifinals on Friday, Titan Mercury powered its way to a 9-1 win over Khimori (Mongolia), winning the last seven matches. Leading the way were pins by Alan Waters (61 kg) and David Taylor (86 kg), and technical falls from Kyle Dake (79 kg), Nick Heflin (92 kg), Kyle Snyder (97 kg) and Nick Gwiazdowski (125 kg).
Titan Mercury WC finished the event with a 4-1 record, which included wins over club teams from Bularia (10-0), India (8-2) and Canada (9-1). Over the five dual meets, four Titan Mercury WC athletes went undefeated for the tournament: Kulchytskyy, Dake, Taylor and Snyder.
FREESTYLE WORLD CLUBS CUP
At Tehran, Iran, December 8, 2017
CHAMPIONSHIP DUAL MEET
Easy Pipe Kasham (Iran) 6, Titan Mercury (USA) 4
57kg- Reza Atari (Easy Pipe) df. Thomas Gilman (USA), 6-4
61kg- Vladimir Khinchegashvili (Easy Pipe) df. Alan Waters (USA), 7-0
65kg- Farzad Amouzadeh Khalili (Easy Pipe) df. B.J. Futrell (USA), 6-3
70kg- Mohammad Naderi (Easy Pipe) df. Franklin Gomez (USA), 2-2
74 kg Nazar Kulchytskyy (USA) df. Hossein Elyasi (Easy Pipe), 5-4
79kg- Kyle Dake (USA) TF Reza Afzali (Easy Pipe), 12-0
86kg- David Taylor (USA) df. Alireza Karimi (Easy Pipe), 3-1
92kg- Hossein Shabazi (Easy Pipe) df. Nick Heflin (USA), 4-2
97kg- Kyle Snyder (USA) TF Vladislav Baitsaev (Easy Pipe), 11-0
125kg- Geno Petriashvilli (Easy Pipe) df. Nick Gwiazdowski (USA), 6-5
Titan Mercury (USA) 9, Khimori (Mongolia) 1
57kg- Thomas GILMAN (Titan) df. TSEVEENSUREN Tsogbakrakh (MGL), 5-2
61kg- Alan WATERS (Titan) pin BATCHULUUN Basaniam (MGL)
65kg- TUMUR OCHIR Tulga (MGL) TF B.J. FUTRELL (Titan), 12-2
70kg- Franklin GOMEZ (Titan) df. LUTBAYAR Batbayar, 5-3
74 kg – Nazar KULCHYTSKYY (Titan) df. BOLDKHUU Batsukh (MGL), 10-2
79kg- Kyle DAKE (Titan) TF GANBOLD Turbold (MGL), 10-0
86kg- David TAYLOR (Titan) pin GANBATAAR Gankhuyag (MGL)
92kg- Nick HEFLIN (Titan) TF TUMURBAT Mungushagai (MGL), 10-0
97kg- Kyle SNYDER (Titan) TF BATSUKH Zorintbaatar (MGL), 12-2
125kg- Nick GWIAZDOWSKI (Titan) TF MUNKHTUR Lkhagvegerel (MGL), 10-0