2023 UWW Worlds Preview: 86k MFS, 82k GR, 65k WFS

Updated: September 6, 2023

Photos: David Taylor, a former two-time NCAA champ from Penn State, beat fellow NLWC teammate and PSU’s three-time NCAA champ Aaron Brooks in men’s freestyle at Final X, where Macey Kilty beat 2022 World Team member Mallory Velte in women’s freestyle and Alaska native Spencer Woods beat Ryan Epps in Greco-Roman. (Photos by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

The 2023 UWW World Championships, held Sept. 16-24 in Belgrade, Serbia, could feature several well-known rivalries … and none have been bigger than that between Team USA’s David Taylor and Iran’s Hassan Yazdani. Both are World and Olympic champs — who have met in five World-level competitions … with Taylor winning four of those men’s freestyle bouts, including last year’s World Championships. This is just one of three weight classes that WIN is examining in today’s on-going previews of the 2023 Worlds … with the others featuring Americans Spencer Woods in Greco-Roman and Macey Kilty in women’s freestyle.

WIN Magazine will provide comprehensive coverage of this year’s World Championships in its next issue, which will be printed Sept. 28. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe.

Men’s Freestyle: 86k/189 lbs — David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC / TMWC)

Competes Sept. 16-17

Age: 32 (born Dec. 5, 1990); Hometown: St. Paris, Ohio. Raised in Wyoming and Ohio (4x state champ for St. Paris Graham)

Beat Aaron Brooks at Final X

International Experience: Two-time World champ (2018 and 2022); 2021 World silver medalist; 2020 Olympic gold medalist; Overall record: 16-1 (12-1 in three Worlds and 4-0 in the 2020 Olympics)

Other: Taylor was a two-time NCAA champ, four-time NCAA finalist and two-time Hodge Trophy winner at Penn State (2009-14).

Top International Competition: Iran’s Hassan Yazdani should once again be Taylor’s biggest nemesis considering the two have met four times in either a World or Olympic tournament with the American winning in the 2018 Worlds, 2020 Olympics and 2022 Worlds while the Iranian — a 2016 Olympic champ with World titles in 2017 and 2019 — winning at the 2021 Worlds. (Taylor also beat Yazdani in the 2017 World Cup.) Both 2022 bronze medalists — Slovakia’s Boris Makoev and Azamat Dauletbekov of Kazakhstan — also return. Meanwhile another former NCAA All-American, Myles Amine, will once again represent San Marino as the former Michigan Wolverine won Olympic bronze in 2021.

Greco-Roman: 82k/180.5 lbs — Spencer Woods (U.S. Army WCAP)

Competes Sept. 21-22

Age: 25 (born June 27, 1998); Hometown: Shungnak, Alaska

Beat Ryan Epps at Final X

International Experience: This marks his second World tournament appearance after Woods was a late replacement for Ben Provisor and lost his only match in the 2022 Worlds. He competed in the U23 Worlds in 2021 but did not place.

Other: A two-time Alaska state high school champion, Woods spent a year competing in college at Maryland in 2016-17 before deciding to focus solely on Greco-Roman.

Top International Competition: The last two World champs at this weight — Turkey’s Burhan Akbudak (2022) and Azerbaijan’s Rafig Huseynov (2021) — return at this weight … as does 2022 World bronze medalist Yaroslav Filchakov of Ukraine.

Women’s Freestyle: 65k/143.5 lbs — Macey Kilty (Sunkist Kids WC)

Competes Sept. 19-20

Age: 22 (born March 13, 2001); Hometown: Stratford, Wisc.

Beat Mallory Velte at Final X

International Experience: This is the first Senior-level Worlds/Olympics for Kilty, who had earned five age-group World medals: a pair of silvers in the 2018 and 2019 Junior Worlds, after she won a Cadet World championship in 2018, as well as bronze and silver medals, respectively, in the 2016 and 2017 Cadet Worlds. Kilty reached the 2020 Olympic Trials final but was forced to injury default against Kayla Miracle.

Top International Competition: None of last year’s medal winners at this weight will return this year, including 2022 gold medalist Miwa Morikawa (who has moved up to 72 kilos) and bronze medalist Koumba Larrouque, a 2021 U23 World champ and 2020 Olympians, who will compete at 68 kilos in Serbia. But two World champs do return in 2023: Japan’s Nonaka Ozaki, who led the World at 62 kilos in 2022 and Bulgaria’s Taybe Yusein 2018 to go along with three World silvers and Olympic bronze in 2020.  Only six wrestlers were mentioned in the 2022 World preseeds, including Bulgaria’s Mimi Hristova, a two-time Olympian who lost to USA’s Mallory Velte in last year’s bronze medal match.

The following is a schedule of WIN’s other daily World Championship previews (including pertinent information on the American who will wrestle at that weight class and style). Click on previous days to read those previews: