On this episode of the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast, Matt Dernlan and Ben Askren make predictions about what they expect to see for each weight class in this year’s World Championships as well as talk college wrestling and how next year being an Olympic year will impact rosters.

125kg: (16:13) The minimum expectation is that Nick Gwiazdowski medals which would qualify the weight class for the Olympics.  Askren isn’t confident in Gwiazdowski’s ability to beat Taha Akgul or Geno Petriashvili.  Dernlan agrees it will be tough to get into the finals as they have equivalent athleticism, yet Akgul and Petriashvili have a size advantage.  Dernlan says the expectation, however, is to win the bronze medal and that it would be a “monumental effort to make the finals”.

97kg: (18:55) Abdulrashid Sadulaev vs Kyle Snyder is set up to be the feature final match of the tournament. Both Askren and Dernlan agree that whoever comes out on top of this series will go down as the greatest of all time.

92kg: (24:19) “World Title or bust” Dernlan states.  Both Dernlan and Askren agree that for this weight class the realistic expectation is that J’den Cox wins.

86kg: (27:43) Askren doesn’t believe Pat Downey will place for the U.S. at this weight class.  Dernlan says it is unrealistic to expect to qualify the weight for the Olympics.

79kg: (31:59) Both Dernlan and Askren say they will be highly disappointed if Kyle Dake doesn’t come home with the gold medal.  Dernlan says he doesn’t see anyone coming close to him in his bracket.

74kg: (33:21) The weight class Askren is most excited about, you can’t overstate how difficult this weight class is.  Jordan Burroughs’ goal is to be the greatest ever and to beat John Smith’s highest number of World Titles record of 6.

70kg: (36:57) Askren believes that James Green can beat the others but has, in fact, struggled a bit this year.  Dernlan believes that to expect a gold medal is a reach, but there is hope here.

65kg: (39:29) Super deep weight class, “unbelievable” according to Dernlan. Askren believes it’s hard to predict what Zain Retherford will do.  The US hasn’t medaled in this weight class since 2006.

61kg: (45:33) Neither Askren or Dernlan have a definite prediction for this weight class. Askren doesn’t believe Tyler Graff will place.  Dernlan says either 0-1 or a medal wouldn’t surprise him either way.

57kg: (48:00) Askren admits that Daton Fix is very young and it’s possible for him to lose to one of the top guys.  Dernlan believes the opposite in this weight class and says he wouldn’t be surprised if Fix medals.


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Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan host the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast. Askren, World Champion, and Olympic Wrestler joins in official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS. Matt Dernlan joins from years of experience in D1 college coaching at Binghamton, Clarion, and Penn State University.

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