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Diakomihalis Snaps Drought; Will Come Home With World Silver at 65kg

By MD, 09/18/22, 2:15PM EDT


Yianni D. Ends 16-Year Drought; Finishes as the Runner-up in Belgrade

Iranian, Amouzadkhalili, Prevails in Battle of Phenoms; Denies Yianni D. of the Gold...

Even before he stepped foot on the mat in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday, Yianni Diakomihalis was already a history-maker worthy of national celebration....

Thanks to him, the ghosts of Schwab, Paulson, Metcalf, Ware, Frayer, Molinaro, Retherford, and Stieber have been buried!!

After 16 straight years of not registering a medal of any color at either a Senior World Tournament of Olympic Games in 65/66kg weight class,  the former 4x NYSPHSAA DI State Champion/3x Defending NCAA titlist on behalf of Hilton and Cornell University [Diakomihalis], is headed home to the Evil Empire with some hardware!!!

Unfortunately, the yellow medal just was not in the cards on the final day of the 2022 UWW World Championships...

Embattled in a war of respective phenoms that owned FIVE age-group World belts to their names, it was the two-time Cadet/2021 Junior gold medalist out of Iran, Rahman Mousa Amouzadkhalili, using a very strong 2nd period effort to emerge with a 13-8 decision over the 2x Cadet winner from the United States!

An instant classic from the get-go, after a brief (43-seconds) feeling out period, chaos ensued as a wild scramble initiated by a Diakomihalis shot yielded 14 points in a span of 20 ticks, with the sequence originally be ruled as 4-2 [in favor of the American], before a U.S. challenge resulted in an adjustment of 8-6 [highlighted by a 4pt back-to-feet exposure by YD) with just under 2:00 remaining in the 1st period!

Amouzadkhalili would transition from a snap-down to a go-behind to a single-leg to finish for the TD to square the match 8 apiece with :52 to in the opening stanza....That is how the period ended as Diakomihalis still held the lead based on criteria!

Amouzadkhalili grabbed his first lead (9-8) of the contest approximately 1:01 into the 2nd period when he transitioned from a duck into a single-leg to earn a step out (great job by Yianni never surrendering the takedown)...

During the next 120 seconds that followed, the 20-year-old from Iran pulled away striking for a pair TDs with 1:40 and 1:12 on the clock to account for the aforementioned outcome!

Out-scoring his four opponents on Saturday by a margin of 34-0,  even if the final taste of his appearance was sour, as a whole, the past two days have been a savory and confidence-building dish for the current Big Red senior!  

He'll be back for the brass ring in 2023 and beyond!!

The Diakomihalis loss in the 65kg finale dropped the Red, White, and Blue to 0-2 in medal bouts on the day [Seth Gross previously lost his bronze match at 61kg)....But alas, "Captain America", Kyle Snyder, lowered the curtain on a fitting note, as he became the fourth (tied for most all-time in a single WC appearance) U.S. Men's FSer of the week to win gold as he cruised to his third Senior title (6th total medal--3G, 2S, 1B) behind a 6-0 victory over Batyrbek Tsakulov (Slovakia) at 97kg!

Having wrapped it yesterday (the Diakomihalis win in the semis being the clincher), the United States' will fly home with their fourth World Team title in tow to boot....They out-gun Iran, 198-150....Japan (70), Mongolia (68), and Georgia (68) completed the top-5 in the standings

Of the 10 entries, eight Americans advanced to the 'ship, with Kyle Dake (74kg), Jordan Burroughs (79kg), and David Taylor (86kg) joining Snyder on the top step of the podium by notching their fourth, sixth, and second career Senior golds respectively...

Defending and/or former World Champs---Thomas Gilman (57kg) and J'Den Cox (92kg) joined Diakomihalis and Zain Retherford (70kg) as silver recipients!


Qualification: 4-0 Decision Over Vazgen Tevanyan (Armenia) 


One year after bowing out (5-1 decision loss) at the hands of Tevanyan in the Round of 16 in his Senior World FS Championship debut, Diakomihalis  returned the favor!!!

Squaring off in an opening-round bout, the Section V star would emerge with the 4-0 decision over the 2021 UWW U23 Silver Medalist/2020 Olympian (14th)....

A very tactical bout from start to finish where neither man was able to establish much in the way of offense, the former 2x Cadet World gold medalist out of the Rochester area [Diakomihalis] carried a 1-0 lead into the break after forcing a shot clock violation with 1:08 remaining in the 1st period...

Staying on the attack and clearly the aggressor, the Empire Stater would again induce a passivity call to be issued to his Armenian foe, as his cushion grew to 2-0 (:40 to go in duration) when Tevanyan was unable to score while on the shot clock...

As the scoreboard dipped below half a minute still to be contested, Tevanyan had his best moment of the showdown, as utilized a tight head-pinch for what would have been an equalizing 2pt score....However, deeming that a choke had been applied, mat officials immediately waved off the sequence...

Doing something he had failed to do a year ago in Oslo, Diakomihalis iced the victory when he converted a TD on the edge in the last 15 ticks to round out his vengeful effort!!
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Round of 16: 10-0 TF over Vladimirov Dubov (Bulgaria)

After going almost the entirety of his opening match without being able to score a takedown, Diakomihalis unleashed the beast in his round of 16 appearance, striking for the first of three TDs just 12 seconds into the 1st period and never looking back as he cruised to a 10-0 technical fall over the 2x Senior World Medalist (runner-up in 2013; Bronze in '15)/2016 Olympic 5th! 

In addition to his trifecta of aforementioned takedowns, the NYer added a 2pt gut (after the initial TD) and then closed the show with a 2pt leg-lace (after his final TD) to complete the job in a time of 1:46!!-

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Quarterfinals: 10-0 TF Against Bajrang Bajrang Punia

In deep on so many shot attempts that he might as well change his legal address to "10 Bajrang Legs Lane" since he lived there all match, the New Yorker punched his ticket to the 65kg semifinals with an emphatic 10-0 technical fall over the 2020 Olympic Bronze medalist/multiple-time Senior World medalist/#2 seed from India...

Carrying a 4-0 lead into the break after registering four step outs during the initial 3:00 of action, the Cornell University Senior further took command during the 2nd period, as he was awarded a 2pt exposure off of a desperation head-pinch attempt by Bajrang :45 into the period, added a point for a lost challenge off of this sequence, and then converted his only TD finish of the match just as the clock dipped below 2:00 to go to increase his cushion to 9-0!

Like a dog on a bone, the Section V standout was merciless and relentless from beginning to conclusion, as he polished off his masterpiece by inducing one final (his fifth overall) step out to earn the superiority triumph in a time of 4:56...

This is the second occasion in which Diakomihalis was able to get the best of highly-touted rival....In 2019, at the Beat the Streets event, he won by a much more narrow 10-8 decision! 
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Semifinals: 10-0 TF Over Sebastian Rivera (Puerto Rico)

The dub that officially snapped the 16-year drought, Diakomihalis won the NY vs. NJ battle in steamrolling fashion over the 5x Collegiate All-American (Northestern/Rutgers)/2022 Pan-American Championship silver medalist!

Needing just 53 seconds to take care of business, the NYer would convert a TD less than 20 ticks into the bout and then added a 2pt gut to seize the immediate 4-0 edge...

Moments later, it was rinse and repeat time, as he again finished a single-leg and then transitioned directly into par terre, popping a pair of guts to cement the 10-0 TF victory in the semifinals!!!


*Since Bill Zadick's World title in 2006, the United States went 16 years (2007-2022) without earning a medal at 65/66kg at either a Senior World Championship or an Olympic Games!

NINE different athletes attempted to snap the streak, and it was Diakomihalis, in his second attempt, that managed to get the job done...

Here is a look at the struggle of yesteryear!!
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2007 Worlds: Doug Schwab---5th
2008 Olympics: Doug Schwab---14th
2009 Worlds: Trent Paulson----DNP
2010 Worlds: Brent Metcalf---DNP
2011 Worlds: Teyon Ware---DNP
2012 Olympics: Jared Frayer---17th
2013 Worlds: Brent Metcalf---DNP
2014 Worlds: Brent Metcalf----DNP
2015 Worlds: Brent Metcalf---10th
2016 Olympics: Frank Molinaro---5th
2017 Worlds: Zain Retherford---DNP
2018 Worlds: Logan Stieber---DNP
2019 Worlds: Zain Retherford---DNP
2020 Olympics: Did not Qualify the Weight
2021 Worlds: Yianni Diakomihalis---DNP

TEAM USA 2022 UWW WORLD Championship Summary



What a collective showing of brilliance  it was for the contingent from the "50 State machine"!!!

Among the three traditional international styles, the Americans achieved the following bullet points during their stay in Serbia:

  • '22 Men's Freestyle World Team Champions
  • '22 Women's Freestyle World Team Runners-up
  • 7 Individual World Titlist (Men's FS-4; Women's FS-3)
  • 15 Total World Medals (7G, 6S, 2B)
55kg Max Nowry 2-2/5th
60kg Ildar Hafizov 2-2/10th
63kg Sam Jones 0-1/23rd
67kg Alejandro Sancho 1-1/11th
72kg Benjamin Peak 0-1/22nd
77kg Kamal Bey 0-1/31st
82kg Spencer Woods 0-1/22nd
87kg Alan Vera 0-1/18th
97kg Braxton Amos 1-1/10th
130kg Cohlton Schultz 1-1/15th


50kg Sarah Hildebrandt 3-1/3rd
53kg Dominique Parrish 4-0/CHAMPION
55kg Jacarra Winchester 2-2/5th
57kg Helen Maroulis 3-1/2nd
59kg Abigail Nette 0-2/10th
62kg Kayla Miracle 3-1/2nd
65kg Mallory Velte 2-1/3rd
68kg Tamyra Mensah-Stock 4-0/CHAMPION
72kg Amit Elor 4-0/CHAMPION
76kg Dymond Guilford  0-1/19th


57kg Thomas Gilman 3-1/2nd
61kg Seth Gross 3-2/5th
65kg Yianni Diakomihalis 4-1/2nd
70kg Zain Retherford 4-1/2nd
74kg Kyle Dake 5-0/CHAMPION
79kg Jordan Burroughs 5-0/CHAMPION
86kg David Taylor 4-0/CHAMPION
92kg J'Den Cox 3-1/2nd
97kg Kyle Snyder 4-0/CHAMPION
125kg Hayden Zillmer 2-1/7th


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