By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 04, 2021, 4:32 p.m. (ET)

Kyle Snyder (USA) scores last second takedown to defeat Mojtaba Goliej of Iran in World semifinals. Photo by Justin Hoch

OSLO, Norway – 2016 Olympic champion and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Kyle Snyder pulled off some last-second heroics during the semifinals at the 2021 Senior World Championships on Monday night, punching his ticket for a rematch against Russian superstar Abdulrashid Sadulaev in Tuesday’s gold-medal finals at 97 kg.

Snyder was trailing 2-1 to 2019 U23 World champion Mojtaba Goleij of Iran with less than 10 seconds on the clock when his tenacious attack paid big dividends. He scored a takedown with less than four seconds to go for a 3-2 victory.

The wrestlers traded points on the inactivity clock, Snyder being penalized in the first period and Goleij early in the second period to make it 1-1, with Snyder holding After Snyder was able to defend from getting a step out on the edge after a powerful Goleij attack, referees put Snyder back on the activity clock. Snyder got close to scoring, but Goleij survived the 30-second attack to take the 2-1 lead. With Iranian fans chanting loud in the background, Snyder still had one powerful move left that led to the winning score.

A match between Kyle Snyder and Abdulrashid Sadulaev has become a classic rivalry within the sport. Snyder beat Sadulaev in the 2017 World finals, while Sadualaev scored a stunning pin in the 2018 World finals. Sadulaev was able to defeat Snyder in the finals of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo just a few months ago. Fans will get the chance to see this showdown one more time in Oslo.

There is a tight team race between Iran, the United States and Russia, so the Snyder-Sadulaev final could be important in determining what the final team placements will be.

In addition to his two Olympic medals, Snyder is also a 2015 and 2017 World champion, as well as 2018 World silver medalist and 2019 World bronze medalist.

At 70 kg, two-time World medalist James Green was eliminated after No. 2 seed and 2021 European silver medalist Turan Bayramov of Azerbaijan was defeated in semifinals by Magomedmurad Gadzhiev of Poland. Bayramov had beaten Green 6-5 in the quarterfinals on Monday morning. Only those who lose to a finalist are eligible for repechage.

Snyder will go for his gold medal on Tuesday night during the finals which begin at 6:00 p.m. local time. Oslo is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone.

At Oslo, Norway, October 4

Group Three men’s freestyle finals pairings
70 kg – Ernazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan) vs. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland)
97 kg – Kyle Snyder (USA) vs. Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)

Group Three men’s freestyle semifinal results

70 kg
Ernazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan) dec. Evgenii Zherbaevâ (Russian Wrestling Federation), 9-5
Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland) dec. Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 4-2

97 kg
Kyle Snyder (United States) dec. Mojtaba Goleij (Iran), 3-2
Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russian Wrestling Federation) tech fall Mahamed Zakariiev (Ukraine), 11-0, 5:27

U.S. men’s freestyle Group Three results

70 kg – James Green (Blacksburg, Va./Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Seungchul Lee (Korea), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Shamil Ustaev (Germany), tech. fall 10-0
LOSS Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 6-5

97 kg – No. 2 seed Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Batzul Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia), tech. fall 14-4
WIN Magomedgadji Nurov (North Macedonia), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Mojtaba Goleij (Iran), 3-2
Gold medal match – vs. Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russian Wrestling Federation)