World champs Borrero, Vlasov among finalists on Greco-Roman wrestling Day 1

Wrestling at the 2016 Olympics kicked off on Sunday with preliminary rounds in Greco-Roman’s 59kg and 75kg divisions.

The gold medal match at 59kg will feature the reigning world champion against an unlikely opponent when Cuba’s Ismael Borrero, the world No. 1, faces Japan’s Shinobu Ota. In his first match, Ota knocked off Iran’s Hamid Soryan, the 2012 gold medalist at 55kg and a six-time world champion. Ota proceeded to win three more matches, including a semifinal bout vs. world No. 2 Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan that ended with a pin.

Thanks to a strong gut wrench, U.S. wrestler Jesse Thielke won his first match by technical fall over Morocco’s Messoud El Mahadi in less than two minutes. In the quarterfinals though, Thielke would get teched by Bayramov.

The 75kg gold medal match will be between Russia’s Roman Vlasov, the reigning Olympic and world champion, and Denmark’s Mark Madsen. Vlasov first had to get past another 2012 gold medalist, South Korea’s Kim Hyeon-Woo, in the opening round. He later defeated Croatia’s Bozo Starcevic in the semifinal despite passing out from a chokehold at the end of the first period.

U.S. wrestler Andy Bisek, who had strong medal aspirations after winning back-to-back bronze medals at the world championships, was eliminated by Starcevic in the quarterfinals. Prior to that, Bisek had edged out a close victory over Cuba’s Yurisandy Hernandez in the Round of 16.

Below are the matches coming up in the final session (3 p.m. ET; live stream on NBCOlympics.com).

59kg repechage 1: Soryan (IRI) vs. Kebispayev (KAZ)
59kg repechage 2: Eraliev (KGZ) vs. Wang (CHN)
59kg repechage 3: TBD vs. Berge (NOR)
75kg repechage 1: Kim (KOR) vs. Yang (CHN)
75kg repechage 2: Abdevali (IR) vs. Nemes (SRB)
59kg bronze medal match 1: TBD vs. Tasmuradov (UZB)
59kg bronze medal match 2: TBD vs. Bayramov (AZE)
59kg gold medal match: Borrero (CUB) vs. Ota (JPN)
59kg bronze medal match 1: TBD vs. Starcevic (CRO)
59kg bronze medal match 2: TBD vs. Bacsi (HUN)
59kg gold medal match: Vlasov (RUS) vs. Madsen (DEN)