If in the group of champions there is an obvious favorite, then in the group of applicants everything is far from being so unequivocal. Yes, nominally we can distinguish Dmitry Trubin as a favorite, but he absolutely will not dominate, like Levan. We remember that Rustam Babaev very confidently fought with Dmitry, and even won. Tim Bresnan was no weaker than Rustam during their meeting. And Alex Kurdecha showed a great fight and gave us the most emotional and unpredictable fight of the first stage of the Top-8. But for Dmitry there have been no significant improvements in the form in the last couple of years.
Consequently, any outcome of the draw will bring interesting fights.
But the most anticipated would have been an armfight-rematch between Tim Bresnan and Rustam Babaev, because last time they failed to find out the strongest, none of the opponents for all 6 rounds had won, pressing the opponent’s hand in the side pillow. And in the case of this fight, Dmitry would meet with Alex, as planned initially, and we would be able to compare the real strength of Alex with the already quite clear form of Dmitry.
As for the group of champions, the most interesting fights there, obviously, would be Vitaly Laletin - Levan Saginashvili, and, respectively, Evgeny Prudnik - Kydyrgali Ongarbaev. On the other hand, it would be more fair if Vitaly and Levan will meet in the last round in the fight for the first place, and in this case, perhaps, the second match of interest would be Evgeny Prudnik, who makes total progress from tournament to tournament, against Vitaly Laletin.
Evgeny has no problems with the start, and in the fight with Rustam Babayev he clearly demonstrated this, always starting with the first number, although the majority thought it was Rustam’s advantage - quick start. Evgeny has excellent anthropometry and a versatile style, and his physical form in specially protracted fights against Rustam, makes us believe that he is able to resist Vitaly Laletin. And if draw out lots like this, we would not be in a hurry to call Laletin the undisputed favorite.
As for the draw, the date of its holding, we will soon inform. Follow the news!