Obviously, the first couple became the biggest disappointment - Levan Saginashvili against Dave Chaffee. The loser in this pair can hope for a maximum in fifth place, which can be very unfair to both athletes.
The American Chaffee just went into the project and immediately got an opponent who is the favorite of the tournament. Last year, Levan Saginashvili left no chance to anyone. Although at the first stage we saw an exciting fight with Kydyrgali Ongarbaev, and in the third - the crazy onslaught of Vitaly Laletin, this did not affect Levan in any way. Yes, during the struggle he was tired, but no one could surpass him in strength.
Dave Chaffee last season participated in two serious fights: he pulled with Devon Larratt and Michael Todd. Obviously, all three guys were in great shape, but Dave lost to Devon with a score of 1-3, Todd won against Chaffee dry. The season, unfortunately, was not too successful.
Chaffee decided to join the Top 8, and this was a huge joy for the fans. The fact that he got to Saginashvili in the first stage was a little disappointing. But the level of this disappointment is actually about the same as it could be if we again see Vitaly Laletin and Levan Saginashvili in the second stage. After all, we know what they are capable of, and, it would seem, they should meet in the finals. Is it possible to somehow make the matchup... change?
Unfortunately, not. A system is a system. It is unlikely that any of the Top 8 participants would be happy if the couples decided to shuffle, and even some time after the draw, because the preparatory process has already begun. Is there really anyone who can be “sacrificed” to Levan just with no reason? Is it worth sacrificing team relationships?
As for me, the way out of this situation is simple. All we need is to enjoy armwrestling. We will observe incredible fights at the first stage. And honestly, we don’t know which grid will eventually become more interesting - upper or lower. No one will just give up their place in the project. And even if Chaffee has to go to the lower bracket, he will get a double benefit because he was able to watch Top 8 2019 as a spectator, and in 2020 he will try himself at all possible levels of the project.
The case decided the alignment of forces in the project. We look forward to the June hurricane at the table!