Freestyle Wrestling – Rules, Scoring, and Facts

Freestyle Wrestling – Rules, Scoring, and Facts

Freestyle wrestling is probably one of the popular styles of wrestling practiced across the globe. It is a combat sport and is used in international amateur competitions. Moreover, it is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic Games. The other Olympic wrestling style is Greco-Roman wrestling.

If you are interested in knowing more about freestyle wrestling, then you are in the right place. We have rounded up all the details about the freestyle wrestling sport, including the object of the game, rules, and scoring. 

What is Freestyle Wrestling?

Wrestling sports, like traditional wrestling or arm wrestling, are popular across the world and are used to test strength. 

Freestyle wrestling is a famous combat sport conducted on an octagonal mat with a circle on it. In freestyle wrestling, athletes are allowed to grab the opponents from below their waist. Moreover, they can also use their legs for defending and attacking moves.

Freestyle wrestling incorporates elements from a wide range of other disciplines, including judo, traditional wrestling, and sumo. 

Freestyle wrestling has always been a part of the modern Olympics except for the years 1862 and 1912. Both men and women can participate in Olympics freestyle wrestling. The weight classes for freestyle wrestling in the Olympics include (Source):

Men’s Freestyle Wrestling – 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg, and 125kg.

Women’s Freestyle Wrestling –  50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg, and 76kg.

Object of the Game

The main object of the freestyle wrestling sport is to tackle the opponent player and to put their shoulders successfully on a mat for some time (a couple of seconds). It is known as “fall” or “pin,” and it results in a victory. Nevertheless, there are other ways also to win the game like a technical pin, default, decision, and disqualification. 

Players and Equipment

Freestyle wrestling is an individual game, and two players participate in the match. It is context on a large octagonal mat. A circle is made inside this mat with eight sides, and it is called a fight circle. Participants have to wear a wide range of clothing items during a match. 

Wrestling Shoes

In freestyle wrestling, the participants have to wear specially designed shoes. The shoes provide them mobility and grip when competing on the large spongy mat. These shoes are made of rubber soles. 


The uniform used in freestyle wrestling is known as a singlet. It is usually made of spandex or lycra to fit the skin of the athletes tightly. It provides maximum flexibility to the participants and minimal grip to the opponent. 


A fight helmet is optional when it comes to freestyle wrestling. Some athletes have to wear helmets due to the medical team’s recommendation in order to protect them. Many athletes prefer not to wear helmets during the fight. 

Blood Rag

In freestyle wrestling, athletes have to carry a blood rag. It is a handkerchief that is used to wipe away sweat or blood. 

Freestyle Wrestling Scoring

A very specific scoring system is used in Freestyle wrestling. The participants with difficult and complex moves score higher as compared to the simple ones. Moreover, athletes get points for using an offensive approach.

Reversal (1 point) 

When an athlete outfoxes the opponent and manages to convert a defensive position into an attacking position, it is known as a reversal. The payer who manages to get a reversal is awarded one point.

Out of Bounds (1 point)

In case a wrestler puts one foot out from the determined fight area, then it is called out of bounds. The opponent gets one point for this. 

Penalty (1-2 points)

In freestyle wrestling, penalties occur if a wrestler backs away over the mat, takes a timeout without need, or flees a hold. In case wrestlers offend continuously, they are cautioned. A wrestler is disqualified for three cautions. A wrestler needs to challenge caution, which can be either overturned or upheld by the judges. 

Exposure (2-3 points)

Exposure, also known as “danger position,” can help a wrestler get two or three points. In this case, the wrestler puts the opponent on his or her back for a few seconds. The score depends on the execution, effectiveness, and length of the move. 

Takedown (2-5 points)

For takedown, the wrestler can get a score between two to five points. This move requires a minimum of three points of contact, like two arms and one knee. Moreover, the points vary on the basis of style and execution. 

Winning the Match

There are various ways to win a wrestling match. Some of the ways include:


Most of the wrestlers try to win a match by fall or pin. When a wrestler locks the shoulder of the opponent down on the mat for one or two seconds, it is known as a pin. After the pin, the referee checks for the verdict with the judges, If the judges agree with the referee, the fight ends, and the wrestler who made the pin wins the match. 

Technical Pin

A technical pin victory is given to a wrestler when he or she leads with ten points at any stage during the match. 


If a wrestler is unable to continue a fight due to injury or does not participate in the fight due to any reason, then the opponent is declared the winner by default. 


In case no technical pin or pin is attained during a fight, then the judges check the scores, and the wrestler with the highest scores wins the match. 


If an athlete breaks the rules continuously during a fight, then he or she is disqualified, and the opponent wins the match. 

Freestyle Wrestling Rules

  • An athlete is not allowed to lock in a leg scissor move in the neck, body, or head of the opponent player. 
  • Scissor moves are permitted only on the arms or legs.
  • Wrestlers are kept in a shot clock of thirty seconds if they are considered to be passive. In case any athlete could not score any points during these thirty seconds, then the opponent gets the points. However, the athlete with the passive gets a caution. 
  •  If a wrestler gets three cautions, he or she is disqualified. 

Final Words

Freestyle wrestling is a popular sport with some complex rules. This wrestling sport includes the moves of judo, traditional wrestling, and sambo. Both males and females can participate in this sport. If you find this article informative, drop a comment. 


rashmi saini

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