clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mikey Musumeci vs Masakazu Imanari set for grappling match at ONE

The five-time jiu-jitsu world champion will make his debut on the next ONE Championship card

Earlier this month it was announced that four-time jiu-jitsu world champion Mikey Musumeci had signed with Singapore based martial arts promotion ONE Championship. ONE has made a concerted effort to sign some of the world’s top grapplers including Andre Galvao, Gordon Ryan, Danielle Kelly, the Ruotolo brothers, and Tom DeBlass, among others. Their 10th anniversary ONE X card featured two submission grappling bouts as Andre Galvao took on Reinier de Ridder and Danielle Kelly took on Mei Yamaguchi.

The next ONE Championship submission grappling bout is now set, as Mikey Musumeci will make his promotional debut against Masakazu Imanari in a caged submission grappling bout on April 22nd at ONE: Reloaded.

Mikey Musumeci rose to grappling superstardom after becoming just the 4th North American jiu-jitsu athlete to win an IBJJF World Championship in the gi. Following his first gi world title in 2017, Mikey went on to win three more, becoming the first American athlete to win three titles. While most of Mikey’s training and competitions were with the gi, he spent much of 2021 venturing into no-gi jiu-jitu. He won the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds in 2016, but never fully committed to no-gi training and competition until this past year. Mikey competed under the Who’s Number One banner six times, compiling a 5-1 record with three submissions. He even developed a new heel hook variation that was appropriately dubbed the “Mikey Lock,” which he used to submit Richard Alarcon in a Who’s Number One event in October 2021.

Japanese martial arts legend Masakazu Imanari started his journey to stardom training in catch wrestling and kickboxing. After making his professional MMA debut in September 2000, Imanari went on to fight in some of the sports top promotions including DEEP, Pride, Dream, Rizin, and ONE Championship. With a current professional record of 39-20 with 28 submission victories, Imanari is widely recognized as one of the best submission artists in mixed martial arts history.

Not only has Imanari successfully applied his submission attacks to MMA, he’s also been credited with developing and popularizing much of the current leg lock systems that are so prevalent in today’s submission grappling scene. The “Imanari Roll,” a technique he used to spin under his opponent and land in a heel hook position, has been used by many of today’s best leg lock artists. Imanari has had submission grappling matches against Garry Tonon, Nicky Ryan, Ashley Williams, Ben Eddy, and David Garmo.

ONE Championship’s Reloaded card will be headlined by Regian Eersel defending his lightweight kickboxing world title against Arian Sadikovic.