Four time IBJJF World Champion Mikey Musumeci made his ONE Championship debut on Friday against leg lock pioneer Masakazu Imanari. Musumeci signed with the organization in March, as the Singapore-based promotion continues to build its roster of world-class grapplers. Current grapplers on the roster include Andre Galvao, Gordon Ryan, Tom DeBlass, Danielle Kelly, and the Ruotolo brothers. MMA fighters who made transitions from grappling to MMA such as Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Garry Tonon, and Yuri Simoes are also signed with the promotion. The bout was scheduled for 12 minutes with submission only rules. If it were to end with no submission, the athlete with the most legitimate submission attempts would win.
Mikey started the bout was pulling guard, scooting towards Imanari while looking to engage his legs. Being a leg lock specialist himself, Imanari chose to sit back and attack a straight ankle lock rather than try to pass Mikey’s guard. The straight ankle leg scored as the first submission attempt of the match. Mikey freed his leg and transitioned to an ankle lock of his own and was also awarded with a submission attempt. Imanari escaped and attacked an inside heel hook and then another straight ankle lock.
Mikey freed his knee line from Imanari’s second straight ankle lock and worked his away around the guard to side control. He almost immediately went to the mount. In one of the most beautiful transitions of the match, Mikey gave Imanari some space in the mount. As Imanari got to his side, Mikey dove behind him to secure the back. From there he trapped Imanari’s arm in the body triangle and worked his way under the neck, getting the tap from a rear naked choke with 7:51 remaining in the match.
After the win, an emotional Mikey Musumeci was awarded a $50k bonus for his efforts.
Mikey even got to work with former ONE and UFC flyweight champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson backstage at the event as the two exchanged techniques from the back position.