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Grappling Report: Mikey Musumeci to fight for first ONE Championship submission grappling title

A rundown of the biggest headlines and news from the world of competitive grappling.

It’s been a long time in the making, but the minds behind ONE Championship have just pulled the trigger on their submission grappling world titles. The promotion has been working hard to sign some of the greatest grapplers on the planet like Gordon Ryan, Mikey Musumeci, Tainan Dalpra, and many more. Now Musumeci will get the opportunity to become the first ONE champion as he faces Cleber Sousa for the inaugural Flyweight title.

He and Sousa share history together and have split both of their previous matches at black belt, with the record between them sitting at 1-1. This rubber match won’t take place until ONE on Amazon Video 2, but work is still going on in other divisions as well. Renato Canuto will be facing Tommy Langaker at ONE 160 and although no belt is on the line, the winner will be in prime position when matchmaking for the Lightweight title begins.

Injuries create new opportunities for ADCC 2022

As with any major tournament, injuries can often scupper plans for the athletes attending. With ADCC 2022 there will be almost a hundred competitors across seven divisions so naturally, changes will need to be made from time to time. When Jon ‘Thor’ Blank was forced out of the 88kg division, Pedro Marinho moved down in weight to replace him and a newcomer was given a huge opportunity at 99kg.

Luccas Lira Costa will be making his ADCC debut in a stacked division on relatively short notice, but it’ll be exciting to see what he can manage. Returning silver medallist Carina Santi was also forced to withdraw from the women’s over 60kg division and Elisabeth Clay has stepped in to replace her. Although Clay has been a dominant force on the IBJJF scene and is one of the top American prospects, this will also be her ADCC debut.

Aljamain Sterling gets controversial win at High Rollerz 18

High Rollerz is a promotion that has styled itself as an easygoing competitive grappling event with plenty of fun gimmicks throughout. At HR18, the promotion had a huge opportunity fall into their hands when UFC Bantamweight world champion Aljamain Sterling came to watch. He was eager to take a match on short notice and ended up competing against Damien Nitkin, who was actually in the middle of a tournament at the time.

Nitkin was happy to get the chance to compete against a UFC champion and he put up a good fight, but Sterling won the decision thanks to great guard-passing and solid top-pressure throughout. There was a controversial moment in the fight however where Sterling may have tapped to a toehold, and footage from an alternative angle appears to confirm it, but the match was allowed to continue on after Nitkin voluntarily released it.

Kayla Harrison earns spot in third PFL play-off final at PFL 9

The 2022 PFL season is almost over and PFL 9 saw four athletes book their place in the play-off final, putting them just one fight away from a million-dollar grand prize. While the PFL season has been full of surprises from start to finish, one fight in the women’s Lightweight division went exactly as expected. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Judoka Kayla Harrison continued her winning ways and her professional MMA record moved to 15-0.

Harrison hasn’t been in danger at any point in her career so far and had finished eleven of her opponents prior to this fight, with eight of them coming in the very first round. She stepped into the cage against Martina Jindrova and took her down almost immediately, demonstrating incredibly heavy top-pressure. From there Harrison secured an arm-triangle choke and forced her opponent to tap, putting her into the 2022 season final.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Quick Hits

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Five Guillotine variations

Large inside trip

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