‘I’ve got a lot of surprises up my sleeve’ – Jarred Brooks plans to shock Mikey Musumeci

Jarred Brooks spoke about how he could spring the upset against Mikey Musumeci at ONE Fight Night 13.

Current ONE strawweight MMA world champion Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks knows he’s in for an uphill battle when he squares off with Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci this Friday at ONE Fight Night 13: Allazov vs. Grigorian on Prime Video.

Scheduled for 10 minutes of submission-only action, that match will be Musumeci’s third defense of his ONE flyweight submission grappling world title as he looks to maintain his unbeaten streak in ONE.

A talented wrestler, top-tier athlete, and veteran of 22 professional MMA fights, Brooks is a skilled grappler in his own right, but he has essentially zero high-level submission grappling experience and will likely be at a significant technical disadvantage against the five-time IBJJF world champion.

“The Monkey God” knows he won’t be the favorite on Friday night, but scoring an upset victory over a pound-for-pound great like Musumeci would be career-changing.

“I feel like I would need six months to get ready for Mikey,” Brooks said in an interview with ONE Championship. “You know, it was a little bit sooner for me and, even on three weeks’ notice, I can go in and possibly beat the best submission grappling artist ever.”

While Brooks is known for his bold trash talk and pre-fight antics designed to bother his opponents in MMA, he’s quick to show plenty of respect to his foe.

“I’d say his strengths are everywhere,” he said of Musumeci. “He’s known as the best grappler of all time. So, I think that he’s good everywhere. The dude practices 12 hours a day. So it’s a scary thought that you’re going against somebody that has that mental state and that prowess. But I know Mikey, and I know a lot of people that know Mikey, and like I said, I’ve got a couple of surprises for him.”

It’s unclear what those “surprises” might be, but if Brooks has one clear advantage over Musumeci, it’s that nobody outside of his camp knows how he operates in a pure submission grappling context. Meanwhile, there are hours upon hours of footage of “Darth Rigatoni” competing in BJJ and no-gi submission grappling.

With that footage available, Brooks knows that Musumeci will likely attack his legs early and often – a skill set at which the New Jersey native has excelled throughout his gi and no-gi careers.

“I’m defensively sound in ankle locks, as far as jiu-jitsu goes. It’s just that I haven’t really been put in those positions in mixed martial arts. So [I’m interested in seeing] what Mikey can do against somebody of my prowess.”

The key to avoiding Musumeci’s vaunted leg locks, says Brooks, will be proactively escaping any potentially threatening position.

“When he grabs on to something, you have to make sure that you’re twisting out of it quickly, making sure that your knee line gets out of his hip line,” Brooks said. “So, those are the things that I’m looking at as far as what Mikey has advantages of. But I’m telling you, I’ve got a lot of surprises up my sleeve.”

How Jarred Brooks thinks he could spring the upset

In terms of offensive attacks, the MMA star knows he’ll need to rely on his explosive athleticism to spring the upset.

Musumeci has been submitted just twice in his eight-year black belt career, and never when competing in his natural weight class.

With that in mind, Brooks admits that, outside of a surprise attack in the match’s opening seconds, he’s unlikely to secure a tap against Musumeci.

“I think that I get it done in the first 15 seconds,” he said. “Or if it goes the full route, I think that we’re just going to be learning to play and back and forth. Man, he’s just super slick. The dude doesn’t really get submitted. So the only way I see myself submitting him is getting something quick, and my speed and my agility, and my athleticism is going to play a big factor in this.”

A former collegiate wrestler and excellent takedown artist, “The Monkey God” sees his primary grappling advantage on the feet. And because ONE’s submission grappling rules disallow sitting to guard, Brooks looks forward to engaging with Musumeci in wrestling exchanges where he plans to rely heavily on his athleticism.

“I think that it will be the most successful on the feet. I mean, we’re starting on the feet. It’s not like he can butt scoot towards me. So, I think that that butt scooting stuff is for the birds in this matchup. And I think that I’m just going to be as athletic as possible.”

How to watch: ONE Fight Night 13: Allazov vs. Grigorian takes place on Friday, August 4, and will air live on Prime Video (free with Amazon Plus subscription) beginning at 8:00 PM ET.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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