Lucas Pinheiro and Thalison Soares sign to compete in ONE Championship submission grappling

IBJJF world champions Lucas Pinheiro and Thalison Soares have signed to compete in ONE Championship’s submission grappling.

Singapore-based martial arts promotion ONE Championship continues to grow its roster of submission grapplers, and recently added a pair of elite black belts. 

On Wednesday, the organization announced that it had signed recent IBJJF world champion Lucas Pinheiro, as well as 2022 world champion Thalison Soares. As roosterweights, both men could be future contenders for reigning ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion Mikey Musumeci.

A longtime Atos representative, Pinheiro enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in the IBJJF ranks, winning gold at all but one grand slam event in both gi and no-gi competition. He most recently earned his first and only black belt world title, defeating Soares by an advantage in the final of the roosterweight division. Pinheiro subsequently announced his retirement from competition, but that retirement would appear to be short-lived.

Throughout his career, Pinheiro built a reputation for being one of the sport’s best pressure passers, particularly for the roosterweight division. He earned some early notoriety as the first athlete to pass Musumeci’s guard in black belt competition – although he would eventually lose that 2016 match on points. 

Pinheiro rematched with Musumeci in 2021 in no-gi, suffering a heel hook loss at a Who’s Number One event.

Formerly of the Cicero Costha team and a frequent visitor to Unity Jiu-Jitsu, Soares now represents Art of Jiu-Jitsu. In 2022, he enjoyed his best year of competition yet, winning gold at the IBJJF Europeans, Pans, and Worlds.

Unlike Pinheiro, Soares owns a much more typical, guard-focused game for a roosterweight. And while he tends to compete more in the gi than in no-gi, Soares has never faced Musumeci in competition and could present an interesting challenge for the titleholder.

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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