Mikey Musumeci booked for ONE Championship debut against Masakazu Imanari

Top American black belt competitor Mikey Musumeci is set to make his ONE Championship submission grappling debut. On Friday, April 22 at ONE: Reloaded, Musumeci will take on MMA and grappling legend Masakazu Imanari. Musumeci joins the likes of Danielle Kelly and Andre Galvao as recent ONE Championship signees to compete in submission grappling.

The current Who’s Number One (WNO) bantamweight champion, is one of the best pound-for-pound grapplers on the planet in both gi and no-gi competition. After winning three black belt gi world titles from 2017-2019, Musumeci turned his attention to no-gi in 2021, defeating top competitors like Junny Ocasio and Geo Martinez. Musumeci’s successes in no-gi competition have earned him an invite to the 2022 ADCC World Championships.

Masakazu Imanari is a veteran of over 60 professional MMA bouts dating back to 2000. He is a grappling specialist; of his 39 wins, 28 are by way of submission. Currently 46 years old, Imanari last fought in October 2021, winning by first-round armbar.

In the grappling community, Imanari is of course known as the man that invented and/or popularized the “Imanari roll,” a technique that takes a fighter from standing directly into an inside heel hook leg entanglement. Watch Imanari himself demonstrate the move here.

ONE Championship submission grappling bouts consist of a single 12-minute round of submission-only grappling. In the event no submission occurs, the match is declared a draw.

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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