Veteran Japanese legend and two-division DEEP Champion Masakazu Imanari was a fan of professional wrestling growing up, and would imitate the moves he saw with his older brother. When he was 17 years old, this interest led him to sign up at a local gym, where he first embarked on his martial arts journey with kickboxing.
Imanari stepped into the cage for the first time in 2000 at age 24, but competed to a draw. However, he soon found victory and success, spending the majority of his illustrious career in Japanese promotion DEEP, where he won three championship titles across two divisions. He also made forays in PRIDE, DREAM, ZST, and ONE Championship.
One of the most feared submission grapplers in the world, Imanari is a BJJ black belt who is especially effective with his heel hook set-ups and finishing ability. After a five-year hiatus, he made his way back to ONE Championship after another impressive slew of submission success, and resumes his pursuit of the ONE Bantamweight World Title.