Recapping Mikey Musumeci’s Flawless Run Through ONE Championship

Mikey Musumeci Osamah Almarwai ONE Fight Night 10 51

Already regarded as the greatest American-born Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor ever, reigning ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey Musumeci is now widely considered the planet’s top pound-for-pound grappler.

On Friday, August 4, the man known as “Darth Rigatoni” will return to action when he defends his gold against strawweight MMA kingpin Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks in the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 13: Allazov vs. Grigorian on Prime Video.

Their submission grappling matchup will be yet another opportunity for Musumeci to display his incredible BJJ techniques on a massive global platform.

Ahead of that highly anticipated World Champion vs. World Champion showdown, we look back at the 27-year-old’s magical run of dominance through four appearances in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Submits A Legend

Musumeci made his promotional debut in April 2022 at ONE 156 – and he entered with plenty of hype as a five-time IBJJF World Champion.

That night, the decorated black belt delivered in a big way, dominating and submitting iconic Japanese MMA fighter (and a legendary grappler in his own right) Masakazu Imanari with a rear-naked choke.

In a beautiful display of his all-around skill and aggressive submission-hunting abilities, Musumeci attacked from the guard, escaped his opponent’s vaunted leg locks, passed guard, and took the back to secure the match-ending choke.

After just four minutes of work, “Darth Rigatoni” had announced his presence in ONE’s rapidly expanding submission grappling divisions.

Defeats Former Foe To Claim Gold

Five months later at ONE on Prime Video 2, Musumeci returned to face Cleber Sousa – the first man to defeat him in the black belt ranks – with the inaugural ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title on the line.

The Brazilian came into the match in top form and loaded with confidence, as he looked to jump past Musumeci’s guard throughout the contest. 

But over the course of 10 high-paced minutes, the American kept his cool and proved over and over again that his complex open guard is a puzzle that virtually no man on earth can solve.

Ultimately, Musumeci was able to achieve stronger positions and mount more offense than Sousa, earning him the unanimous decision victory, revenge from the previous loss, and most importantly, the flyweight submission grappling gold.

Mangles A Sambo World Champion

Now the face of submission grappling in ONE, “Darth Rigatoni” next took on Combat Sambo World Champion Gantumur Bayanduuren at ONE Fight Night 6 in January of this year.

Clearly a step ahead of his Mongolian counterpart, Musumeci was in the driver’s seat from the opening bell, finding himself in position for his trademark “Mikey Lock” in the bout’s opening minutes.

Deep on one of the most dangerous leg locks in all of grappling, he cranked on Bayanduuren’s leg for minutes on end, twisting and contorting the limb more than 180 degrees.

Miraculously, though, the Mongolian refused to tap and somehow survived to the final bell.

Although he was unable to secure the tap, Musumeci retained his World Title and caused devastating, career-changing damage to Bayanduuren’s leg in a powerful showcase of BJJ technique.

Chokes Out A Fellow BJJ World Champion

This past May at ONE’s historic debut on U.S. soil in Colorado, the flyweight submission grappling king defended his belt against 2022 IBJJF No-Gi World Champion Osamah Almarwai in a matchup that many considered the toughest test of Musumeci’s ONE tenure.

The New Jersey native didn’t seem fazed by the pressure, though, and executed a picture-perfect game plan against the talented Yemeni debutant.

After attacking Almarwai with a bevy of leg locks early, Musumeci changed his approach to take his foe’s back and look for upper-body submissions. In a matter of seconds, he had snaked his way to “Osa’s” back and sunk in a rear-naked choke for the sensational finish.

That victory gave fans a taste of just how dominant Musumeci can be against one of the best competitors BJJ has to offer.

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