ONE Championship features world-class martial artists from a multitude of styles, and from every corner of the globe – including some of the most commanding grapplers on the planet.
The world’s largest martial arts organization’s grappling specialist have backgrounds in wrestling, sambo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, pankration, judo, and more, but it takes a special athlete to be as dominant in the Circle under the global ruleset as they are on the mat.
These are five of the most dominant grapplers currently active on the global stage – the men with the fastest takedowns, the most powerful slams, and the most smothering top control.
#1 Bibiano Fernandes
Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes is the most dominant World Champion in ONE history, and his success was built on his fearsome ground game.
The multiple-time BJJ World Champion has adapted his grappling skill set perfectly to mixed martial arts – whether he is attacking with explosive takedowns or shutting down his rivals’ offense on the canvas.
Of Fernandes’ 11 victories in The Home Of Martial Arts, six have come by way of decision thanks to his ability to dominate from top position, unleash his ground and pound, and constantly threaten with submission attacks.
He has also registered three submission finishes to prove that he can and will finish inside the distance when he gets an opportunity.
#2 Marat Gafurov
Marat “Cobra” Gafurov hails from Dagestan, which is famous for producing some of the foremost ground game specialists in mixed martial arts. However, unlike many of his people, he practiced a predominantly striking art, first.
“Cobra” took up wushu as a teen, but then found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he cross-trained with pankration and sambo. He later trained with elite wrestlers to round out his formidable skill set to begin a career in his new sport.
The former ONE Featherweight World Champion bulldozed his way to the gold with unstoppable takedowns, phenomenal ground control, and a rear-naked choke that was almost impossible to prevent.
#3 Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev
Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev is another ONE athlete that hails from Dagestan. The lightweight star went to a boarding school that specialized in combat sports, and excelled in boxing and wushu.
However, at 14, he moved to Turkey and started training in mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He earned numerous accolades in “the gentle art,” before he turned his attention to professional competition in the ONE Circle – where his approach is anything but gentle.
“Dagi” has dispatched some of his opponents with his powerful strikes, but he has shown he can be equally as explosive in the wrestling exchanges. He is capable of picking his rivals up and throwing them around the canvas like few other athletes, and once he gets a match-up where he wants it, his striking and submission threat makes for a dual threat that no one has been able to withstand.
#4 Shuya Kamikubo
Shuya “Stealth” Kamikubo was a high-level judoka throughout his college years after practicing “the gentle way” for most of his life. Inspired by his compatriot and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, he shifted his focus to mixed martial arts.
The rising Japanese star has swarmed and smothered every opponent he has faced on the global stage for martial arts with his relentless pursuit of the takedown and smothering command on the mat.
He uses his judo background to apply heavy pressure on his grounded foes, and ties them up with leg rides – much like Aoki – so he can strike and punish them with ease.
It's a classic grappler vs. striker showdown when American warrior James Nakashima meets Brazilian bruiser Luis Santos on Friday! Predictions? Manila | 12 April | 6:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, 8 April 2019
The United States Of America’s James Nakashima began wrestling at the age of 7. He excelled in a singlet throughout his youth and competed for the prestigious University Of Nebraska Cornhuskers team.
His move to Nebraska also widened his scope to other grappling arts, and he sought out jiu-jitsu and other submission-based styles to give him an edge on the mats.
This led him to mixed martial arts, where he has become one of the premier offensive wrestlers in the sport. Few welterweights in The Home Of Martial Arts can match his ability to hit takedowns and maintain dominant positions. On current form, it looks like it will be a case of when, rather than if he will grind his way to a World Title shot.