‘Attack At All Times’ – Cleber Sousa Vows To Dial Up The Aggression Against Osamah Almarwai

Cleber Sousa faces Mikey Musumeci at ONE on Prime Video 2

Cleber “Clandestino” Sousa will be in pure submission-hunting mode at ONE 166: Qatar.

On Friday, March 1, the Brazilian will make his sophomore appearance in ONE at the historic event when he takes on Osamah Almarwai in an intriguing flyweight submission grappling tilt at the Lusail Sports Arena.

Sousa made his ONE debut in September 2022, dropping a high-paced decision to Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci in their battle for the inaugural ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title.

Since then, the 28-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has gone back to the drawing board and racked up several impressive victories on the elite BJJ circuit – including a win over 2022 IBJJF World Champion Meyram Maquine in his most recent outing. 

Sousa admits that his clash with Musumeci was the stiffest test of his career to date. But from that defeat, he learned an important lesson:

“My last fight was against Mikey Musumeci, and it was my hardest fight. It was my debut for ONE, and I was immediately fighting for the belt. I learned from this fight that I need to look for submissions more.”

At his core, Sousa is a true submission expert who’s capable of finding the finish from practically any position.

But in his showdown with Musumeci, he says he became too fixated on achieving the guard pass rather than chasing the submission. That included trying to score with a high-flying cartwheel and exciting summersault guard passes.

While that explosive approach earned Sousa gasps from the crowd, it wasn’t enough to secure the decision under ONE’s submission grappling rule set, which emphasizes legitimate submission attempts above all else:

“I kept trying to pass his guard to gradually progress my game, but with ONE rules, I don’t have time for that. I need to look for submissions soon. I need to attack at all times.”

Ahead of his return in Qatar, “Clandestino” is confident that he’ll make the tactical changes necessary to secure the finish – or if all else fails, ensure he wins via decision.

The key, he says, will be to attack for the finish whenever possible:

“Do not attack to gain position, but to submit. I understand that, and now I will have the opportunity to correct that mistake in my next fight for ONE.”

Sousa Says Experience Advantage Will Be Key Against Almarwai

While he’s eager to pick up his first victory in ONE, Cleber Sousa knows that Osamah Almarwai is also a former ONE World Title challenger and far from a pushover.

Indeed, the Yemeni-Saudi Arabian standout is the first-ever Middle Eastern IBJJF Black Belt World Champion, trains at the renowned Atos Jiu-Jitsu in the United States, and has consistently found himself atop the sport since receiving his black belt in early 2022.

The Brazilian certainly respects “Osa’s” overall skill set but also believes his game is too focused on scoring points to be effective in ONE.

Sousa explained:

“[Almarwai] is a very strategic athlete. It works very well based on the IBJJF rules, but these rules don’t fit very well with the ONE rules.

“In ONE there is no scoring, so I believe that if he comes with the same strategy, it won’t work in ONE. ONE’s jiu-jitsu is aggressive jiu-jitsu, and the jiu-jitsu he presents is strategic jiu-jitsu.”

For his part, “Clandestino” has been practicing BJJ since his early teens and has been a black belt since 2016.

With more than a decade of training under legendary coach Caio Almeida and gold medal performances at some of jiu-jitsu’s most prestigious events, Sousa is confident that his edge in experience will play dividends against Almarwai:

“I’ve been training for 13 years, and I’ve fought with the best in the world. I’ve trained with the best professors, so I believe I have much more experience than him.

“I don’t take away his merits, and the entire history he’s built in jiu-jitsu, but I believe I have much more background and experience than him, and I know I have a lot of jiu-jitsu to present in this fight.”

Sousa promises to have the submission at the forefront of his mind on March 1 and says fans can expect nonstop action for as long this flyweight submission grappling contest lasts.

And if everything goes to plan, he’ll be leaving the Lusail Sports Arena with a US$50,000 performance check in hand, too:

“I’m sure this fight will be a great show! Fans will be very excited watching this fight. And, of course, the end result will be my victory by submission, and I want to get the bonus.”

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