Mikey Musumeci Aims To Show ‘What Jiu-Jitsu Stands For’ By Submitting Much Larger Shinya Aoki

Mikey Musumeci Jarred Brooks ONE Fight Night 13 49

On October 6 at ONE Fight Night 15: Tawanchai vs. Superbon on Prime Video, reigning flyweight submission grappling kingpin Mikey Musumeci will take on literally the biggest challenge of his ONE tenure.

That night in U.S. primetime, the man known as “Darth Rigatoni” will give up more than 30 pounds in size to battle former ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in an openweight submission grappling clash that has intrigued fans around the globe.

Widely regarded as one of the most dangerous submission artists to ever compete in MMA, Aoki is no stranger to the elite grappling scene, previously competing at the prestigious ADCC World Championships and a trio of ground battles in ONE.

In his most recent submission grappling outing, the Japanese legend went the distance with current ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo, one of the planet’s top pound-for-pound grapplers.

That contest proved to Musumeci – also one of the top grapplers in any weight class – that he will be facing a very difficult test in Aoki.

The American told onefc.com:

“Kade Ruotolo, the 170-pound champion, fought him and couldn’t finish. So I’m going up in weight and fighting a guy that the champion couldn’t finish. Shinya is a tough guy to finish, so it’s gonna be a very interesting match.”

Never one to shy away from a new challenge, “Darth Rigatoni” is motivated by the size difference between him and Aoki.

At its core, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about using proper mechanics and precise positioning to overcome any strength disadvantages – something the 27-year-old is eager to demonstrate in Bangkok, Thailand:

“I’m on this path where I want to have the most technical finishes that I can, where I use my body to the maximal way to get the amount of leverage I need to finish a guy bigger than me. So it’s definitely a puzzle for me, and it definitely makes it like a cool science experiment. Will my submission mechanics be efficient enough to finish a guy bigger than me like Shinya?”

Musumeci’s ultimate goal is to grow the sport of submission grappling and jiu-jitsu, so his matchup with “Tobikan Judan” is a massive opportunity to display the true essence of his martial art.

The New Jersey native said:

“I think that I’m able to really show the art of jiu-jitsu when I compete, and that’s what I want to show in this match. And I wanna show it against a bigger opponent, which is what jiu-jitsu stands for – being able to defeat someone bigger than you.”

Musumeci Says Perfect Mechanics Are Needed To Submit Aoki

Mikey Musumeci is never satisfied with winning by decision. For him, anything less than a submission victory is a failure.

Against a seasoned veteran like Shinya Aoki, the BJJ superstar knows that securing a finish – whether from his trademark “Mikey Lock,” a classic rear-naked choke, or anything else – will be an immense task. 

But for the past couple of years, since switching his focus from gi jiu-jitsu to no-gi submission grappling, the five-time IBJJF Black Belt World Champion has put a special emphasis on his finishing mechanics.

He explained:

“My technical ability in finishing submissions, that’s what I’ve been working so hard for in no-gi once I made the transition. 2021 was like my first year competing in no-gi. So it’s been about two years now that I’ve been working really hard in no-gi, and yeah, it’s a lot different than the gi because you have to have perfect finishing mechanics to finish people.”

Musumeci’s hard work has paid off, as he’s finished his last two ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title matches inside the distance.

However, Aoki has never once been submitted in his 58-fight professional MMA career. Given the Japanese icon’s defensive prowess and his size advantage in this battle, “Darth Rigatoni” believes that achieving a submission on October 6 would be a huge feather in his cap.

Musumeci added:

“It would say a lot about all my finishing mechanics and that they’re on point, you know, that I’m technically on point with my finishing mechanics. Because again, I do not have a strength advantage against Shinya.”

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