Mikey Musumeci Taps Masakazu Imanari To Stun In ONE Championship Debut, Wins $50K Bonus

Mikey Musumeci had a memorable ONE Championship debut at ONE 156.

Mikey Musumeci Submits Masakazu Imanari
Mikey Musumeci Submits Masakazu Imanari - Image via @onechampionship Instagram
  • Mikey Musumeci submitted legendary grappler Masakazu Imanari in his maiden ONE Championship performance
  • The four-time Jiu-jitsu champion was thrilled to have earned a performance bonus

ONE Championship 156 was headlined by kickboxing champion Regian Eersel and vicious striker Arian Sadikovic but it was Mikey Musumeci who stole the show. The four-time IBJJF World Champion squared off with renowned grappler Masazaku Imanari and scored a sensational rear-naked choke win.

How Musumeci took down a legend

Lifting the lid on his spectacular performance, Musumeci detailed how he was able to submit a leg lock legend in Imanari, who was also rewarded with points for his ankle lock submission attempts. 

According to Musumeci, he relied on his superb jiu-jitsu and was able to work Imanari’s back. He then “slipped” his hand to the side of the Japanese’s neck and went for the choke after tactfully studying the movement of his opponent’s shoulder and chin.


“I was working from the back,” Musumeci recalled in post fight interview. “I trapped one arm. And then I was working to lift his chin. So, in jiu-jitsu, we don’t have strikes to hit the head when they tuck their chin… So when the chin tucks, the shoulders go down. So I slipped my hand to the side of his neck. So when I get to the side of the neck, I start to raise the chin, cause I raise their shoulders. So when the shoulders go up, the chin goes up. And when their chin is down, their shoulders go down.”

Grateful to ONE Championship

After the fight, ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong rewarded Musumeci a $50k performance bonus for his impressive showing. 

The 25-year-old was deeply touched by Sityodtong’s gesture and revealed how the promotion’s boss has played a huge role in his life.

“My grandma died, like a month ago,” he revealed. “So I stopped competing for a few weeks and this is my first competition back after my grandma. So to be here fighting to make the money I just made, I’m just so honored, you know. When my grandma died, [ONE CEO] Chatri [Sityodtong] was one of the people that was messaging me, giving me the most support out of anyone. He really got me again focusing on training and now I’m here living and training in Singapore. In another continent. And just being around so many great people, I’m blessed. Thank you so much, Mr. Chatri. Thank you.”

With a remarkable win over a legend, Musumeci is expected to be one of the future stars of ONE Championship.

Published on April 25, 2022 at 8:18 am
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