Ranking Mikey Musumeci’s run in ONE Championship so far

Ranking Mikey Musumeci’s run in ONE Championship so far

Mikey Musumeci has been nothing but perfection in his run with ONE Championship.

The American grappler is the inaugural and reigning ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion and holds a perfect 4-0 record in the promotion.

‘Darth Rigatoni’ made his ONE Championship debut in April 2022 and has since run through everyone that the promotion put in front of him.

The legendary Masakazu Imanari, Cleber Sousa, Gantumur Bayanduuren, and most recently Osamah Almarwai all fell victim to the force of Musumeci’s submission holds.

While his spotless record does hold a ton of weight, his victories will always vary from the spectacular to the otherworldly.

That said, we’re here to rank Musumeci’s run and look back at his perfect run in ONE Championship so far.


#4. Cleber Sousa

Mikey Musumeci was put in a historic position heading into ONE on Prime Video 2 against old rival Cleber Sousa.

The pair already squared off against one another nearly five years before their fateful encounter for the ONE flyweight submission grappling world title. Sousa took the win against Musumeci in their first meeting in the 2017 IBJFF Pan American Championship’s gi category.

Musumeci avenged that loss, though, just a month later in the 2017 Abu Dhabi World Pro. Their meeting inside the circle ultimately gave them the opportunity to break that stalemate, as well as battle each other for a piece of history.

With the match carrying so much history behind it, Musumeci worked his hardest to secure a highlight reel submission.

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Sousa, though, was far too clever to fall for his old rival’s tricks.

Nevertheless, Musumeci mounted so much offense that Sousa eventually got himself locked in a couple of holds.

Ultimately it was ‘Darth Rigatoni’s constant pursuit of a finish, as well as an overall more aggressive game, that earned him the decision win to become the inaugural ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion.


#3. Gantumur Bayanduuren

After outsmarting his old rival Cleber Sousa for inaugural gold, Mikey Musumeci’s first world title defense was set up for the start of ONE Championship’s 2023 calendar at ONE Fight Night 6.

Standing across Musumeci was Mongolian fighter Gantumur Bayanduuren.

Musumeci knew that Bayanduuren was going to be a tough opponent, but he didn’t gauge just how tough the Combat Sambo world champion would be.

Right from the opening bell, Musumeci hunted Bayanduuren’s legs and eventually slapped in his signature “Mikey Lock”. The American star cranked as hard as he could to force Bayanduuren to submit, but the Mongolian star fought through all of it.

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Bayanduuren was under Musumeci’s control throughout the match that he barely had any offense. While his toughest and grit were admirable, his averse attitude towards tapping out ultimately cost him.

Musumeci ended up retaining the ONE flyweight submission grappling world title via unanimous decision, while Bayanduuren was rushed to the hospital after suffering multiple injuries to his leg.


#2. Masakazu Imanari

Mikey Musumeci was one of the most-hyped athletes to ever make his debut in ONE Championship.

A five-time BJJ world champion before signing with ONE Championship, Musumeci knew that he had his work would cut out for him the moment he made the walk to the circle.

Musumeci, though, made sure that all the hype was warranted.

Facing off against Japanese legend Masakazu Imanari, Musumeci near-guaranteed that his debut match at ONE 156 would be something to remember.

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Musumeci immediately pulled guard to essentially prevent Imanari from using his trademark leg transition, the aptly named Imanari Roll.

The pair would trade leg lock attempts in the first couple of minutes until Musumeci calmly passed and took mount position. Another pass and Musumeci found himself taking Imanari’s back to take the clinical rear-naked choke submission win.


#1. Osamah Almarwai

This may seem like recency bias, but make no mistake, Mikey Musumeci’s victory over Osamah Almarwai was truly otherworldly.

Musumeci fought in the United States for the first time since signing with ONE Championship and promptly put on a show in front of his home fans.

‘Darth Rigatoni’ also had the perfect opponent in Osamah Almarwai. The two are Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizards who are fully capable of putting on a high-octane show that would pull in even the most casual of viewers.

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Almarwai had a stellar run in 2022 wherein he became an IBJJ No-Gi world champion, but Musumeci is just another beast altogether.

Musumeci was aggressive right from the start and quickly had Almarwai under his control. The reigning ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion slapped in a tight leg lock early on, but the Yemeni star proved too gutsy for the submission hold.

After making a pass to take Almarwai’s back, it didn’t take long for Musumeci to sneak in and slap in a rear-naked choke for the submission win.


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