MMA fighting styles

“It’s definitely something new for me”

Mikey Musumeci has only fought inside the circle twice, but he quickly adapted to it and used that newfound strength to become the first ONE flyweight submission wrestling world champion.

The grappling scholar has taken a unanimous decision against rival Cleber Sousa to become the first ONE Championship Submission Grappling World Champion to ONE on Prime Video 2: Xiong vs. Lee III at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Musumeci already had five IBJJF world titles before coming to ONE earlier this year and they all fought on a mat.

ONE Championship submission grappling matches, like any of its other sports, are played inside the circle, which gives a new and distinct atmosphere during BJJ matches.

Instead of going out of bounds, athletes are now forced to use the cage wall to their advantage.

Mikey Musumeci said he likes to fight in a cage because it prevents his opponents from running away. Although it was new to him at first, all ‘Darth Rigatoni’ had to do was acclimate to the cage and eventually incorporate it into his repertoire.

He said at the post-fight press conference:

“Honestly, I like the circle wall because it’s harder for the person to run away, there’s no out of bounds. So that keeps us within limits. I actually prefer the circular wall, but it’s definitely a new thing for me. And I just have to adapt over time. It takes me a while to adjust to things, but I’m fine.

Musumeci and Sousa were 1-1 in their previous matches in ONE on Prime Video 2, but it was Musumeci’s fight and he won a tough unanimous decision against his Brazilian contemporary.

The self-proclaimed nerd was the aggressor for much of the contest, while Sousa was a little hesitant and just tried to secure some leg locks.

The pair previously faced off in 2017 and their stalemate lasted half a decade before crossing paths again inside the circle.

Mikey Musumeci highlights the difference between traditional grappling and MMA

Mikey Musumeci has been practicing submission grappling for over two decades now and this exposure to the sport has made him one of the most discerning minds in BJJ.

While it may sound similar to casual audiences, Musumeci said there are still unmistakable differences between traditional grappling and that used in mixed martial arts.

In a previous interview with ONE Championship, Musumeci said that MMA fighters need to focus on multiple fighting styles while BJJ performers only focus on grappling.

“MMA fighters have to focus on the variable of getting hit. So they have a different element to focus on. So I feel like they have to get a little more technical in some ways with their framing and their stuff and get hit, but then they don’t have to focus on other things that people in jiu- jitsu focus. I just feel like it’s a little bit different in some variables like that,” Mikey Musumeci said.

Profile Picture