Shinya Aoki says there’s a big difference between grappling-exclusive matches and grappling in MMA
Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki returns to the Circle this Friday night for an openweight grappling superfight with reigning ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion, Mikey Musumeci.
The former ONE lightweight world titleholder has never shied away from stepping on the mat with some of the world’s most elite grapplers. After competing against the likes of Garry Tonon, Marat Gafurov, and Kade Ruotolo, ‘Tobikan Judan’ will step inside the Circle for the first time in 2023 to compete against Musumeci in an openweight submission showdown.
Speaking with ONE Championship ahead of his highly anticipated return, Shinya Aoki spoke about the key differences between submission grappling and the style of grappling typically seen in mixed martial arts matchups.
“Because my style of grappling is specialized for MMA, I think it’s a different style of grappling from the way other people do it today,” Aoki said. “Simply put, the difference between MMA and submission grappling is that MMA has strikes, so we could get hit, so we’ll go with positions where we don’t get hit.
“But with grappling, we don’t have strikes, so we have more choices of position than we do in MMA.”
Shinya Aoki has struggled to find the win column as of late, dropping his last three matchups, including back-to-back knockout losses against Yoshihiro Akiyama and Saygid Izagakhmaev in MMA. But if ‘Tobikan Judan’ can deliver a noteworthy performance against Mikey Musumeci at ONE Fight Night 15, it could go a long way in getting Aoki back on track.
Of course, that will be much easier said than done as he is set to square off with perhaps the greatest submission grappler in the sport today. How will Aoki’s BJJ skills hold up to that of Musumeci? There’s only one way to find out.
Amazon Prime Video subscribers in North America can catch all the action at ONE Fight Night 15 live and for free in U.S. primetime this Friday night, October 6.