Creativity is king in submission grappling, and Mikey Musumeci is no doubt one of the most innovative technicians in the world today.
The reigning ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion will be defending his throne for the second time at the promotion’s historic United States on-site debut at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs Moraes III.
Amazon Prime Video subscribers in North America can witness Musumeci’s world title defense against Osamah Almarwai live in US primetime and free of charge.
At just 26 years old, Musumeci is already one of the true masters of the grappling arts. The modern-day jiu-jitero brings forth a uniquely intricate approach, adding his own twist to some textbook Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques.
‘Darth Rigatoni’ displayed his sophisticated yet highly effective game when he choked out the legendary Masakazu Imanari in his promotional debut. Musumeci performed beautiful transitions and slick passes before locking in that fight-ending rear-naked choke.
While the Evolve MMA superstar has every submission imaginable in his arsenal, he has perfected three signature moves in his decorated grappling career.
Check out Mikey Musumeci’s three favorite submissions:
#3. Back triangle
The standard BJJ triangle choke setup is already quite technical, but Musumeci takes it up a notch with a nifty back triangle version.
Without the added grips and leverage that gi matches bring, ‘Darth Rigatoni’ gravitated to this variant and found a lot of success with it in no-gi.
The New Jersey native typically sets this up from the back mount, keeping his foes in position with a standard seatbelt grip. From there, he switches to a kimura grip to isolate the nearest hand and puts pressure by driving his knees to his opponent’s shoulder.
Once the arm is trapped, Musumeci raises his hips to lock the triangle. If that doesn’t get the job done, the American turns it into a double submission by chaining it with an armbar for a brutal finish.
#2. Straight ankle lock
The straight ankle lock is usually the first leg attack learned by white belts for its simple concept that reaps devastating results.
Even as he rose up the ladder of the BJJ scene, Musumeci kept this seemingly beginner-friendly technique and found success with it on the world stage. In fact, ‘Darth Rigatoni’ even made history when he tapped Rodnei Barbosa in the black belt finals of the 2019 IBJJF Worlds Championship.
After establishing his hooks from the De La Riva guard, it took just 12 seconds for Musumeci to get the tap.
The flyweight submission grappling king sets this up by forcing his opponents to shift their hips, defend, and put their entire weight on the glutes.
Musumeci then simply falls back and pulls, using his elbows to push his foe’s ankles in a downward motion. It’s practically game over once Musumeci arches his back, brings his shoulders down to the mat, and pushes his opponent’s knee with his opposite arm.
#1. Mikey Lock
What makes Musumeci one of a kind is his ability to add more dimensions to existing submissions.
The 26-year-old adds new wrinkles to some classic moves, making them his own using modifications perfectly suited to his body type. For instance, ‘Darth Rigatoni’ created an even deadlier version of the game-changing heel hook, aptly dubbed ‘The Mikey Lock’.
Instead of typically using the arm and placing the foot below the armpit, Musumeci discovered he could add more torque by putting the foot beside his neck instead. This seemingly unorthodox tweak pushes the heel bone further to apply tremendous pressure on the foot and the knee.
Need a reminder of just how destructive that submission hold is? Rewatch ‘Darth Rigatoni’ latest world title defense against Gantumur Bayanduuren.
While the Mongolian refused to tap out of stubbornness and bad judgment, the damage was evident as doctors likened the extent of his injuries to someone in a motorcycle accident.