ONE Championship have just expanded their submission grappling roster by signing two of the best grapplers in the lighter weight classes, Lucas Pinheiro and Thalison Soares. The combat sports promotion has been steadily building a stable of some of the best grapplers on the planet from a variety of different disciplines and has managed to put together some fantastic title-fights over the last year or so. They’ve been busy putting together matches across several different weight classes with both male and female grapplers, but these latest two signings appear to be an effort to fill out one division in particular.
Mikey Musumeci is the reigning ONE Championship flyweight world champion and he’s been dominating everyone that the promotion have been able to put in front of him until now. He’s been so impressive in his performances in fact, that there’s now been talks of putting together a superfight between him and the promotion’s flyweight MMA world champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson. He’d cleaned out the division that ONE Championship had built around him, so a crossover match like this seemed like the next logical conclusion. Now it seems as though ONE Championship are putting in effort to set up that division with more title-challengers in the future with the recent signings of Lucas Pinheiro and Thalison Soares.
Pinheiro and Soares actually shared the roosterweight final of the IBJJF World Championship 2023 together, although Pinheiro was able to win by the thinnest of margins in order to claim gold. That was far from the first time that either man had reached the highest levels of the sport too, as Soares actually came into that match as the reigning champion after winning the division in 2022 and had previously won a no gi world title in 2019. While that victory secured Pinheiro’s first world championship gold medal in the gi, he did win the IBJJF no gi World Championship at light-featherweight in 2022. Soares has never competed against Musumeci before and Pinheiro is currently 0-2 against him, but either one of these men would make a fantastic challenger for the ONE Championship flyweight title.