Mikey Musumeci will now be facing a new challenge at ONE Fight Night 15 on October 6th, 2023 when he takes on grappling legend Shinya Aoki in an openweight match. Musumeci is stepping up in weight as he has generally stuck to competing at flyweight during his ONE Championship career, where he has become the promotion’s first submission grappling world champion. While it’s not as if Aoki is a huge competitor either, he has historically fought at heavier weight classes than Musumeci on multiple occasions.
Aoki has spent the majority of his professional MMA career competing at lightweight, where he has won multiple titles for a variety of different promotions. He has moved up and down beyond that though, competing as high as welterweight and as low as featherweight at various points in the past. Although he has spent the majority of his time competing in MMA, he became known for displaying fantastic grappling across his 59 professional fights. Aoki has also taken grappling matches many times in the past however, including a run at 77kg at ADCC 2005 and most recently taking Kade Ruotolo all the way to a decision at ONE 157.
Shinya Aoki has the clear advantage in experience as well as weight, as he has been a professional MMA fighter since Mikey Musumeci was just 7 years old and was competing against Marcelo Garcia and Roger Gracie before Musumeci turned 9. Obviously this means that Musumeci has youth on his side, but he also has been in much better form in recent years as well. Aoki is riding a two-fight losing streak in his MMA career and hasn’t won a grappling match since 2018, while Musumeci has gone undefeated for almost two years now and has put in some truly impressive title-defenses recently.
ONE Championship announced the news that Mikey Musumeci and Shinya Aoki would be competing in an openweight grappling match at ONE Fight Night 15 on October 6th, 2023 in a recent post to their official Instagram account: