Mikey Musumeci was battling food poisoning leading up to his openweight submission grappling bout with Shinya Aoki at ONE Fight Night 15.
However, the flyweight submission grappling king still made his way to the ring and submitted the Japanese icon with his own “Aoki Lock” submission. It was an incredible performance from Musumeci that showed his guts and insane skill set.
“This is one of my biggest wins, I would say, for the fact that I did one of my favorite positions in modern jujitsu, the Aoki Lock, on Shinya, the creator of the position. [It’s] a position that I used when I competed in the gi and won many world titles is the straight foot lock. And a variation of the straight foot lock is the Aoki Lock. So I feel like the mastery of this position, you can’t get more mastery of the position than doing it on the creator of the position, right,” Musumeci told ONE.
It was a huge moment for “Darth Rigatoni.” Aoki has served as an inspiring figure for the American star, and getting to compete against him signified what he believes is an excellent representation of martial arts.
“He’s been competing since I was born, probably. He’s such a legend and I think this match and martial arts in general, is like the master passing the torch to the student. So in his generation, he inspired my generation, and then me defeating Shinya represents martial arts where the master passes it onto the next generation,” Musumeci mused.
“And I think that’s the beauty of martial arts. So that’s why it’s also special, this match, it represents how martial arts is, right?”
It was evident Musumeci was still dealing with his illness just a day before the matchup, as it took the American three attempts to make hydration for the bout, and the visible signs of discomfort wore on his face.
Once the bell rang, though, “Darth Rigatoni” looked like the pound-for-pound king he is.
“I just got goosebumps because I just thought about the food poisoning. I’m still very ill. I feel very lethargic right now, you know that infectious sick feeling. I still have that a lot right now,” Musumeci said.
“I don’t have that much energy. But I overcame it. I just put it in my mind that it doesn’t matter how you feel.”
In the weeks ahead of ONE Fight Night 15, Musumeci wasn’t just training his jiu-jitsu. He was training with some of the best Muay Thai strikers in Thailand, including Nong-O Hama.
After his latest win, Musumeci will stick around the country and head south with flyweight Muay Thai titleholder Rodtang Jitmuangnon. It is all a part of his plan to eventually try his hand at MMA.
“I’m going to go spend time now with Rodtang. We’re going to Southern Thailand. We’re going to his house there. He’s going to teach me and help me, so I have the best Muay Thai person in the world teaching me Muay Thai. I like the art,” the American star said.
“But I definitely am interested in MMA. Never Muay Thai because I’ll never be good enough for a Muay Thai fight. But definitely MMA. I feel like I can get to like a blue-purple belt level in Muay Thai, then I’ll be good for MMA.”
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