How Does Junny Ocasio Match Up With Mikey Musumeci?

Mikey Musumeci, the young legend and the #1 ranked Bantamweight in the world, will take on Edwin “Junny” Ocasio, the #5 ranked Bantamweight. 

The 24-year-old prodigy is the first American to become a 4x Black Belt World Champion with a 46-4 record who has rarely been beaten in any format.

Can the 32-year-old #5 ranked 135 Ib No-Gi competitor in the world put the legend to rest? Or will he just be another competitor devoured by the pasta-loving Musumeci?  

On Friday, June 18th, at FloGrappling’s Who’s Number One (WNO), the two Americans clash. 

Let’s dive deeper to see how this match may play out. 

Mikey Musumeci

Record: 46-4-0

  • Height: 5’7” | Weight: 141.5 | Age: 24
  • Wins: 20 SUB, 3 decisions, 15 points, 8 Advantages, Losses: 1 SUB, 1 decision, 2 advantage 
  • Noticeable Wins: Lucas Pinheiro, Bruno Malfacine, Joao Miyao,
  • Noticeable Losses: Mahamed Aly
  • Current Ranking: #1 BantamWeight | Last match: Lucas Pinheiro

Fighter’s Weaknesses:

Fundamentally, Mikey Musumeci does not have significant flaws. He’s been competing and winning titles since he was a teenager and has shown great prowess in our sport.

That said, Mikey Musumeci has predominately competed in the IBJJF Gi circuit.

This means he’s used to a particular ruleset under specific conditions while training and competing in a Gi. 

During one of his interviews with FloGrappling, he claimed Gi and No-Gi were not significantly different and would not affect his game very much.

His claim is refuted, but when you compare the array of competitors in both scenes, many Gi players are not as proficient in No-Gi, vice versa. 

The only way we will measure the validity of Mikey’s assertion is if he beats Junny Ocasio. 

Mikey’s last two opponents, Lucas Pinheiro and Marcelo Cohen were Gi competitors transitioning into the No-Gi circuit.

Their background in the Gi means they probably focused more on positions and passing rather than finishing their matches with a submission. 

Neither Lucas Pinheiro and Marcelo Cohen strictly trained submission grappling, and neither of them were well-known submission hunters; Junny Ocasio is the polar opposite.

He’s a competitor who has a few years under his belt in the No-Gi arena, competing at big tournaments like Kasai Pro 6, Fight To Win, ADCC Trials, IBJJF No-Gi Pans.

Jonny is a blackbelt under Murilo Santana and is extremely submission-oriented.

In the combat art of submission grappling, Junny Ocasio is Mikey’s most formidable challenger yet. 

His main weakness will be overcoming the ruleset, the match conditions, and the style of play. 

I’d argue that experience trumps all other variables in grappling because experience translates to more time on the mat.

I.e., more time towards your 10,000 hours of mastery. 

And in this case, who you train with, how you train, and ultimately, what your goals are during practice will dictate how successful you are during a match under a specific ruleset. 

Other than Gordan Ryan and Kaynan Duarte, there are not many individuals who pretty much win everything, regardless of the ruleset. 

In Mikey’s case, his “IBJJF” mindset may be ill-equipped to handle a submission-oriented competitor like Junny Ocasio.

Fighter’s Strengths:

Mikey Musumeci is proficient in many areas of grappling, but during his legendary stint in the BJJ Gi scene, he heavily relied upon Berimbolos and Crab rides.

If you analyze Mikey’s record, 43% of his wins come via submission, which means he’s highly proficient at breaking mechanics. 

And many of his submission finishes come via an ankle lock variation which is a technique that translates well into the submission grappling circuit, 

Breaking mechanics are fundamental in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. Therefore, the athletes who are well-versed in them have an advantage over those who aren’t. 

Combined with Mikey’s proficiency in positional pressure and transitions, he’s a force to be reckoned with. 

Although it’s in the Gi, if you watch his match against Muhamed Ali, a heavyweight whose 6’4, 250 pounds, he efficiently uses his transitions to sweep Ali as well as almost taking his back three times.

Although Mikey lost this match by an advantage, just being 140 Ibs and almost beating another world champion whose 100+ pounds heavier than you is extremely difficult

Junny Ocasio

Record: 17-10-3

  • Height: 5’6” | Weight: 141.5 | Age: 32
  • Wins:  6 SUB, 4 decisions, 6 points, 1 Other, 
  • Losses: 4 SUB, 3 points, 2 Other, 1 Decision, 
  • Noticeable Wins: Geo Martinez, John Calestine, Lucas Pinheiro, Masakazu Imanari
  • Noticeable Losses: Kennedy Maciel, Joao Miyao, Geo Martinez, Jon Calestine 
  • Current Ranking: #5 BantamWeight | Last match: Carlos Alberto Oliveira da Silva

Fighter’s Weaknesses: 

It’s safe to say, Junny Ocasio’s bread and butter are lower body entanglements, specifically inside heel hooks and Z locks.

But the main weakness in any leg locker’s game is that attacking lower body submissions expose your back to counter attacks or your heels to counter leglocks. 

Many of Junny’s submission wins are against opponents who aren’t proficient in leg entanglements. 

Compared to Junny’s wins and losses against guys proficient in leglock defense, such as Geo Martinez, Jon Calestine, Kennedy Maciel, his A-game is either hindered or completely shut down. 

Junny favors attacking the right leg of his opponents when they step in to pass his guard. He enjoys Reverse Dela Riva variations into inversions (Berimbolo style) into leg entanglements.

If you watch his match against Kennedy, his A-game is quickly neutralized while Kennedy attempts to pass his guard.

Eventually, Maciel successfully passes the guard of Junny Ocasio by stacking him on his shoulders.

This is uncomfortable, so Junny started scrambling out and made a mistake… seconds later, Kennedy Maciel got the armbar finish. 

Junny Ocasio is most certainly not a one-trick pony who relies on leg locks, but he does not utilize his other skills efficiently against higher-level opponents— emphasis on higher level. 

Fighter’s Strengths:

Junny Ocasio is a BJJ stalwart who shocked the world at Kasai Pro 6 when he took 2nd place, defeating Geo Martinez, Jon Calestine, and grappling legend Masakazu Imanari. 

Junny is not proficient in every area of Jiu-Jitsu, but he does train at Unity Jiu-Jitsu in New York City.

So, what does this mean?

He trains at one of the best Berimbolo schools in the world. He drills leglocks with Eddie Cummings and pressure passing with Murilo Santana.

And these skills are reflected in many of his matches. 

Although Junny favors leglocks, he switches his style when he goes against someone else who also prefers them.

He stops trying to leglock them and immediately resorts to his passing, which he successfully implemented on Calestine and Imanari.

So, Mikey should not take him lightly. 

That Said, Junny will lose to Mikey

I forecast Mikey will immediately sit guard, forcing Junny to apply his passing.

Junny will realize Mikey’s guard is too hard for him to pass, and he will jump back for a heel hook. 

The problem with doing this is that Mikey’s counter-foot attacks and timing are too proficient for Junny to handle, so Junny will be on guard, ready to scramble out.

If he does not scramble out, he will get submitted via ankle lock or heel hook. 

As soon as he does, Mikey will start transitioning to the top position, either side control or mount. 

Mikey has an array of finishes from this dominant position, but I doubt Junny will let Mikey finish a mounted triangle or kimura.

Ultimately, Mikey will either finish Junny with an armbar or take his back and submit him via rear-naked strangulation. 

Another way this could go is that Junny sits guard first, forcing Musumeci to pass. Junny will go for his signature Berimbolo transition, but this is a technique that Mikey made famous.

During Junny’s inverted transition, Mikey will either pass his guard or sit back for his counter foot lock. If Mikey chooses to sit back, Junny only has two options:

  1. Counterattack with his foot lock
  1. Focus on escaping 

If he chooses option A, he won’t win against a world-class tactician like Musumeci. So, he will opt-in for option B and, by doing so, will be forced to focus on retreat. 

By focusing on retreating, he will give up points while scrambling to escape Mikey’s leg attacks. 

In this case, the judges will score Mikey Musumeci, the winner, via points. 

But either way, Junny Ocasio does not really “lose” because he’s going up against a legend.

… But I could be wrong.

Junny could surprise us all by submitting Mikey via inside heel hook or Z lock kneebar.

Although it’s statistically unlikely he does, if he can surprise Musumeci by attacking him with a barrage of leg locks, causing Mikey to panic, the legend’s run may come to an end. 

But remember before the child prodigies: Tye Ruotolo, Nicky Ryan, or Mica Galvao, there was Mikey Musumeci.

The original prodigy who got the fastest submission in the history of the IBJJF World Black Belt finals.

That’s my prediction, what’s yours?

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“After graduating in May 2018 with a B.S. in Cyber Security, Max Takaesu Hsu decided to pursue Martial Arts as his path. He began training at the legendary Renzo Gracie Academy. Two years later after spending countless hours on the mats with numerous high level competitors and world champions, like the Danaher Death Squad, he decided to travel the world. This digital nomad goes by the nom de plume, the Wandering Warrior Poet and, is currently working from Kyiv, Ukraine. Over the past 18 months, he has trained and lived in Turkey, Japan, Honolulu, and Serbia. You can follow the Wandering Warrior Poet on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.”


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