Masakazu Imanari wins MMA bout via armbar at 48 Years old

Japanese grappling sensation, Masakazu Imanari made a triumphant return to professional MMA. He faced off against Kazumasa Majima in the co-main event of RIZIN Landmark 8 on February 24th, 2024.

Despite reaching the age of 48 merely two weeks before the bout, Imanari has chosen to defer retirement. Also, he ended up winning the match via armbar submission.

Imanari’s extraordinary MMA journey spans over two decades, boasting an impressive 63 professional match. Renowned as a Class-A Shootist and a BJJ black belt, Imanari has strategically utilized his unparalleled grappling skills to clinch victories against top-tier MMA competitors. He has also created his signature Imanari roll.

Imanari started his professional journey in 2000, quickly making waves in the regional MMA scene in Japan. Despite an initial record of 5-2-1, Imanari gained recognition for his exceptional command over leglocks, earning him a chance to compete in PRIDE.

Although his debut in the promotion faced setbacks, he continued to win in DEEP. Imanari ended up securing the inaugural featherweight world championship through a tournament.

Imanari defended his title multiple times, adding the Cage Rage featherweight championship to his accolades. Not stopping there, he ventured into a lower weight class, claiming the DEEP bantamweight title. His foray into the DREAM bantamweight and featherweight grand prix tournaments showcased his skills. However, he was unable to repeat his success.

By the time he stepped into the ONE Championship arena in 2012, Imanari possessed an enviable 25-10-2 professional MMA record. Despite going 1-1 in his initial stint, he later returned to DEEP to recapture the featherweight title.

In 2018, Imanari returned to ONE Championship and amasse a 2-3 record. Although his last MMA bout occurred at Road to ONE 3, he continued to showcase his skills in professional grappling.

Migrating to a new promotion, he made his RIZIN FF debut in 2021. He has secured a 1-3 record since then. One of his most memorable grappling encounters unfolded against Mikey Musumeci at ONE 156, resulting in a submission loss.

Imanari’s co-main event clash with Kazumasa Majima at RIZIN Landmark 8 marked his first bout in over a year. His recent win proves that even at 48 years old, he is a menace in the cage.