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Nicky Ryan vs. Masakazu Imanari
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Nicky Ryan vs. Masakazu Imanari

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The Young Prodigy Takes The Win At Polaris!

This past weekend in Cardiff, Wales, BJJ fans were treated to a match between BJJ “prodigy” 17 year old Nicky Ryan and Japanese MMA and leglock legend, Masakazu Imanari.  The match was an exciting back and forth match, with each competitors attacking each other’s legs, before Nicky was able to take Imanari’s back and win by Rear Naked Choke in the final minutes of their match to become the Polaris lightweight champion.

Masakazu Imanari Biography

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Masakazu Imanari is an accomplished grappler and mixed martial artist who is universally known for his skill and preference for leglocks, earning him the nickname of “Ashikan Judan”- the Great Master of Leg Submissions.  One of his favorite moves is the heel hook, which he has created a unique entry from the stand up position to a forward roll, aptly named the "Imanari Roll" - which is a popular technique in both grappling competitions, as well as MMA fights (BJJ black belt and UFC fighter Ryan Hall has used this technique with great success in the UFC).

Imanari currently competes in the Featherweight division of One Championships.  He has been a professional fighter since 2000, fighting in DEEEP, ZST, Pancrase, Pride Fighting Championships and Cage Rage.  He is a former Cage Rage Featherweight Champion, DEEP Bantamweight Champion, two time DEEP Featherweight Champion, and DREAM Japan Grand Prix Finalist.  

Imanari was born on February 10, 1976 in Hadano, Kanagawa, Japan.  He was afflicted with a spinal condition as a child which required surgery three times.  At the age of 18, he began to train kickboxing and catch wrestling at the Fujiwara Dojo. He later moved to Antonio Inoki’s Universal Fighting Arts and Kingdom Ehrgeiz, where he trained shoot fighting and MMA under Hidetada Irie.  

Imanari received his A-Level Shoot wrestler (catch wrestling) status from Yuki Nakai under the Paraestra team and later received his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Marco Barbosa of Barbosa Jiu Jitsu.  In 2008, Imanari founded the Nippon Top Team with Japanese MMA stars Shinya Aoki and Satoru Kitaoka, and is currently a member of Team Roken.

Imanari’s Incredible MMA Career

Imanari has a MMA record of 57 total fights, with 37 wins (1 by knockout, 26 by submission, and 10 by decision), with 18 losses (4 by knockout, 14 by decision), and 2 draws.  

Through his 18 year fighting career, Imanari has had numerous fantastic wins and finishes, including defeating former UFC fighter Jorge Gurge and former WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown, both by heel hook.   He also became the Cage Rage World Featherweight Champion by defeating Robbie Olivier with a flying armbar, and defended his Cage Rage belt by winning by reverse heel hook against Jean Silva.

MMA Fights:  

10/26/2018

Win

Radeem Rahman

One Championship

Submission - Arm Bar

1/20/2018

Loss

Yusup Saadulaev

One Championship

Decision 

3/18/2017

Win

Juri Ohara

Deep

Submission -Heel Hook

10/18/2016

Win

Yoshihiko Shinzato

Deep

Submission -Heel Hook

8/27/2016

Loss

Jae Eun Byeon

Deep

Decision 

4/23/2016

Win

Nam Phan

Deep

Submission -Heel Hook

12/20/2015

Loss

Kazunori Yokota

Deep

Decision 

8/29/2015

Win

Mun Hwan Yang

Deep

Submission - Ankle Lock

5/30/2015

Win

Cristian Binda

VFC

Submission

4/5/2015

Win

Daisuke Maku

Deep

Submission - Arm Bar

2/8/2015

Win

Kenichi Ito

GrandSlam 2

Submission - Rear Naked Choke

10/26/2014

Loss

Mizuto Hirota

Deep

TKO/RSC 

8/23/2014

Win

Chan Jung Park

Deep

Submission - Heel Hook

6/22/2014

Loss

Haruo Ochi

Deep

TKO/RSC 

3/22/2014

Loss

Yuki Motoya

Deep

Decision 

2/16/2013

Win

Kenichi Ito

Deep

Decision 

8/18/2012

Win

Masahiro Oishi

Deep

Submission - Toe Hold

6/23/2012

Loss

Leandro Thomas Issa

One FC

Decision 

3/31/2012

Win

Kevin Belingon

One FC

Submission - Heel Hook

12/31/2011

Loss

Antonio Banuelos

Dream

Decision 

9/24/2011

Win

Abel Cullum

Dream

Submission - Arm Bar

7/16/2011

Loss

Hideo Tokoro

Dream

Decision 

5/29/2011

Win

Keisuke Fujiwara

Dream

Decision 

5/29/2011

Win

Kenji Osawa

Dream

Submission - Ankle Lock

2/25/2011

Loss

Hiroshi Nakamura

Deep

Decision 

10/24/2010

Win

Taiki Hata

Deep

Decision 

8/27/2010

Win

Tomoya Miyashita

Deep

Decision 

4/17/2010

Win

Isao Terada

Deep

Submission - Arm Bar

8/23/2009

Win

Tomohiko Hori

Deep

Decision 

5/26/2009

Loss

Bibiano Fernandes

Dream

Decision 

3/8/2009

Win

Atsushi Yamamoto

Dream

Decision 

8/17/2008

Win

Hiroshi Umemura

Deep

Submission - Heel Hook

5/19/2008

Loss

Dokonjonosuke Mishima

Deep

Decision 

3/8/2008

Win

Jean Silva

Cage Rage

Submission - Heel Hook

8/5/2007

Win

Jong Man Kim

Deep

Submission - Arm Bar

2/10/2007

Win

Robbie Olivier

Cage Rage

Submission - Arm Bar

10/10/2006

Win

Takeshi Yamazaki

Deep

KO

8/4/2006

Loss

Fredson Paixao

Deep

Decision 

12/2/2005

Win

Mike Brown

Deep

Submission - Ankle Lock

12/2/2005

Win

Yoshiro Maeda

Deep

Submission - Ankle Lock

10/28/2005

Win

Fabio Mello

Deep

Decision 

7/17/2005

Loss

Joachim Hansen

Pride

KO

2/12/2005

Draw

Yoshiro Maeda

Deep

Draw

12/18/2004

Win

Renato Tavares

Deep

Submission - Heel Hook

10/14/2004

Loss

Luiz Carvalho Jr.

Pride

Decision 

1/11/2004

Loss

Marcus Aurelio

ZST

Decision

11/23/2003

Win

Jorge Gurgel

ZST

Submission - Heel Hook

7/13/2003

Loss

Dokonjonosuke Mishima

Deep

TKO/RSC 

6/1/2003

Win

Danny Batten

ZST

Submission - Arm Bar

3/9/2003

Win

Erikas Petraitis

ZST

Decision 

9/29/2002

Win

Yuji Oba

Pancrase

Decision 

5/6/2002

Win

Tokusaburo Iwana

Premium Challenge

Submission - Heel Hook

 

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