The Evolution Of The Imanari Roll In MMA & BJJ

Marvin Castelle's Imanari Roll In Slo-Mo
The Fight to Win train keeps on trucking with a killer card tonight LIVE from Denver Colorado. Fight to Win Pro 26 features UFC veterans Eliot Marshall and Renato 'Babalu' Sobral in a heavyweight main event. Also featured on the card are stand out black belt matchups John Combs vs Steve Patterson, Rossie Snow vs Beth Kolanowski and much more! Sign up today to watch!


The Imanari roll showed up in a big way this week here on FloGrappling when Marvin Castelle hit the highlight reel move at Fight to Win Pro 24. Since Saturday the now infamous video has garnered over 10 million views and counting. Of course the 10th Planet brown belt wasn't the first to hit the spectacular takedown but it sure was one of the smoothest finishes we've seen in a very long time.

Ryan Hall, Jeff Glover and many others have been know to throw this flashy technique during competition but where exactly did the 'Imanari Roll' come from and how did we get here?null

Perhaps during Pankration there was a small unassuming Athenian rolling all over the cobblestone arenas of Ancient Greece, astonishing audiences with their own version of the Imanari roll. While it's origins continue to be up for debate, what we do know is that the name sake of the Imanari roll, Masakazu Imanari has been developing unorthodox leg entries since the early 1990's.

'Ashikan Judan' himself has been fighting MMA in Japan and all over the world from the time he was 18 years old. Ever since Imanari has been putting his unorthodox style of grappling on display for the world to see. Although flashy, his style was at first greeted with much dismay. Many in mainstream MMA referred to Imanari's techniques as 'flopping' or ineffective.

If at first competitors and analysts were reluctant to see the benefits of Imanari's grappling approach they were forced to pay attention when he started to find success over and over again. The Master of Leglocks has over fifty professional fights in his hall of fame career, and has ended 11 of those bouts by way of heelhook. A staggering number for such an otherwise rare submission.


As Imanari continued to rack up highlight reel submissions it's effectiveness in MMA continued to be expounded upon. These days the Danaher Death Squad are among the most notable building on to the techniques that Imanari brought to the table. Even high level strikers like Rory MacDonald and Tony Ferguson have pulled out Imanari rolls inside the Octagon.


In 2016 the Imanari roll returned to the mainstream when BJJ black belt Ryan Hall used the technique with great success on the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Hall became the most feared member of the roster after he repeatedly took out members of Conor McGregor's team of European fighters with his lavish rolls.

Hall and Imanari both continue to threaten their opponents with the unconventional technique as recently as December 2016. As difficult to comprehend as the move is it's effectiveness in both BJJ and MMA is not to be understated. More competitors than ever are utilizing the Imanari roll with greater and greater success. And for that we have Masakazu Imanari to thank. Without him the world may have never seen Marvin Castelle's slick submission finish.


WATCH: Marvin Castelle's Full Fight to Win Pro 24 Match:

Submissions (Good) & Stalling (Bad) Define Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio Finals

The finals of the men's black belt and women's brown-black belt divisions were a mixed bag of impressive submissions and interminable stalling.

Yuri Simoes Beats Tim Spriggs At Fight 2 Win 94

It was a clash of two titans at Fight 2 Win 94 in Richmond, CA this evening as Yuri Simoes faced Tim Spriggs in a 10-minute sub-only match. 

How The Finals Were Set: Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio Black Belts Recap

Here are the finalists for each weight class of the adult black belt division, both for men and women.

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio Black Belt Finals Viewing Guide

ADGS Rio: Hywel & Riccardo Recap Black Belt Action and Discuss Finals

Here is a rundown of all the black belt finals that will take place on Sunday November 18 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro. 

Bahiense & Ramalho To Meet in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio 85kg Final

ADGS Rio: Hywel & Riccardo Recap Black Belt Action and Discuss Finals

The ultra-competitive 85kg division final is set for November 18. at the Abu Dhabi Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam. 

ADWJJT Grand Slam Rio Day One Recap

ADGS Rio: Day 1 Highlights

The first day of action at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio saw adult & masters purple belts take over the Arena Carioca 1 with a thrilling day of jiu-jitsu.

Your Complete Guide to The Women's Brown-Black Belts Divisions at ADGS Rio

Mayssa Bastos (GFTeam) and Gabrieli Pessanha (Infight) are currently tied for second place in the UAEJJF women’s brown/black belt rankings with 400 points after both taking gold at the Grand Slams in Tokyo and Los Angeles. With first place Larissa Paes not registered for Rio, both women have a shot at taking over the top spot in the UAEJJF.

The Gigantic 77kg Division Is The Most Difficult at ADGS Rio, Who Will Win?

The largest black belt bracket for Rio is at 77 kg, with 31 registered athletes.

ADGS Rio: No Clear Favorite in Insanely Deep 69kg Division

The 69 kg bracket is an insanely deep 24 competitor bracket with no clear favorite. Included in the division are Rafael Mansur (NS Brotherhood), Alexssandro Sodre (Clube Feijao), Joao Mendes (Atos), Isaque Paiva (Saikoo), Alexandre Vieira (BTT), Richar Nogueira (Cicero Costha), Victor Moraes (Cicero Costha) and Yago Rodrigues (CTMR).

Everything You Need To Know About The Hague Judo Grand Prix 2018

The Netherlands, the first country other than Japan to claim a world judo title, adds a new chapter to its place in the sport’s history with the second edition of The Hague Grand Prix this weekend at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November.