Ruotolo puts his crown on line in Manila
published : 25 Nov 2022 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Kade Ruotolo is only 19 years old, but he is already one of the biggest stars in the world of grappling.
The ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion has had quite the journey to the top, and he faces a fresh challenge when he puts his gold on the line for the first time against Matheus Gabriel at ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder v Malykhin on Dec 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
American Ruotolo has been electrifying fans so far in ONE. His first match in May saw him take on a formidable foe in former ONE lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki.
Cornered by his twin brother Tye, who would go on to debut in the circle only moments later against American superstar Garry Tonon, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom picked up a unanimous victory over the Japanese grappling legend to announce himself in the organisation.
The Atos athlete returned to action just a few months later to face Uali Kurzhev for the inaugural ONE lightweight submission grappling world championship.
The match was heralded as another chapter in the rivalry between Brazilian jiu-jitsu and sambo, and Ruotolo made sure he represented his discipline on the night.
The Californian needed only four minutes to submit sambo world champion Kurzhev via a vicious heel hook. With that, he claimed the crown and took his seat atop the growing division.
The young fighter has illustrated he has all the tools to remain the world champion for some time.
Four-time BJJ world champion Gabriel will offer a decent challenge to him, but if Ruotolo implements the same approach that has seen him achieve the measure of success he has up to now, he should have no problem retaining his crown against the Brazilian on Dec 3.