ONE Championship Names Kade Ruotolo Submission Grappling Athlete Of The Year
The teenage prodigy made his ONE debut at ONE 157 in May. Ruotolo met martial arts legend Shinya Aoki and got a unanimous decision win. Although a finish was not in order on that night, he still made the highlight reel with an incredible back take off the cage.
Following that performance, Ruotolo went after ADCC glory and found it with astonishing results.
The Southern California native rolled through the competition with finish after finish. After dismantling Lachlan Giles and Roberto Jimenez, Ruotolo punched his ticket to the final with an armbar against PJ Barch. In the final, Ruotolo became the youngest-ever ADCC World Champion with an inside heel hook finish over Mica Galvao.
With history secured, the Atos BJJ star returned to ONE for the inaugural ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Championship. Standing across the Circle from him was Uali Kurzhev, who he tapped with another inside heel hook to claim the gold.
But the year would not be over for the American. He would see a quick turnaround at ONE on Prime Video 5 to defend the gold against Matheus Gabriel. This time a finish did not come, but his attacking performance was good enough to defend the belt with a showcase of incredible technique.
2022 was a breakout year for Ruotolo. He was a part of submission grappling’s big push in ONE and rewrote the history books at the ADCC tournament. With 2023 about to get underway, all eyes are on the American to follow it up in spectacular fashion.