Kade Ruotolo Reflects On Latest Win, Wants MMA Debut Soon
ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo stayed atop the mountain at ONE Fight Night 11. However, it was not an easy victory.
Tommy Langaker pushed the Southern Californian from the opening bell, getting the first catch of the match. Ruotolo was aggressive throughout and evened the score, and eventually took the judge's decision when the final second ticked off the clock.
"Tommy was an amazing opponent. I knew he'd be a tough match leading into this. I think in a couple of more minutes, I definitely would have had him. I felt him really fading at the end, getting really tired," Ruotolo told ONE Championship.
"At the same time, I definitely made a handful of mistakes. And definitely, lots to fix leading into the next one."
The tightly-contested matchup could have gone either way, but Ruotolo felt confident heading into the decision. The deciding factor for the Atos BJJ star was that he felt his submission attempts were just a little bit closer to getting the tap.
"I was kind of putting a lot of forward pressure on the passing, and I'm trying to pass a lot. I think my ankle lock was definitely a lot tighter than his heel hook attempt. He couldn't really bring the other leg to lock it, and I felt no strain in the ankle or knee. I felt like my attacks were definitely much stronger," Ruotolo expressed.
For the 20-year-old, it was his first time gracing Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. The historic venue instantly became one of his favorite places to compete.
Feeding off the energy and picking up the win, Ruotolo is excited to return to Bangkok's iconic venue in the very near future.
"The energy was pretty nuts. I love the venue. Honestly, it's got to be one of my favorite venues that I've ever been to, iconic. And hopefully, the next time I step into this arena, it'll be maybe for some MMA. I'm super excited, and hopefully, we can mix it up and, you know, really get the crowd on their feet," Ruotolo said.
Even though he carries the submission grappling gold, Ruotolo is beginning to get itchy for his transition into MMA.
But his team is trying to ease him into his first match so he does not get ahead of himself.
"Oh, there's not an exact date. We don't have anything signed, but 100% this year. I want it to be this year, no matter what. Hopefully, in the near future," Ruotolo said.
"A lot of my family, friends, and coaches around me are telling me to do it the smart way and make sure that you don't have to rely on my jiu-jitsu. So you could maybe sleep someone on the feet and if you have to use jiu-jitsu, use it. I want to make sure I have all the tools so that we know when I do step on those mats in the MMA ruleset, I'm going to go straight to the top."
Whether it's MMA or submission grappling, Ruotolo wants his next opponent to step up and be hungry. It is those matches that give him the biggest motivation.
"Whoever excites me, whoever puts on a really good [performance], whoever really wants to me. As I said before, that's always what motivates me. It's whoever wants to fight me, especially when there's a bit of tension as someone comes at me with 'I want Kade Ruotolo,' then I'm like, let's get it. That's the one that I want. So anyone that really wants to [fight me]. There's not a specific person that I'm really looking for," Ruotolo stated.
RAZOR-CLOSE Grappling Showdown 🔥 Kade Ruotolo vs. Tommy LangakerReigning champion Kade Ruotolo and Norwegian submission wizard Tommy Langaker went toe-to-toe in a heated ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion...
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