3 Possible Opponents For ONE Lightweight Grappling Champion Kade Ruotolo
Kade Ruotolo continued his impressive streak at ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin. The talented American grappler picked up a unanimous decision win over Matheus Gabriel to retain his ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Championship.
After a historic year for Ruotolo, how will he follow it up in 2023? ONE Championship is continually adding to its talent pool for the submission grappling ranks, and he will have no shortage of challengers as the calendar turns.
Here are three possible opponents for Kade’s return to the Circle.
Tommy Langaker may be one of the top choices for Ruotolo’s next outing in the Circle. In part because the Norwegian grappler already has experience inside the Circle.
Last August, Langaker defeated Renato Canuto by unanimous decision after dominating the second half of their submission grappling contest. The Nova União has seen success on the mats all year and showed himself well at the 2022 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships.
He would certainly be a credible opponent for Ruotolo, and his strength on the mat could make it an intriguing battle of the minds. If fans want to see a thoughtful and technical battle, this may be the matchup that excites them the most.
Tainan Dalpra has won back-to-back BJJ World Championships. The ONE signee would be a very interesting matchup for Ruotolo and one that many within the grappling community would love to see on a global stage.
One of the most interesting elements of the matchup would be Dalpra’s standing as a pound-for-pound great with the gi. However, this would be a no-gi matchup in ONE. How well would Dalpra do without the gi? Would Ruotolo have a significant advantage given his experience under the ONE rule set?
Those questions only serve to make the matchup that much more interesting. This could be the biggest bout to be made in 2023.
Although Tye Ruotolo is currently eyeing bigger men in ONE’s submission grappling divisions, including ONE Middleweight World Champion Reinier De Ridder, a match against his brother is not off the table.
The two have competed against one another in the past. That adds to the storyline because Kade has openly said he wants the rematch because he is currently 0-3 against Tye (h/t MMAUnderground’s John Morgan).
Given Tye’s current shutout over his brother, the overriding storyline makes it a compelling matchup for fans to see. The brother vs. brother element will always be engaging, but when one brother has always come up a bit short, it adds the little extra spice that is needed. This matchup seems inevitable, and perhaps ONE should just pull the trigger and get it going to kickstart the new year.
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