Kade Ruotolo did just about everything but get the submission in his ONE Championship debut. Ruotolo dominated MMA veteran Shinya Aoki over the course of their 10-minute submission grappling match to earn a clear-cut decision win. Ruotolo’s twin brother Tye also competed at ONE 157, defeating Garry Tonon by submission.
Watch Kade Ruotolo vs. Shinya Aoki from ONE 157 below.
After a feeling-out process on the feet, Ruotolo was able to achieve a takedown and Aoki’s back in just under two minutes. Aoki would escape the back position, but Ruotolo kept a relentless pace of attack, forcing the Japanese MMA legend on the defense for the remainder of the match. Ruotolo forced the action on the feet for middle stretch of the match, pushing Aoki against the fence and constantly threatening takedowns.
At just under five minutes remaining, Ruotolo jumped off the cage to take Aoki’s back — easily one of the most memorable moments of the contest. Ruotolo would spend the next few minutes hunting chokes from Aoki’s back before Aoki escaped back to his feet with just over a minute remaining. With just 40 seconds left, Aoki was given a yellow card for passivity, resulting in a 10% reduction in Aoki’s purse.
“I’m not super content with my performance, to be honest. I feel like I definitely could have got the submission,” Ruotolo said after the judges’ decision in his favor was announced.
Grappling Insider’s 2021 no-gi grappler of the year, Kade Ruotolo hasn’t lost in no-gi competition since a submission loss to Roberto Jimenez last summer. He won the 2021 ADCC East Coast Trials and is the current Who’s Number One lightweight champion.