Kade Ruotolo defeats Tommy Langaker, hints at MMA debut next

After defeating Tommy Langaker at ONE 165 in Tokyo, Japan, Kade Ruotolo spoke about his potential MMA debut.

On Sunday, at ONE 165, reigning ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion Kade Ruotolo successfully defended his belt against current IBJJF no-gi world champion Tommy Langaker.

A rematch of the pair’s razor-close June 2023 clash, Ruotolo was this time able to secure a much more clear-cut decision victory.

After a brief feeling-out process on the feet, Ruotolo went right to work attacking submissions, jumping into an armbar attempt before looking to attack the feet. And while Langaker would escape those early submissions, he remained on the defensive for much of the 10-minute submission-only affair.

The Californian found more success through the match’s middle stretch, as he was able to secure the crucifix position where he looked to attack the arm.

Again, Langaker would escape only to find himself in trouble just moments later. Ruotolo scored with a couple of his trademark D’arce attempts – both of which seemed to have Langaker on the verge of tapping. 

The challenger displayed elite submission defense in escaping and even mounted some offense of his own in the contest’s closing moments, but, ultimately, Ruotolo had done enough to secure the unanimous decision victory, marking the third successful defense of his ONE world title.

The win also earned the Andre Galvao black belt a $50,000 performance bonus.

Kade Ruotolo teases MMA debut

After the bout, Kade Ruotolo spoke about his much-anticipated debut in mixed martial arts.

The 21-year-old has recently been seen training his striking with Jason Parillo – coach to top MMA stars such as Michael Bisping, Marlon “Chito” Vera, and Luke Rockhold.

According to Ruotolo, he is hoping to make his MMA debut under the ONE Championship banner as early as this spring, and he’s already thinking about becoming a two-sport world champion:

“Without a doubt, it’s coming soon, 110 percent this year. And I’m hoping for early or mid this year. I’d really be stoked to get it done by March or May. It’s kinda been like my timeframe.

“I know it’s coming up really quick, but, you know, my dream is to become the double-champ for ONE Championship – jiu-jitsu and MMA. I’d like to consider myself as a true martial artist, you know. I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a fight and I feel like I just love to fight. I feel like within jiu-jitsu, there’s so many rules and I have so many fights out of me, if that makes sense, you know. I’m just excited to show everything I have.”

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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