Kade Ruotolo set to face Francisco Lo at ONE Fight Night 21

Kade Ruotolo will square off with Francisco Lo in a 180-pound submission grappling match at ONE Fight Night 21.

Current ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion Kade Ruotolo will soon return to action in a non-title match against elite black belt competitor Francisco Lo

That matchup is scheduled to go down on Friday, April 5, at ONE Fight Night 21 from the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. Sports Illustrated broke the news of the 180-pound catchweight tilt on Thursday.

The reigning 77kg ADCC champion in addition to the ONE titleholder, Ruotolo is widely regarded among the sport’s top pound-for-pound competitors. He is undefeated in ONE across five matches, most recently securing his second consecutive victory over current IBJJF no-gi world champion Tommy Langaker in January at ONE 165.

Since then, the 21-year-old has dipped his toes back into the world of gi competition as he prepares for a run at the 2024 IBJJF Worlds. In February, he made his gi black belt debut, scoring an entertaining points victory over Natan Chueng at the IBJJF Grand Prix. Last weekend, Ruotolo competed at the IBJJF Dallas Open where he took home gold in a one-man division and third in the absolute.

Lo will be making his ONE Championship debut against Ruotolo. A 2023 IBJJF No-Gi Pans champion, the Brazilian burst onto the scene in 2022 with stunning submission victories over veterans Oliver Taza and Adam Wardzinski. He has since further solidified his status as a world-class competitor with victories over the likes of William Tackett, Joao Costa, and Jacob “The Hillbilly Hammer” Couch.

Ruotolo will be heavily favored in this matchup, but that doesn’t mean Lo won’t present a stiff test. Lo has proven himself to be one of jiu-jitsu’s most innovative and dangerous submission hunters, capable of finding unique leg locks as well as triangle chokes from any position. 

For his part, Ruotolo will look to avoid Lo’s submission attack by applying his trademark, relentless pacing. Fans can expect the Californian to avoid Lo’s closed guard at all costs, aggressively pass from the outside, and constantly hunt his foe’s back with berimbolos and leg drags.

Ruotolo will be joining his twin brother, Tye Ruotolo, who will be putting his ONE welterweight submission grappling world title on the line in the evening’s co-main event against ADCC veteran Izaak Michell.

How to watch: Kade Ruotolo vs. Francisco Lo takes place on April 5 at ONE Fight Night 21 and will air live on Prime Video (free with Amazon Plus subscription) beginning at 8:00 PM EST.

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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