Kade Ruotolo vs. Mikey Musumeci booked for ONE 168 in Denver

Kade Ruotolo will defend his ONE lightweight submission grappling world title against Mikey Musumeci at ONE 168: Denver.

Current ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion Mikey Musumeci will move up three weight classes to challenge Kade Ruotolo for his lightweight strap.

That matchup will go down on Friday, September 6, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.

The organization announced the bout on Wednesday via press release.

Both men are undefeated in ONE Championship and widely regarded among the sport’s top pound-for-pound competitors. Given their resumes, this contest marks arguably the biggest submission grappling match ONE has held yet.

Ruotolo, the defending champion, boasts a 6-0 record in the organization and has successfully defended his belt three times since winning it in October 2022. He most recently competed at ONE Fight Night 21 earlier this month, scoring a submission victory over Francisco Lo.

In addition to his work in ONE Championship, the 21-year-old Ruotolo is also the current ADCC 77kg world champion – making him the youngest-ever ADCC champion. He has also recently made a foray into gi competition, likely in an effort to qualify for the 2024 IBJJF Worlds.

Before Ruotolo battles Musumeci in Denver, he will make his long-awaited MMA debut in June at ONE 167 when he takes on Hawaii’s Blake Cooper.

For his part, Musumeci has been equally dominant in ONE Championship. The 27-year-old claimed the inaugural ONE flyweight submission grappling world title in September 2022 with a decision victory over Cleber Sousa, and has since defended his gold three times.

In his most recent outing, last October at ONE Fight Night 15, Musumeci submitted Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki with his own trademark Aoki lock.

The New Jersey native is also set to compete in June at ONE 167. That night, he will square off with Gabriel Sousa – the last man to defeat him in competition – in a non-title bantamweight contest.

How to watch: Kade Ruotolo vs. Mikey Musumeci takes place on Friday, 6, at ONE 168: Denver, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, and will air live on Prime Video (free with Amazon Plus membership) beginning at 8:00 PM EST.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at Ticketmaster.

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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