We preview Kade Ruotolo vs. Matheus Gabriel and Tye Ruotolo vs. Marat Gafurov, both scheduled for Friday, December 2 at ONE on Prime Video 5.
The Ruotolo brothers are back in action this weekend in a pair of submission grappling contests in ONE Championship.
First, during the lead card of ONE on Prime Video 5, Tye Ruotolo will face former ONE featherweight MMA champion Marat Gafurov. And later, in the evening’s co-main event, Kade Ruotolo will defend his ONE lightweight submission grappling championship against promotional newcomer Matheus Gabriel.
Tye Ruotolo vs. Marat Gafurov
In his first appearance since taking home third in the absolute division of the 2022 ADCC World Championships, Tye will be a large favorite against veteran MMA fighter Gafurov.
Ruotolo is favored for good reason. Known for his relentless guard passing and aggressive submission-hunting approach, he is one of the best pound-for-pound grapplers on the planet. And with wins over Pedro Marinho and Felipe Pena at the ADCC World Championships, as well as a lightning-fast submission win over Garry Tonon in his ONE Championship debut, Ruotolo should come into this 10-minute submission-only match filled with confidence.
A veteran of 23 professional fights, the 38-year-old Gafurov will look to play spoiler. While he lacks the grappling credentials of Ruotolo, the Russian has shown to be an excellent wrestler and top control artist throughout his career and owns 12 submission victories to his name.
Ultimately, given Ruotolo’s status as an elite no-gi competitor, the biggest question in this match will likely be whether or not Gafurov can survive the full 10 minutes.
Kade Ruotolo vs. Matheus Gabriel
Kade Ruotolo will face a much stiffer test.
Gabriel is a two-time IBJJF World Champion, as well as a no-gi and gi Pans champion. And although he is largely known for his work in the gi, the Brazilian has proven to be just as talented without it, owning notable no-gi wins over Geo Martinez, Tex Johnson, and Hugo Marques.
Much like his brother, Kade sets a furious pace and jumps on any and all opportunities to attack the submission. That approach earned him four submission victories on his way to winning gold at the ADCC World Championships, making him the youngest-ever competitor to be an ADCC champion. In September, Ruotolo captured the ONE lightweight submission grappling world title when he submitted Sambo world champion Uali Kurzhev with a heel hook.
This match is likely to play out with Ruotolo looking to pass while Gabriel works from his open guard. The longer that dynamic plays out, the more it favors Ruotolo, who uses pacing as a weapon, exhausting his opponent to open up opportunities for his favorite submissions – d’arce chokes and leg locks.
If Gabriel can take top position, though, the match could look very different. While he tends to work at a slower pace than Ruotolo, Gabriel is nonetheless a dangerous submission artist from the top; he loves to attack the “black hole” sequence that puts him in position for triangles and armbars.
How to watch: ONE on Prime Video 5 takes place on Friday, December 2 and airs live on Prime Video beginning at 8PM EST.