Ruotolo brothers break down Kade Ruotolo’s title-winning performance against Uali Kurzhev

Twin brothers Tye and Kade Ruotolo recap Kade’s world title-winning performance against Uali Kurzhev in ONE Championship.

Undefeated since receiving his black belt in late 2021, Kade Ruotolo is arguably the world’s top pound-for-pound grappler. In October 2022, Ruotolo defeated multiple-time Sambo world champion Uali Kurzhev to capture the inaugural ONE lightweight submission grappling world title.

Ruotolo and his twin brother Tye – also a ONE championship submission grappling athlete – recently sat down to recap the heel hook victory over Kurzhev at ONE on Prime Video 3.

“The second the match actually starts, all the pressure goes away because then it’s just the real threat at hand,” said Kade.

In his corner that night was Tye, who says he feels something special each time he coaches his brother.

“It’s a weird feeling coaching your twin compared to someone else because you can see things that you wouldn’t normally see with other people,” said Tye.

Against Kurzhev, the finish came around halfway through the 10-minute submission-only encounter that Ruotolo had largely dominated. As Ruotolo looked to pass guard with a leg drag, he fell back on the Russian’s leg, entering into a deep leg entanglement. From there, he turned belly-down to secure the inside heel hook finish.

“It’s crazy because heel hooks used to be our weaknesses a couple of years ago and now we’re starting to finish a lot of fights with them,” said Kade.

Indeed, just one month prior to his title-winning performance in ONE Championship, Ruotolo won gold at the 2022 ADCC World Championships to become the youngest competitor to ever win the prestigious tournament. In the final of 77kg division, Ruotolo used a similar belly-down heel hook to submit Mica Galvao.

After defeating Kurzhev, Kade Ruotolo returned in December 2022 when he earned a decision victory over Checkmat’s Matheus Gabriel to successfully defend his belt for the first time. He is not currently scheduled for his next appearance in ONE Championship.

Tye Ruotolo is slated to take on ONE middleweight MMA champion Reinier de Ridder in a submission grappling match on May 5 at ONE Fight Night 10 in Denver, Colorado.

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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