Ahead of his world title match at ONE Fight Night 16, Tye Ruotolo spoke about the defeats that have hurt the most.
Tye Ruotolo hasn’t experienced defeat much in his career, so it comes as no surprise that he can’t easily forget certain losses.
The 20-year-old will soon attempt to join his twin brother Kade Ruotolo as a ONE submission grappling world champion. This Friday, in the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 16: Haggerty vs. Andrade on Prime Video, Tye will take on ADCC veteran Magomed Abdulkadirov for the inaugural ONE welterweight submission grappling world title.
Undefeated through four appearances in ONE, Ruotolo’s most recent no-gi defeat came in September 2022 at the ADCC World Championships. After a disappointing showing and first-round exit in the 88kg division, he stormed back in the absolute division, defeating Who’s Number One light heavyweight champion Pedro Marinho and former ADCC absolute champion Felipe Pena.
But in the semifinals, Ruotolo ran into New Wave’s Nicholas Meregali. He would lose that high-paced, ultra-competitive encounter by way of referee’s decision.
Looking back on that match, the Atos representative says that his loss to Meregali – as well as his 2019 ADCC submission loss to Kennedy Maciel – are the two hardest defeats of his career.
In an interview with ONE Championship, Ruotolo spoke about his match against Meregali:
“Yeah, it was close, that one. It definitely hurts – that one in the Kennedy Maciel, I got submitted by him as a blue. Those, those are the two that my brother, he reminds me every day pretty much.”
In his 2022 battle with Meregali, Ruotolo came to the edge of victory with his trademark D’arce choke that seemed to be completely locked in. The heavyweight would escape, though, and go on to win a narrow decision.
“Man, it was for sure close,” Ruotolo said about the D’arce attempt. “It was locked in and you know, I learned a big mistake there. I never, will I ever try to finish the D’arce from bottom with a guy that much bigger, because I realized if you let it go, boom you’re on top. I should have rolled him, came on top, and finished it there when I had the chance.”
Since that match, the two grapplers have traded barbs on social media, and there have been talks about a rematch in ONE Championship.
“But you know what? That’s what match I probably think about more than all my other losses,” Ruotolo continued. “That’s my match with Meregali. Just because of how contentious it was.”
Given how closely contested their match was and the trash talk that followed, Ruotolo says that Meregali is currently at the top of his hit list.
He also recalls the final minute of the match and remembers feeling like he had achieved the upper hand. With that last impression still fresh in his mind, he’s confident that he’d be able to defeat Meregali in a potential rematch:
“And I remember he talked a little bit of s*** after the match, too, so that was one that I just want to get back more than anything. I know I’m more than capable of beating him.
“I remember there was one minute left in the match and he was curled. He was done and I remember I punched him in the throat. I was on his head like ‘I got you.’ But the time ran out, you know? So yeah, I’m ready to get that one back.”
How to watch: Tye Ruotolo vs. Magomed Abdulkadirov takes place on Friday, November 3 at ONE Fight Night 16: Haggerty vs. Andrade on Prime Video, which will air live on Prime Video (free with Amazon Plus subscription) beginning at 8 PM ET.