Tye Ruotolo slated to defend ONE world title against Izaak Michell

Tye Ruotolo will defend his ONE welterweight submission grappling world title against Australian standout Izaak Michell.

Tye Ruotolo is scheduled for the first defense of his ONE welterweight submission grappling world title.

On Friday, March 1, at ONE 166: Qatar, the 20-year-old Californian will square off with two-time ADCC Trials winner Izaak Michell.

Ruotolo claimed the inaugural welterweight title in November with a dominant decision win over Magomed Abdulkadirov at ONE Fight Night 16. After that victory, he called out Michell, just as he had in August following his win over Dagi Arslanaliev.

Tye Ruotolo vs. Izaak Michell

Undefeated with three submissions across five bouts in ONE Championship, Ruotolo is widely regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound no-gi grapplers in the sport. In addition to his work in ONE, Ruotolo boasts a third-place finish at the 2022 ADCC World Championships, with notable wins over top light heavyweight Pedro Marinho and former ADCC absolute champion Felipe Pena.

For his part, Michell is significantly less accomplished, but nonetheless one of the planet’s top 185-pound competitors. In addition to his gold-medal performances at the 2022 and 2023 ADCC Asia and Oceania Trials, he holds key victories over Roberto Jimenez, Jansen Gomes, and Jacob Couch.

Both athletes are considered among the sport’s most entertaining. 

Ruotolo is a buzzsaw of activity and aggression. And while he is a well-rounded grappler with skills in all areas, he tends to do his best work with wrestling, guard passing, and back-takes.

The Australian, meanwhile, is an excellent leg locker and back-taker, employing his top-notch physicality to wear down his opponents as the match drags on.

Like all other submission grappling matches in ONE Championship, this contest will consist of one, 10-minute round of submission-only action. In the event no submission occurs, a panel of judges will award the winner based on the most legitimate submission attempts.

How to watch: ONE 166: Qatar takes place on Friday, March 1, and will air live on pay-per-view at watch.onefc.com.

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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