Video: Ruotolo brothers break down the BJJ vs. Sambo debate

Twin brothers Kade and Tye Ruotolo recently spoke about the differences between Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and Sambo.

In the past several months, as ONE Championship continues to expand its submission grappling divisions, the organization has posed a question: Does BJJ or Sambo fare better in no-gi submission grappling?

As brothers Kade and Tye Ruotolo prepare for their matches this weekend at ONE on Prime Video 5, they spoke about the two different grappling arts. Read previews of their upcoming matches here.

Check out video of their discussion below.

While the Ruotolos are respectful of Sambo and how effective the Russian martial art can be in an MMA or self-defense context, they ultimately believe jiu-jitsu is the superior style for submission grappling.

“The thing is, with jiu-jitsu, there’s thousands of techniques,” said Tye Ruotolo. “And even more getting made up every single day. In pretty much every other sport – Muay Thai, boxing, even Sambo – there’s only so many combinations. That’s one thing about jiu-jitsu, that sooner or later, in a 10-minute match, I feel like a high-level jiu-jitsu guy is gonna be able to get the submission just because of all the different routes he can take to the submission.”

Unlike no-gi jiu-jitsu and submission grappling, Sambo requires its competitors to wear a jacket top and wrestling shoes. Sport Sambo matches are typically relatively short – just four or five minutes – involve relatively brief exchanges on the ground, emphasize takedowns, and are decided on points.

BJJ vs. Sambo in ONE Championship

After three jiu-jitsu vs. Sambo match-ups, BJJ holds a commanding 3-0 lead in contests held by ONE Championship.

First, in September, Rodrigo Marello set a ONE record with the fastest-ever finish in a submission grappling match when he needed just 15 seconds to submit Sambo stylist Ruslan Bagdasarian at ONE 161 with a straight footlock.

Next, in October at ONE on Prime Video 3, Kade Ruotolo took just over four minutes to secure a match-ending heel hook on four-time Sambo World Champion Uali Kurzhev. That win earned Ruotolo the inaugural ONE lightweight submission grappling world title.

And most recently, at ONE on Prime Video 4, Danielle Kelly hardly broke a sweat in submitting multiple-time Sambo world champion Mariia Molchanova with a rear-naked choke.

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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