Kade Ruotolo has made his mark in ONE Championship, and by the looks of it, no grappler is safe.
After dominating Shinya Aoki in his ONE debut and winning the inaugural ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title against Uali Kurzhev in his second promotional outing, Ruotolo defends his belt at ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin on Saturday, 3 December, against Matheus Gabriel.
It was a prestigious outing the last time around for the 19-year-old when he went up against the sambo specialist in Kurzhev. The dynamic grappler made incredibly short work of the Russian to capture the strap and etch his name into the history books.
Despite being tested against veterans like Aoki and Kurzhev, he will have his hands full against more youthful opposition in Gabriel.
This will be Gabriel’s promotional debut, however – much like the lightweight submission grappling king – the Brazilian already holds a significant number of accolades.
The 25-year-old boasts a BJJ black belt and is no stranger to high-stakes bouts, holding nine victories in IBJJF World Championship competitions. Gabriel will also be riding a strong wave of momentum into ONE Championship, owning seven straight wins, five of which have come by submission.
The Checkmat standout will certainly be Ruotolo’s toughest test in ONE so far and, through utilizing the same grappling discipline, the pair will put on an exciting contest.
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They always say it’s harder to defend the title than it is to win it, and we will certainly see if that’s the case for Ruotolo in December.
However, should Gabriel shock the BJJ world against the young American phenomenon, it would certainly set alight the fascinating new home for submission grappling in ONE Championship.
To purchase tickets for ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin on Saturday, 3 December, go to https://smtickets.com/events/view/11438