Kade Ruotolo has been booked to defend his ONE Championship lightweight submission grappling title against Tommy Langaker at ONE Fight Night 11 on June 10, 2023 and he’s just opened up about the match. It’s one of the best grappling matches that ONE Championship have booked recently, as it represents two of the top competitors in their weightclass right now. It’ll certainly be an interesting matchup, and both men have a reputation for non-stop action in their careers so it should produce plenty of fireworks for the fans too.
Ruotolo recently sat down for an interview with ONE Championship where he explained how he sees his status in the sport right now:
“I’m starting to secure some of the most important titles in jiu-jitsu. ONE Championship, ADCC, and so on. Everybody wants those titles. They want to take them from me. So I feel a bit more of the hunted now rather than the hunter.”
Ruotolo won his title by defeating Sambo world champion Uali Kurzhev and has since gone on to successfully defend it against Matheus Gabriel too. While he’s been on a bit of a tear lately, Kade Ruotolo also gave his thoughts on the match with Tommy Langaker and assessed his opponent’s chances in the match:
“Tommy is an amazing opponent. He’s very strong and flexible, which are two things that are difficult to deal with when put together. He looked great in his match against Renato Canuto, who’s a very high-level competitor. He has some big wins under his belt. He’s going to be a tough person to take out. But I think if anyone can do it, it’s going to be me. I definitely respect his skills as an athlete, and I know he’s dangerous, but I don’t think there’s any way in this world that he submits me or puts me away. I think I’m going to be able to get the submission or put on a dominant performance for sure.”
This isn’t actually the first time that Kade Ruotolo and Tommy Langaker could have met on the mats either, as both men were competing in the 77kg division at ADCC 2022. Ruotolo ended up winning that division and became the youngest champion in ADCC history, whereas Langaker went out in the opening round in a tough match against PJ Barch. Apparently this match has actually been in the making since then, as Ruotolo revealed that the pair crossed paths after the event:
“At the ADCC afterparty, it was getting a little crazy. (Tommy Langaker) came up to me and he was like, ‘When are we going to fight?’ We exchanged some words. And then, long story short, I just body-locked him, and I picked him up in the air. I was like, ‘I could slam you right now. You’re lucky I won’t.’ I told him, ‘I promise you, when I fight you, I’m going to submit you.’ So now I’ve got to submit him. It was pretty funny. We messaged each other afterward. It was all good, but it just kind of created a little bit of tension.”