The epic rematch between Tye Ruotolo and Nicholas Meregali may be a little closer than we thought, as ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong recently revealed that he’s in the process of booking the match. Ruotolo has been competing for ONE Championship for quite a while already, and most recently he managed to defeat their middleweight MMA world champion Reinier de Ridder by decision. He has a perfect record of 3-0 for the promotion and has put in impressive performances every time he’s stepped on the mats for them, finishing both of his first two matches before that. Ruotolo seemed aware of that when asked about the match during the post-fight press conference:
“Yeah, you know, my goal every time I step on the mats is to inspire people to do Jiu-Jitsu. To embrace the sport you know? It’s such a sick sport with so many different reasons to enter and you know, I feel like in my performance tonight I didn’t really show what I was capable of and I didn’t show or feel like I inspired the way I should’ve. So I’m just gonna look back on my match tonight, make sure I fix all my mistakes so that I never win in that fashion again… I’m not super stoked on the win, but with that being said, I wanna fight (Nicholas) Meregali next no matter what. I feel like I should. I can take bigger guys and he’s the guy I wanna take.”
This isn’t the first time that he’s asked for a match with Meregali, as he also used the opportunity to call him out publicly immediately after his match with de Ridder had finished too. It would definitely be a difficult matchup given the clear size difference, but that’s not something that Ruotolo is unfamiliar with. He won a bronze medal in the absolute division of ADCC 2022 and he actually met Meregali in the semi-final in an incredibly close match that he lost by decision. ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong was also asked about the potential match between Tye Ruotolo and Nicholas Meregali, and he revealed that it might be closer than we think:
“Definitely, and Meregali has accepted already so it’s been something we’ve been planning. Obviously, he’s red-hot. One of the best grapplers in the world but Tye’s (Ruotolo) ambition is to be the future GOAT and I think he has all the right tools, all the right athletic and natural abilities, and excitement factor. I mean, he comes to finish it’s just unfortunate that today things didn’t work out…”
Ruotolo has also been vocal about wanting to earn a ONE Championship submission grappling title like his brother Kade, and a match against Meregali would be perfect as a potential title-fight. If the promotion was to put this match together as a title-fight, this would also represent a huge opportunity for Ruotolo if he manages to win as well. It would need to be at a high enough weightclass for Meregali to compete, which would mean that Ruotolo would still have a title in his own division that he could claim in the future to become the first ONE Championship submission grappling double champion.
ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong revealed that he was already planning to book Tye Ruotolo v Nicholas Meregali in the post-fight press conference for ONE Fight Night 10 and the full video was uploaded to the promotion’s official YouTube channel: