Kade Ruotolo Takes Decision Victory Over Tommy Langaker, Teases MMA Debut: “I’m Really Looking Towards MMA”

Kade Ruotolo defended his ONE Championship belt against arguably his toughest challenger yet this past Friday night in fellow ADCC veteran Tommy Langaker. The Norwegian grappling star forced Ruotolo to go the distance with him in a match packed with scrambles and leglock shootouts.

Though Kade successfully found a takedown in the match’s opening minutes, Langaker — notorious for his extremely dangerous guard and tricky leglock setups — seemed content to play off his back. In fact, it was Langaker who scored the first official “catch” — ONE ruleset lingo for a legitimate submission attempt — early in the ten-minute scrap, and remained ahead on the scorecard until roughly the halfway mark, when Kade scored a catch of his own.

At the end of ten minutes, the score came down to a tie of 1-1 on catches for both men, and went to a judges’ decision. Although the judges ultimately ruled in favor of Ruotolo, Langaker impressed audiences with his ability to force a tie, largely by entangling Ruotolo in some highly dangerous leglock shootouts that pushed both men to the brink. Perhaps most impressively of all, Kade — one of the most dangerous and dynamic passers in jiu-jitsu, and frequently touted as a nightmare to guard specialists — did not pass Tommy’s guard. That’s a rare feat for anyone to pull off against the champ, let alone for ten minutes straight.

During the post-fight interview on the canvas, Kade was quick to acknowledge the ferocity of the battle for the belt. “[Tommy’s] guard is very dynamic, very flexible, and kind of exactly what I was expecting,” said Ruotolo. “He’s great at what he does, and it was a war.”

The champ also admitted to being surprised by the leglock shootout, which comprised a significant portion of the match. “It was a battle of the legs, which I wasn’t really expecting, to be honest with you,” Kade told audiences. “I’m always well-versed in everything, so if it goes to the legs, I’m ready to go, but I definitely thought it was going to be more of a head and arm battle.”

So, what’s next for Kade Ruotolo on the ONE Championship platform? The now three-time defending lightweight king took the opportunity to tease his long-awaited MMA debut: “I’m really looking towards MMA, to be honest with you. MMA’s where my heart is. I’ve been training it. Before this last match, my mom was like, ‘Kade, why are you training MMA so much? You got no-gi coming up!'”

He laughed. “And I was like, ‘I love it, it’s hard!’ So I definitely want to get MMA coming up before the end of the year, for sure.”


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