On Saturday, November 20th, Kade Ruotolo, the 18-year-old brown belt prodigy, takes on 10th Planet stalwart Keith Krikorian at GrappleFest 10. This is the first confrontation between the two stars.
Kade Ruotolo recently won 1st place (77kg) at the ADCC Northeastern Trials, and Keith Krikorian took silver at the 66kg division.
This is a match you don’t want to miss; tune in to FloGrappling to witness the action!
But for now, let’s predict how this match plays out.
Height: 5’11” | Weight: 170-185 | Age: 18
Wins: 8 SUB, 4 decisions, 3 points,
Losses: 2 SUB
Noticeable Wins: PJ Barch, William Tackett, Ethan Crelinsten, Gabriel Sousa
Noticeable Losses: Roberto Jimenez
Current Ranking: #1 Lightweight | Last match: William Tackett
Kade Ruotolo is human and has flaws. That said, time after time, he has remedied his deficiencies as soon as they arise. So far, there is only one person who ever submitted him in a competition— Roberto Jimenez. That’s a bold statement!
Ruotolo is proficient in both offense and defense, and his last nine victories show his young age will not affect his performance on the mats.
At this point, Kade Ruotolo does not have any observable weaknesses. That said, I believe his leg lock defense is not as high level as the rest of his defensive attributes.
Kade Ruotolo (like his twin brother Tye) is proficient in all areas of grappling, but his main strengths are his signature leg pin passing system, dynamic wrestling (including his favored inside trip), and deadly Darce Choke.
If you watch Ruotolo’s 2021 ADCC East Coast Trials matches, he bulldozes his way through 80% of his matches except for William Tackett. They had an all-out war!
The Ruotolo brothers’ style of Jiu-Jitsu is straightforward: push the pace, outwrestle your opponent, and keep the pressure on them until they stop paying attention to their neck. After that happens, scattergun all types of neck cranks and chokes until a submission attempt succeeds.
Look, both Kade and Tye are highly experienced, extremely talented, and have exceptionally long limbs— they just need to get their arms within the circumference of your neckline, and they will scare you into a defensive cycle or submit you.
Kade Ruotolo’s well-known inside leg trip is a force to be reckoned with, and he has outwrestled some of the best in the world. There is nothing else I can say.
Kade Ruotolo is an extremely well-rounded grappler who sits on the throne of the 155 division.
Height: 5’7” | Weight: 145-160 | Age: 29
Wins: 11 SUB, 1 decision, 1 points, 2 OT,
Losses: 5 SUB, 1 points, 1 OT, 1 decision
Noticeable Wins: Gianni Grippo, Estevan Martinez, John Battle, Ben Eddy, Robert Degle
Noticeable Losses: Kennedy Maciel, Ethan Crelinsten, Joshua Cisneros, Cole Abate
Current Ranking: #? FeatherWeight | Last match: Cole Abate
Keith Krikorian returned to competition last July, just coming back from a severe injury— over the past 12 months, he’s worked hard to heal himself.
Recently, Krikorian came in 2nd place at the ADCC East Coast Trials and, during the past year, has beaten names like Robert Degle, Estevan Martinez, and Gianni Grippo.
Keith Krikorian has a modern style, 10th Planet game with a strong emphasis on defense. He does not get submitted often, especially in overtime rounds.
Furthermore, his last two matches against Grippo and Abate showed his wrestling has significantly improved since his 2019 ADCC debut.
Keith Krikorian is a high-level grappler, but will it be enough to outmaneuver Kade Ruotolo?
Going into this match, Krikorian’s main weakness will be his ability to deal with a technical opponent whose forte is scrambling.
Many of Krikorian’s past matches have not been against opponents with Ruotolo’s physique and crafty, technical, and explosive maneuvers. He’s facing a competitor who is a combination of Estevan Martinez and Nicky Ryan: a Superman of strength, a Spiderman of athleticism
and a Daredevil of technical ability.
If Krikorian cannot deal with that fast-paced, technical movement of Ruotolo, he will give his adversary chances to capitalize.
Ruotolo has the timing and skillset to exploit anybody in the lower weight divisions— Keith Krikorian may be in big trouble.
Keith Krikorian has an outstanding defense; he is experienced in EBI format style tournaments and knows about the metagame that connects lower body and upper body submissions.
The majority of Krikorian’s wins are via rear-naked strangulation. However, Krikorian also showed against leg lockers, Robert Degle and Ethan Crelinstein, he knows how to play leg entanglements.
He’s what we call an “all-rounder.”
I’d also like to mention Keith Krikorian competed at ADCC 2019 in both his weight class and the absolute division; he’s experienced and brave… which holds merit.
So, Kade Ruotolo should not take Keith Krikorian lightly.
…. Kade Ruotolo Will Win
I’m expecting Kade Ruotolo to submit Keith Krikorian via Darce. Right now, Kade is on a massive win streak, and there are only one or two people who have stopped his constant barrage of submission attempts.
Ruotolo’s chokes are too threatening, and I believe he will penetrate Keith Krikorian’s defense after wearing him down with intense wrestling and passing.
Ultimately, Kade is on top of the 155 division at only 18 years old, and his Jiu-Jitsu will age like a fine wine because he has not yet reached his prime… But I could be wrong.
Krikorian could surprise us all by winning via Rear Naked Strangulation or Heel Hook— Although it’s statistically unlikely he does, anything can happen.
That’s my prediction, what’s yours?