Best Submission Grappling Fight Of 2023: Kade Ruotolo Goes To War With Tommy Langaker

Kade Ruotolo Tommy Langaker ONE Fight Night 11 14

ONE Fight Night 11 played host to perhaps the most action-packed submission grappling match ever seen in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

This past June at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo put his coveted belt on the line against Norwegian standout Tommy Langaker in a clash that kept fans on the edge of their seats for the entirety of the 10-minute contest.

Given the furious pace at which these two ground fighters exchanged techniques, it’s no surprise that this battle was the best submission grappling fight of 2023.

For grappling enthusiasts, this matchup represented one of the most anticipated mat battles in recent memory.

Ruotolo entered the contest undefeated in ONE Championship, having dominated all of his opponents. In his most recent fight, he successfully defended the gold against Matheus Gabriel to further cement his place as one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound competitors.

Meanwhile, Langaker had looked phenomenal in both of his promotional outings. In fact, he came into the showdown fresh off a highlight-reel submission of former ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title challenger Uali Kurzhev.

With expectations high, their World Title clash did not disappoint.

After spending the initial minute of the bout aggressively jockeying for position on the feet, Ruotolo scored a clean takedown. But seconds later, the Norwegian challenger latched onto a heel hook and put the defending titleholder in serious trouble.

That submission attempt was good for a catch, putting Langaker up on the scorecards while forcing the California native to fight from a deficit for the first time in his promotional tenure.

Ruotolo would roar back with his trademark offense. He relentlessly employed a bevy of guard passing techniques, never once giving his European rival a moment of rest.

Around the midway point of the matchup, the lightweight king scored a catch of his own with a brutal Estima Lock attempt.

Langaker tried to answer with leg lock attempts, but Ruotolo – an expert technician with nearly two decades of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience – was able to counter those attacks with near back-takes through the bout’s final minutes.

In the end, the 20-year-old American was rewarded for his non-stop aggression, as the ringside judges awarded him the unanimous decision.

Ruotolo may have walked away victorious, but the real winners were the fans because this 10-minute battle was a showcase of world-class submission grappling, a true display of incredible technique from two of the planet’s best and most entertaining competitors.

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