‘A David And Goliath Situation’ – Tye Ruotolo Eager To Slay Middleweight King Reinier De Ridder At ONE Fight Night 10

Tye Ruotolo is declared winner against Marat Gafurov at ONE on Prime Video 5

Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Tye Ruotolo is determined to show the true power of his martial art by defeating a larger, stronger opponent.

On May 5, the American phenom can do just that when he faces middleweight MMA king Reinier de Ridder in a submission grappling match at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video – ONE’s historic debut on United States soil.

After making a sensational promotional debut at lightweight back in May 2022, Ruotolo moved up for a 180-pound catchweight submission grappling contest against former featherweight MMA king Marat Gafurov.

Despite their size difference, he submitted the Russian in just over five minutes.

The Californian will now move up in weight yet again when he squares off with De Ridder – a man who recently held the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title in addition to his middleweight crown.

At just 20 years old, Ruotolo is still growing and adding muscle as he enters his athletic prime.

He knows he’ll be giving up significant size against “The Dutch Knight,” and he’s changed his diet to pack on the pounds and bridge the gap between them.

But the challenge, he says, is gaining that weight while maintaining his cat-like speed and agility:

“I’ve been bulking to catch up a little bit to close the distance. I’m currently up in high 180s or low 190s [pounds]. I’m sitting right around there. My weight fluctuates so much every day. Some days I eat a lot, and some days I eat too much. 

“I’m trying to keep it clean. That’s the plan. So I’ve been trying to keep the balance. It’s a hard process trying to gain weight but still stay agile, but I feel like it’s happening.”

It’s worth noting that Ruotolo wasn’t just randomly thrown into the Circle against an opponent who outweighs him. Quite the opposite – he specifically called out De Ridder.

Why would the Atos representative willingly give up a size advantage? In the true spirit of martial arts, he says it’s all about testing himself in new ways:

“I think all it comes down to is it’s a lot of excitement for me. I like the challenge [especially] when people think I can’t do [it]. I always work toward something that’s not impossible but really difficult. I feel like in my division, I don’t get that same excitement. I don’t feel like I’m challenged the same way that I am with these bigger guys. So that’s why I love fighting against all the big guys.”

Tye Ruotolo Targets D’Arce Choke Finish Against Reinier De Ridder

Looking for a serious challenge is great, but Tye Ruotolo knows he’ll need to be in peak form against Reinier de Ridder if he wants to keep his 100 percent finishing rate in ONE Championship alive.

Despite their size difference, the American trusts in his jiu-jitsu – with its emphasis on leverage and mechanics rather than brute force – to find the submission.

Plus, he plans to lean on his relentless aggression throughout the bout:

“It’s going to be a crazy match. A little bit of a David and Goliath situation. So I’m excited to take him down and show the true essence of what jiu-jitsu is all about – going for the kill no matter the size of your opponent.”

Of course, the 20-year-old also respects De Ridder’s skills.

A black belt in BJJ and judo, the middleweight king is widely considered the best grappler in all of MMA and owns four dominant submission wins inside the Circle, including ONE’s 2022 Submission of the Year.

Moreover, “The Dutch Knight” possesses a dangerous D’arce choke – the same move that is Ruotolo’s trademark submission. With that in mind, the young grappler aims to out-D’arce his foe and score his third straight finish in ONE:

“I plan on D’Arcing him. I know he has a good D’Arce choke, and I definitely want to show him how it’s done correctly. I think it might take a couple of minutes, but I think the D’Arce is the way I want to get him. 

“I’ll take anything though. I’m a submission hunter. Whatever comes my way I’ll take first. I’m not going to pass it up. He’s a tough guy, so I’m not going to be choosy out here.”

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