After Narrow World Title Defeat, Tommy Langaker Aims For ‘Redemption’ Against Kade Ruotolo At ONE 165
ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru will feature a rematch of ONE’s best grappling match of 2023, as Europe’s top BJJ black belt, Tommy Langaker, will once again challenge American phenom Kade Ruotolo for the ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title.
Set for the co-main event on January 28 at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, that highly anticipated clash will be Langaker’s opportunity to avenge his prior defeat and show how much his game has improved.
But while he desperately wants to even the score with Ruotolo, the Norwegian actually believes he did enough to earn the victory last time around.
First and foremost, Langaker feels that he attacked enough from his vaunted open guard throughout the contest despite ultimately losing by decision.
He told onefc.com:
“I do think it should have gone my way. But when I played guard and he was playing top, it may have looked that he was putting on a pretty high pace when he was passing, and it depends on how the judges score it and what they favor. I was countering everything he was doing.
“So I felt I was the one trying to be offensive in regards to submission attempts.”
In that matchup last June, Langaker stunned the defending titleholder with a heel-hook attempt to take an early lead.
Ruotolo then roared back with a foot-lock attempt of his own to tie the score and would earn the judges’ favor due to his aggressive guard-passing and back-take attempts down the stretch.
So, while the challenger might disagree with the decision, he understands that the most definitive path to victory is with a finish:
“I’m not complaining about it. I never will complain about it. My job is to get the submission.”
Now with more than six months to analyze his performance against Ruotolo, the 29-year-old is loaded with confidence going into the rematch.
A veteran of over 150 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu matches as a black belt, he knows how to bounce back stronger from a defeat – and he plans to do exactly that on January 28:
“It really does suck, and it’s a sour moment. But, you know, I’ve had many losses in my career, so I try not to dwell too much on it.
“I felt how he felt, and I know his style. I know what to be aware of, and I’m just glad I get the chance of redemption and show what I can do.”
Tommy Langaker Reinvigorated By New Approach To Training
Tommy Langaker hasn’t simply sat on the sidelines since his first clash with Kade Ruotolo.
Quite the opposite – in December, he won gold at the IBJJF No Gi World Championships to solidify his status as the planet’s top 170-pound grappler outside of the 21-year-old American.
Langaker credits his success to a change in training. Ironically, he says the key has been spending less time working on his craft.
“I tend to do a lot more than necessary in regards to preparation, which creates a lot of pressure on myself and creates a very tense version of me that kind of hesitates. So, due to reflecting on this, I kind of restricted my training in amounts of hours.”
The results speak for themselves, as Langaker seems to be in the finest form of his accomplished career.
He says that this new, less demanding approach will help him perform at his best when it matters the most at ONE 165.
The Wulfing Academy representative added:
“I think it’s going to help me quite a lot. I’m pushing 30 now, and I’ve been training in a certain way for so many years in most of my professional career, and I’ve been training basically in the same pattern. And now, as I finally managed to unhinge myself from this routine, I feel very comfortable going into the match, win or lose.
“Of course, I’m going to be nervous, but in a very manageable way. I am very confident in what I’m doing in my preparation and how I live my life that is going to help me secure a good match and a good victory.”