‘He’s Gonna Make Me Mad’ – Tye Ruotolo Excited For Heated World Title Defense Against Aggressive Izaak Michell

Tye Ruotolo

American superstar Tye Ruotolo thinks he’ll tap into something special when he puts his ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling Title on the line against dangerous promotional newcomer Izaak Michell in the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel vs. Nicolas on Prime Video.

Slated for U.S. primetime this Friday, April 5, that contest will mark the 21-year-old phenom’s first defense of his gold and – according to many fans and pundits – his toughest test yet in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

After calling for a match against Michell since last summer, Ruotolo will finally get his wish at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. The Australian, though, will present a serious challenge.

A well-conditioned athlete with explosive takedowns, crushing strength, and relentless pacing, Michell will undoubtedly look to impose his physicality and hand the World Champion his first defeat in ONE.

But according to Ruotolo, he thrives against grapplers like Michell who rely on their size and athleticism.

By way of example, the Californian recalled his thrilling submission win over IBJJF No-Gi World Champion Pedro Marinho at the 2022 ADCC World Championships:

“Any time I fight big guys, the last thing I’m worried about is the physicality. I’m just looking for my windows and creating my windows. You saw in my Pedro Marinho match [at ADCC 2022], at one point, it kinda got a little bit heated, and I just remember running toward him and grabbing him as hard as I could.”

Twin brother Kade Ruotolo – the reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion who will also compete at ONE Fight Night 21 this Friday – was in his brother’s corner for that ADCC battle.

Perhaps more than anyone else, he knows firsthand just how dangerous Tye can be once things get chippy and a match heats up.

Kade spoke about his brother’s penchant for channeling his emotions during a fight:

“Trying to punk Tye and be that physical guy to Tye is always the worst game plan. The last thing you want to do is get him emotional. Trying to punk him will get him emotional. If you get him emotional, good luck. Anyone in the world is smoked after that.”

While he’s typically cool, calm, and collected, Tye is quick to agree and admit that his emotions can run hot in the thick of a match.

All it takes, he says, is an opponent who’s looking to scrap:

“Anyone who makes me emotional or wants to fight hard, get in my face, I definitely like it, and I can pull it out. It’s deep inside me. I can’t just pull it out all the time, but when someone makes me mad, it’s good.”

The welterweight submission grappling titleholder thinks he’ll find a willing dance partner in the notoriously aggressive Michell.

He’s well aware of his foe’s physical, attack-oriented approach, and he’s confident that will only play in his own favor:

“I think it’s gonna be a war the first couple of minutes. I think he’s gonna come forward, and I think he’s gonna use his physicality a lot. One hundred percent, he’s gonna make me mad, so I’m really excited.”

Tye Ruotolo Aims To Dominate And Submit Izaak Michell

Tye Ruotolo certainly respects what Izaak Michell will bring to the table, having witnessed him compete and win at the world-class level outside of ONE.

The soon-to-be World Title challenger is widely considered a top-three welterweight submission grappler on the planet – which is precisely why Ruotolo is hungry to face him:

“I’ve been asking for Izaak for a little bit now. I’ve seen the success he’s been having in the jiu-jitsu world. He’s been beating a lot of good guys. He’s respected.

“A lot of people are trying to say he has the best wrestling in jiu-jitsu. I just think he’s a very tough opponent. In my division, I want to beat all the best guys to the point where there’s no stones left unturned.”

As he looks ahead to this much-anticipated World Title showdown, the young BJJ black belt is confident he’ll be able to impose his will and execute the same game plan that’s established him as a mainstay on every pound-for-pound list.

He plans to beat Michell at his own game – take him down, control him, secure the finish, and then leave Bangkok with 26 pounds of gold.

Ruotolo added:

“I think I’m gonna get on his back and choke him or guillotine. I don’t really know how I’m gonna submit him. I just have faith that I’m gonna submit him.

“Whichever way it happens, I’ll take. I just want to put him on his back. I know I’m gonna put him on his back first and sub him from there.”

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