‘I Can Hold My Own On The Mats’ – Blake Cooper Not Afraid Of Kade Ruotolo’s Submission Game In MMA Matchup

Blake Cooper Maurice Abevi ONE Fight Night 14 2

Blake Cooper is aiming to spoil Kade Ruotolo’s highly anticipated mixed martial arts debut.

On June 7 in U.S. primetime, the Hawaiian slugger will face the reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion in an intriguing lightweight MMA tilt at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on Prime Video.

That contest will take place at Bangkok’s Impact Arena and will mark Cooper’s second appearance in ONE – the biggest opportunity of his still-young career.

That’s because Ruotolo, at just 21 years old, is widely regarded among the planet’s top pound-for-pound grapplers. Understandably, his MMA debut has brought plenty of fanfare.

But Cooper is far from a pushover. Hailing from a decorated family of fighters, he boasts an undefeated amateur record, two professional victories, and an accomplished collegiate wrestling career.

Given his edge in experience, the 27-year-old isn’t intimidated by what Ruotolo will bring to the Circle and quickly points out that this won’t be a grappling match; it’s an MMA fight, where every strike will make a difference.

The Oahu resident spoke to onefc.com about his matchup with Ruotolo:

“I expect anything, you know? If he wants to stand, we can stand. And when it comes to the ground, I believe I can hold my own on the mats.

“So wherever it takes us, this is an MMA fight, so it’s a little bit different. But yeah, I’m expecting anything really, whether it be stand up or on the ground, just being ready for any type of scenario.”

Of course, Cooper will need to be disciplined and defensively sound any time the fight hits the canvas, as he’s well aware of his opponent’s world-class submission game.

Ground strikes, though, could tip things in his favor – even in grappling exchanges where Ruotolo might think he has the edge:

“When he’s going for submissions or he’s trying to do something with me, if I can catch him a couple of times, he’s gonna think twice and hopefully let go of those submissions, and it’s gonna open up more opportunities for me.

“Striking while on the ground will be important.”

Ultimately, the Hawaiian plans to take out Ruotolo inside the distance and stop his MMA hype train before it leaves the station.

He added:

“I’m always trying to look for the finish. So whether it’s on the ground or standing, you know, just trying to finish this fight and get in there and get out of there.

“Not trying to put a decision on this thing, just trying to go for the finish. That’s my goal.”

Cooper Shares Key Lessons From ONE Debut

Blake Cooper doesn’t just have more overall MMA experience than Kade Ruotolo; he’s also competed in the all-around sport in ONE Championship.

Last September at ONE Fight Night 14, he suffered a TKO loss to Swiss phenom Maurice Abevi – the first defeat of his career.

In that clash, Cooper’s cardio failed him, and he expects Ruotolo to test his stamina on June 7:

“I feel like he’s gonna try to push the pace on me because of my last fight, you know? So I’m ready. I’m ready to match his pace, and we’ll see who breaks first.”

The Lion of Judah representative is brutally honest, admitting that he didn’t properly gear up for his battle with Abevi.

Now, he’s promising to right those wrongs in his sophomore appearance at ONE 167:

“I feel like I could have prepared a lot more for that fight. I felt like I was doing good up until my body kind of just gave out. I got tired, man. I just didn’t put in the hard work that I needed to do, and I got tired. It’s just as simple as that.

“I’m doing things a lot different this time around and preparation is a lot better this time, so you know it’s gonna be a different fight.”

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