Kade Ruotolo Defends Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title In Fast-Paced Rematch Against Tommy Langaker

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ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo stayed true to his word.

The American constantly attacked Tommy Langaker in their World Title rematch at ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru.

Although Ruotolo couldn’t get the finish he was chasing, the reigning king dominated his Norwegian rival en route to a unanimous decision win at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, January 28.

After a tit-for-tat wrestling exchange to open their co-main event showdown, Ruotolo made the first move, as he jumped for an armbar and then a leg lock, spurring the battle into action.

Langaker defended well, but the American continued to search for innovative ways to go on the offensive. For instance, he trapped his foe in a crucifix and hunted for an armlock.  

Ruotolo’s closest attacks came from a pair of D’Arce chokes. The first attempt was tight, but the second appeared to be a done deal. The Norwegian’s head looked set to explode, as the Atos representative kept his squeeze throughout several dominant positions. 

However, Langaker – who most recently captured an IBJJF No-Gi World Title last December – somehow managed to escape, proving his mettle in the face of adversity once again. 

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Both men exchanged leg attacks in the final minutes of the contest, although neither was able to make anything stick. Still, the action remained fast and furious as the final seconds of the 10-minute clash ticked away. 

In the end, Ruotolo got his hand raised, retained his belt, moved his record to 26-2, and earned a US$50,000 performance bonus from ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

Following his victory, the 21-year-old phenom told ONE commentator Mitch Chilson:

“I was a lot more dominant this time around. I’m super stoked, super happy to retain the belt, especially to come back to Japan [and do it]. I’m just really thankful.  

“Full respect to Tommy. He’s an amazing jiu-jitsu competitor. Not a whole lot surprised me, but his resilience was definitely impressive. He’s not an easy guy to put away by any means. It wasn’t any lack of effort on my part.” 

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