‘Super Fired Up’ – BJJ Superstar Kade Ruotolo Can’t Wait For MMA Debut Against Blake Cooper

Kade Ruotolo Francisco Lo ONE Fight Night 21 57

Reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo – along with the rest of the combat sports world – is pumped for his much-anticipated MMA debut.

Last Friday, the 21-year-old prodigy moved to 6-0 in ONE submission grappling contests with an impressive finish of dangerous Brazilian newcomer Francisco Lo at ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel vs. Nicolas on Prime Video.

That contest went down at Bangkok’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, and after the dust settled, Ruotolo fielded questions about his upcoming transition from grappling to the all-around sport of mixed martial arts.

The young American is set to battle Hawaii’s Blake Cooper on June 7 at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on Prime Video in what will mark one of the most exciting MMA debuts of the past decade.

Hailing from a family of accomplished fighters, the hard-hitting Cooper is a veteran of three professional MMA fights and is far from a pushover.

Ruotolo spoke to onefc.com about his 27-year-old opponent:

“The first week of June, it’s on. I’m super fired up. It’s been a long time coming. I have a tough opponent in Blake Cooper ahead of me. The entire Cooper family are legends. Heavy hands and good wrestling. It will be an amazing matchup. In about a month from now, I’ll be back out here in Thailand.”

Cooper debuted in the world’s largest martial arts organization last September, suffering his first career defeat at the hands of Swiss phenom Maurice Abevi.

Despite the loss, Ruotolo says Cooper showed plenty of skill in that matchup. Accordingly, the BJJ black belt is preparing for a war on June 7:

“I’ve already watched his last ONE Championship performance. I’m definitely not taking anybody lightly. He has some heavy hands and good wrestling. He’s a scrapper. Anyone from Hawaii is a scrapper. I know that for sure, so I’m excited.”

When he dons the 4-ounce gloves for his MMA debut, Ruotolo will still be widely regarded as one of the planet’s top pound-for-pound submission grapplers.

Luckily for fans of the sport, the Californian says he won’t leave BJJ behind on his quest to become a well-rounded martial artist:

“I just want to stay as active as possible and check all the boxes. MMA, jiu-jitsu, and everything else after that may come with it.”

Kade Ruotolo: ‘I’m Not Too Scared Of Punches’

It’s no small secret that Kade Ruotolo is a world-class ground fighter, but ahead of his MMA debut against Blake Cooper, fans and pundits alike are curious about the young star’s stand-up game.

The lightweight submission grappling king has been working with veteran striking coach Jason Parillo, and despite knowing there’s plenty of room for improvement, he’s confident that his countless “scraps” with twin brother and fellow ONE World Champion Tye Ruotolo will come in handy.

Ruotolo added:

“I’m no Mike Tyson or a Superlek. I’m not quite there yet, but every day, I’m getting better and polishing my hands. The main thing is that I’m comfortable striking. I’m not too scared of punches, which is usually the biggest barrier to overcome.

“My brother and I grew up scrapping our whole lives, so the fear button isn’t really there when it comes to striking. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’ve been finding more success and learning every day, so I’m confident.”

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