Tye Ruotolo Targeting ‘Bigger Guys’ In Submission Grappling After Overcoming De Ridder

Tye Ruotolo is declared winner against Marat Gafurov at ONE on Prime Video 5

On May 5 at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III, BJJ prodigy Tye Ruotolo kept his undefeated ONE record intact with a hard-fought decision over middleweight MMA king Reinier de Ridder in their submission grappling super-match.

But while the 20-year-old black belt was happy to leave 1stBank Center in Colorado victorious, he wished he would have ended the contest with a finish.

After scoring submissions in his first two promotional appearances, Ruotolo struggled to get his vaunted ground game going against De Ridder, who held a significant size advantage and is a world-class grappler in his own right.

As a representative of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the global stage, the Californian wants to produce a thrilling performance each time out. And for that reason, he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome.

Ruotolo said:

“My goal every time I step on the mats is to inspire people to do jiu-jitsu, to embrace the sport. It’s such a sick sport with so many different reasons to enter. I feel like my performance tonight, I didn’t really get to show what I was capable of. I didn’t feel like I inspired the way I should have.”

Moving forward, Ruotolo guarantees he’ll get back to his elite submission-hunting ways.

He told ONEFC.com:

“I’m just going to look back at my match tonight. Make sure I fix all my mistakes so I’ll never win in that fashion again. I’m not super stoked on the win.”

Ruotolo Not Quite Ready For MMA Transition

After getting past a man several inches taller and a number of pounds heavier, Tye Ruotolo is looking ahead to even bigger submission grappling challenges – literally.

First and foremost, the American wants a rematch with multiple-time Heavyweight BJJ World Champion Nicholas Meregali. The pair first met last September in the semifinals of the openweight division at the ADCC World Championships, where Meregali edged out a narrow and controversial decision win.

Ruotolo explained:

“I want to fight Meragali no matter what. I feel like I should. I could take bigger guys, and he’s the guy I want to take.”

Naturally, fans are also curious about the young phenom’s eventual transition to the all-around sport of mixed martial arts.

According to Ruotolo, he plans to stay in grappling for at least the rest of this year so he can slay more giants like Meregali or famed heavyweight competitor Gordon Ryan.

But he certainly plans to fight in MMA before long, and he also believes his twin brother – reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo – will do so before 2023 is over.

Tye added:

“I think my brother is going to transition before me, for sure. He wants to fight every day, so I think he’ll definitely make the transition by the end of the year.

“For me, I’m going to make my transition next year. I want to beat some guys in jiu-jitsu, Meragali and Gordon Ryan, before I make my transition to MMA. I still got a lot of couple goals, make sure they happen. From there, I’ll go to MMA.”

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