Brazilian jiu-jitsu prodigy Kade Ruotolo is all about finding ways to showcase the beauty of grappling to the mainstream audience.
While the reigning ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion has certainly elevated the sport with his brilliance inside the Circle, he’s still seeking options to make the sport as accepted in the mainstream as mixed martial arts.
During his ONE Fight Night 11 pre-event interview with the South China Morning Post’s Nik Atkin, Ruotolo suggested adopting the rules of Combat Jiu-Jitsu (CJJ), to perhaps make submission grappling more enticing to watch, especially for those with little to no knowledge of the sport.
“Absolutely. I think there's always going to be little ways we can tweak things to make it more exciting. I think one thing that I don't know how open ONE is to the idea, but I think combat jiujitsu is a really a really cool thing. Because you still get the same aspect of jiujitsu. You're getting all the jujitsu techniques, but if it gets boring, you can just deck the guy. Like straight out, you could just crack them.”
Check out the full interview:
Combat jiu-jitsu is a hybrid version of traditional BJJ, which was developed by the iconic Eddie Bravo as a middle ground between jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts.
CJJ still incorporates the dynamic submissions and transitions from no-gi jiu-jitsu and submission grappling, but it does come with an added twist.
Combatants are allowed to throw open palm strikes while grappling, which may sound like a novelty but somewhat captures a real fight's realism.
The added striking aspect is also a great way to avoid stalling, while also allowing grapplers to create more submission opportunities.
Ruotolo, in fact, has already found success in this area since he won first place in the EBI Combat Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2020.
In the meantime, the Atos standout will stick to traditional grappling as he prepares to defend his lightweight submission grappling throne for the second time against fellow BJJ savant Tommy Langaker in the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 11.
The entire 10-fight card will emanate from Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok on June 9 and is free of charge for Prime Video members in North America.