“An absolutely massive matchup” – Kade Ruotolo weighs in on MMA debut vs Blake Cooper at ONE 167

Kade Ruotolo (L) weighs in on MMA debut vs Blake Cooper (R) at ONE 167. -- Photo by ONE Championship
Kade Ruotolo (L) weighs in on MMA debut vs Blake Cooper (R) at ONE 167. -- Photo by ONE Championship

Following another impressive submission grappling victory last weekend, American grappling ace Kade Ruotolo now turns his focus on his MMA debut in June. He will compete against compatriot Blake Cooper, which he said he is truly pumped up for.

The 21-year-old Atos standout is the reigning ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion. He dips his hands in the multifaceted sport of mixed martial arts at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on June 7 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. It comes on the heels of another successful grappling fight on April 5 at ONE Fight Night 21 over Brazilian Francisco Lo by submission in their catchweight (180-pound) grappling showdown.

At the post-event press conference following his latest win, Kade Ruotolo touched on his highly anticipated MMA debut, sharing:

"It's gonna be an absolutely massive matchup. I've just been anticipating this so much, my MMA debut. It's something that I really wanted to be doing. I'm so stoked that it's finally happening, finally."

In making his foray into MMA, Ruotolo said it is part of his push to grow as a fighter and showcase other facets of his skill set.

At ONE 167, he is up against Cooper, who is out to bounce back after losing in his promotional debut in September last year.

Kade Ruotolo a $50,000 performance bonus winner in latest victory

In defeating Fracisco Lo by submission in his latest fight, Kade Ruotolo also went away as a winner of a $50,000 performance bonus and was one of three fighters who did so at ONE Fight Night 21 on April 5 in Thailand.

Ruotolo showed his experience competing at the global stage when he got the better of his Brazilian opponent in their catchweight grappling showdown, employing a polished rear-naked choke midway into their 10-minute joust.

The impressive win got the nod of ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong for a performance incentive.

It was his third $50,000 performance bonus since making his ONE Championship debut in May 2022.

Apart from Kade Ruotolo, also incentive winners at ONE Fight Night 21 were his twin brother Tye and heavyweight MMA fighter Ben Tynan.

Tye Ruotolo successfully defended the ONE welterweight grappling world title over Australian challenger Izaak Michell by submission. Tynan, meanwhile, made it a second straight victory in the promotion with a first-round TKO of Australian Duke Didier.

The replay of ONE Fight Night 21 is available for North American fans with an active Amazon Prime Video subscription.

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Edited by Krishna Venki
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