WATCH: Lightweight submission grappling king Kade Ruotolo goes to his wheelhouse, submits Blake Cooper in MMA debut

Kade Ruotolo impressed many in his MMA debut at ONE 167. [Photo via: ONE Championship]
Kade Ruotolo impressed many in his MMA debut at ONE 167. [Photo via: ONE Championship]

ONE Championship fans had many reasons to tune in to ONE 167 last Friday, June 7 and the MMA debut of submission grappling star Kade Ruotolo was one such reason. The ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion shared the Circle with the hard-hitting Blake Cooper in a lightweight MMA contest.

Despite many worried about Ruotolo's chances of surviving in the stand-up against a gifted striker like Cooper, Ruotolo was more than happy to showcase what he has been working on in training camp, including a couple of high kicks.

After Ruotolo obliged Cooper in a couple of striking exchanges, the inevitable soon came to pass as he took control of the NAIA wrestling champion's back and cinched in a deep rear-naked choke with less than two minutes left in round one.

Check out Kade Ruotolo's successful MMA debut as posted by ONE Championship on Instagram below.

For his winning efforts inside the Circle, Kade Ruotolo was one of three fighters at ONE 167 to be awarded a $50,000 performance bonus.

What lies ahead for Kade Ruotolo's future?

Based on how the 21-year-old looked under MMA rules, there is reason to believe that he might dabble in more MMA bouts.

What makes Ruotolo's performance even more eye-catching is how he developed a striking game that saw him land some heavy-handed shots against Cooper while also deftly avoiding some big hits from the Lion of Judah product.

But before anything else, Ruotolo's next assignment will see him defend his lightweight submission grappling world championship against ONE flyweight submission grappling world titlist Mikey Musumeci at ONE 168: Denver on Sept. 8 inside the Ball Arena in Denver.

Tickets for ONE 168: Denver are still available via Ticketmaster.

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Edited by Anurag Mitra
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