In the first of three world title fights on Friday night, Kade Ruotolo became the inaugural ONE lightweight submission grappling champion. After catching a heel hook, Ruotolo submitted his opponent, Uali Kurzhev, in just over four minutes to win the world championship.
Kurzhev, a four-time sambo world champion, was limited to defense for the majority of the contest after landing an early foot sweep that caught Kade Ruotolo off guard.
In his post-fight interview, Kade Ruotolo gave props to his opponent for how long he was able to stay in the heel hook position without tapping:
“Man, props to him. He’s so tough. He let it pop multiple times. It was kind of nasty. I made sure to check up on him, and made sure he was good. But man, he’s a stud. He’s an absolute monster, for sure. That foot sweep in the beginning caught me by surprise, I wasn’t ready for that. Legend.”
“From there, I just entered into a leglock situation — the inside heel hook. From there, it’s so hard to defend once I get that grip. I’m putting my hips in, all the pressure is on the inside of his knee, and then right there you see it’s twerking — nasty. I get as much leverage as I can. And like I said, it popped maybe three, four, five times, and I was like ‘How is this guy… he’s got rubber legs.’ He wasn’t even human, but I finally got the finish and I’m stoked.”
Kade Ruotolo says a life of hard work has led him to this moment
Whilst it may have taken him just over four minutes to win the ONE lightweight submission grappling world title, Kade Ruotolo’s journey to the top hasn’t happened overnight.
Ruotolo became the inaugural ONE lightweight submission grappling world champion at ONE on Prime Video 3 by submitting Uali Kurzhev in the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 19-year old stepped into the spotlight with his record-breaking ADCC 2022 world championship win just a month prior. He has kept his incredible momentum going by winning the world title on Friday night.
In his post-fight interview at ONE on Prime Video 3, Ruotolo reminded everyone that he didn’t become a jiu-jitsu prodigy overnight:
“I think it’s just 16 years of preparation man, my entire life. I’ve been doing this since I could remember. I was born on these mats, so it was just a matter of time before the results started paying off.”