Asian MMA

Kade Ruotolo Attempted To Replace Sage Northcutt At ONE 165, Compete Twice In One Night

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During the ONE 165 broadcast, it was announced that Sage Northcutt had unexpectedly dropped out of his match against Shinya Aoki. In his place, John Lineker stepped up to the challenge. Fans did not learn until after the event that ONE Championship submission ace Kade Ruotolo attempted to take the spot and compete twice in one night.

The ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion was already defending his title against Tommy Langaker in the co-main event. But since he has been training for a transition into MMA, he was ready to battle Aoki and make a splash in Tokyo. Although it didn’t happen, Ruotolo admitted he thought he could pull it off.

“I mean, when I first heard the news, I was a bit rattled. I was a bit rattled, for sure. And yeah, I just felt like I could get the job done and possibly get my grappling match done as well. And, you know, grappling doesn’t have the most damage usually, after the match, right? And I figured, as long as I don’t get too hurt in the MMA match, I’d have been able to get it done with Tommy as well,” Ruotolo said after the event.

For Ruotolo, it was not about taking on the Japanese MMA icon. It was all about being a team player and stepping up. Additionally, the American admits it would have made for an incredible story to make his MMA debut under the circumstances.

“You know, I have so much respect for Shinya. He’s pretty much my hero. He’s such an absolute legend, and he took on such a big risk taking on John Lineker, too, switching up an opponent at the last minute. It’s a lot of pressure on both sides, right? So, you know, Shinya’s an absolute legend. I wouldn’t say I wanted the fight against Shinya so much in particular, but it was more so just to save the show. I felt it would’ve been amazing to make my MMA debut, and I felt I would have still gotten the job done in my jiu-jitsu,” Ruotolo admitted.

After his title defense, where he dominated Langaker, the Atos BJJ star is ready to make his move. He is eyeing a move in the first half of 2024 to begin his pursuit of two-sport gold. With that timetable in mind, Ruotolo is eager to step up against anyone he gets offered.

“To be 100 percent honest, for my MMA debut, I have no one really particular I’m aiming for. I just want to get my feet in the ring or the Circle, whichever it may be, and I really just want to put on a performance. So, whoever it may be, I just really want to get my toes in the water, and, like I said, my goal is to be a double-champ in ONE Championship – jiu-jitsu and MMA. So whoever is in the way, I’m going to have to get past them,” Ruotolo said.

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Jeremy Brand started up this lovechild called back in 2009. It began as a hobby project and has turned into much more. In his spare time, you can find Jeremy on the mats, as he is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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