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Jozef Chen Excited To Showcase Grappling Skills At ONE Fight Night 23

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Jozef Chen will make his ONE Championship debut in U.S. primetime on Friday, July 5, at ONE Fight Night 23. The talented teen will meet Tye Ruotolo in a 186-pound catchweight submission grappling showcase. The step-up in competition has not deterred the 19-year-old.

Chen Excited to Meet Ruotolo in Submission Grappling Showcase

“I have a good idea of what he’s going to do. But, I mean, the best way to test out a lot of these ideas on what may work or may not work is actually having the match. I mean, he’s very young. I think he’s a bit older than me, but I assume in our careers, it won’t be the only time we cross paths. So I think it’s a great opportunity for me to test a lot of the stuff I’ve been working on,” Chen told ONE.

The perception may be that the teen is fighting an uphill battle against the ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Champion. However, Chen does not believe the talent gap is that different. If there is any advantage for the American, Chen identifies the experience edge as where the difference truly lies.

“I think his style comes as a result of how long he’s trained and kind of the upbringing in jiu-jitsu he’s had. I’m coming up on six years in jiu-jitsu, so I wouldn’t say I have as much intuition with what I necessarily need to do, and so that kind of manifests itself into what could be perceived as a methodical, slower approach. Whereas I feel like, since he’s been training for so long, he has a very good idea of what he wants to do in certain positions. So that’s where a lot of this more intuition and dynamic movement really comes into play,” the South African said.

Ruotolo has been remarkably dominant since arriving in ONE. However, Chen feels that it is because the Atos BJJ star has been able to dictate the matches on his terms, especially from top position. At ONE Fight Night 23, he will be looking to make Ruotolo uncomfortable and challenging him in every area.

“My idea is definitely to try and test a lot of the skills that I’m trying to work on. So standing position is definitely one that I’m going to try to see what works, see what doesn’t, and try to play from that. Because if I can get to top position on top of Tye, it’ll be very winning from there. Just generally, you see him want to do his best work from top. So being able to put him in bottom, I think this will be a good strategy for me if I’m able to do that,” Chen remarked.

Chen’s ONE debut is not just special because it’s his arrival on the global stage. The B-Team representative has long been a fan of Ruotolo. The opportunity to test himself against one of the top grappling stars of today is part of the draw for the South African.

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“Tye is definitely one of the more exciting and one of the more well-accomplished grapplers in the sport. So, especially for me, outside of how good he is and the level that he’s on, I think one of the things that makes it exciting for me is that I’ve been watching him for, man, since I was a yellow, orange belt. So being able to compete against him, it’s a very cool experience,” the 19-year-old said.

The ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Title is not up for grabs. A win for Chen would instantly elevate him into prime position for a possible challenge. Yet, gold is not his top priority. For Chen, showing his skills to a captive global audience is the reward.

“I’m very proud to be able to compete at this level at this point. I think it’s very cool, because, generally, for me, jiu-jitsu, I wanna have very good jiu-jitsu. The competition is more secondary to my jiu-jitsu. Being able to compete and display my jiu-jitsu, that’s what really makes me happy. It’s very awesome to be able to compete against someone that you looked up to for so long,” the B-Team member remarked.

When Chen walks down the ONE aisle for the first time, he does not expect any first-time jitters. He believes his prior competitions around the world have adequately prepared him for this moment, and it won’t become a factor in his Prime Video debut. Only time will tell if that is actually the case.

“It’s not the first time. You know, when I first came to the U.S., like two years ago, and then just having trained with and competed with so many people that I’ve studied a lot … you know, it’s not a new experience to me,” Chen said.

ONE Fight Night 23 airs live on Friday, July 5, on Prime Video. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The event is free for all Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.