Kade Ruotolo (L) and Tye Ruotolo (R) with Andre Galvao (@ruotolobrothersjiujitsu/Instagram page)

Ruotolo Twins Face Tough Tests in ONE Championship Debuts´┐╝

Not many Brazilian jiu-jitsu players can claim legitimate black belt ranking by 18 years old, which garners the Ruotolo brothers, Kade and Tye, prodigy status. Born in Hawaii and raised in California, the twins have been training in BJJ since they were three years old, and have been under the wing of BJJ legend Andre Galvao since 2017.

The Ruotolo brothers have found success at the competition level since they were young kids. Both have won multiple IBJJF World and Pan Championships at the kid and juvenile age groups and have been collecting gold for the last ten years. Needless to say, as ONE Championship has been building up their submission grappling roster with world-class talent, the twins were recently given contracts.

On May 20, at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot, the Ruotolo brothers will be making their promotional debuts. And, neither of them will be facing an easy opponent. Both on the main card, Kade will be facing longtime combat sports veteran Shinya Aoki, and Tye will take on no-gi grappling ace Garry Tonon, who trains under John Danaher.


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The 38-year-old Aoki is one of the most dangerous submission artists in the history of both MMA and submission grappling. In MMA, he has submitted 30 opponents, and is known for a wide array of creative submissions. And, while no part of the body is safe from his attacks, he has found most MMA success attacking the neck. In grappling competition, he only holds two ADCC losses to two of the greatest players of all time, Roger Gracie and Marcelo Garcia. When grappling only, he utilizes active guard attacks, which actually complements Kade’s game quite well.

Like his brother, Kade utilizes a wild top-game scramble, and he has some fantastic guard passing. However, it will be no walk in the park against a veteran like Aoki. Aoki’s last grappling loss was in the ONE Circle against Tonon back in May 2017.

What can anyone really say about Tonon? At 30 years of age, he already holds a second degree black belt under Tom DeBlass, was a member of the ultra-dominant Danaher Death Squad, and, along with Danaher, awarded Gordon Ryan his black belt. The New Jersey native has a stack of gold medals spanning the last eight years at the highest levels of submission grappling. He has 53 submissions in 71 victories, and the lion’s share of them have been by heel hook. Considered one of the pioneers of the modern leg-lock game, nobody’s legs are safe from potential destruction.

Tye could arguably have a tougher test than Kade, when he faces Tonon. Tonon might not have the miles that Aoki does, but he is on the cutting edge of current submission grappling techniques, is training under one of the best coaches ever, and plays a grappling game that doesn’t play into Tye’s strengths. Tonon wants Tye to attack from the top, as it gives him easier access to those leg locks, and Tonon has never been submitted by D’Arce choke, which is one of the Ruotolo brothers’ signature techniques. There is also the added pressure of the ongoing feud between Gordon Ryan and Andre Galvao, which seems to bleed over into nearly all of their teammates’ bouts.

ONE 157 is a card that is very heavy in Muay Thai battles, both grand prix and title fights, but these two submission grappling bouts are sure to be exciting and fast-paced. The Ruotolo brothers are young and hungry, but Aoki and Tonon are not about to lay down and let the kids have their way with them.


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