Kade Ruotolo (T) vs. Tommy Langaker (ONE Championship)

Kade Ruotolo Discusses Rematch with Tommy Langaker at ONE 165

Kade Ruotolo has stood on top of ONE Championship’s lightweight submission grappling division since October 2022. However, he’s still motivated to clear some unfinished business with one of his chief rivals at ONE 165: Takeru vs. Superlek on Sunday, Jan. 28, in Tokyo, Japan. 

Norwegian ace Tommy Langaker failed in his first attempt to grab the American’s gold last June, but he lost only by decision. He was never submitted, and that is something that sticks in Ruotolo’s craw. 

“I got the win. However, it wasn’t the way I wanted to win. You know, I would definitely want to get the finish. And that’s pretty much the reason why I’m accepting the rematch this time around. Because I want to submit him,” he told ONE


When the Atos BJJ standout enters the ring this Sunday, he expects to be at his very best, which is something he couldn’t say before their last meeting. 

Ruotolo confesses that outside factors may have prevented him from peaking at the right time against Langaker at ONE FIght Night 11. 

“I’m never one to make any excuses, but my last camp was just, you know, nowhere near where I wanted it to be as far as my preparation due to some outside reasons,” he said. 

“And this time around, I’ve been a lot more focused, I’ve been a lot more hungry, and it’s going to show.”  

The thought of finishing Langaker is at the forefront of the lightweight submission grappling king’s mind heading into Tokyo, but that is not a unique circumstance. 

Ruotolo feels that way for any competitor who he fails to tap out before the final bell sounds. 

“The next time we fight, I’m going to submit him. I know it’s kind of a simple answer, maybe a bit boring. But to be honest, that’s the honest-to-God truth,” he exclaimed. 

“And everyone that I fight that I don’t submit, I almost take it as just a poor performance, even if I was dominant. If I didn’t get the submission then I’m not happy.” 

In this case, it is maybe more frustrating for Ruotolo because he views Langaker’s game as simplistic. The 20-year-old doesn’t see many wrinkles in his opponent’s style and believes he will always know what to expect. 

“Tommy pretty much does the same thing every time he steps in that ring. And I think that’s what makes my brother’s [Tye Ruotolo] and my games kind of hard to plan for because we could take the fight in any direction,” he stated. 

“[Langaker] just kind of stays on his back and waits for his opponent to engage, and just clasp on to the legs. And if he doesn’t get that, then he’s kind of like complaining and asking around. And, you know, I’ve never been like that once in my life.” 

And that is the key difference he expects to showcase inside Ariake Arena on Sunday. 

Ruotolo plans to be the more dynamic and flowing martial artist in the matchup, allowing him to get a submission win to secure his third title defense. 

“I believe he really does tend to go for the same things, and that’s the K-guard crunch and try to find the back-take off it. You know, there are guys that tend to run from him, he tries to chain it into a back-take, and he’s good at that,” he said. 

“However, I’m not going to be fleeing. I’m going to be entering the fire.” 

ONE 165 airs live from Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, Jan. 28. The action is available on global pay-per-view at watch.onefc.com for $39.99.