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ONE Championship: Three Submission Grappling Bouts We Want To See Inside the ONE Circle In 2023

By Mike Joseph

Singapore, January 23: ONE Championship revolutionized the sport of submission grappling when it introduced it to the global stage last year.

With two 26-pound belts now adorning the shoulders of some of the world's best ground-based practitioners, the list of fighters looking to fight for grappling gold is growing rapidly.

Alongside a series of new signings, there are plenty of MMA athletes keen to test their mettle in ONE's newest format.

Here are three submission grappling matchups we'd love to see go down in the Circle this year:

#1 Kade Ruotolo Vs. Tommy Langaker

Teenage Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu prodigy Kade Ruotolo took the submission grappling world by storm in 2022 and is poised to continue his dominance in 2023.

The undefeated 19-year-old black belt became the youngest-ever ADCC World Champion in September, before claiming the inaugural ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title a month later.

After defending his World Title against Matheus Gabriel at ONE FIGHT NIGHT 5 in December, Ruotolo called for a match against another BJJ black belt - Tommy Langaker.

Langaker has long been considered Europe's top male grappler, and he made his ONE debut at ONE 160 in August, earning a stunning victory over Renato Canuto.

The 28-year-old showed off his aggressive yet technical brand of BJJ - not dissimilar to Ruotolo - in the bout, and a matchup between the pair would be a thrilling spectacle.

#2 Mikey Musumeci Vs. Demetrious Johnson

Mikey Musumeci has dominated his division since joining the ONE roster in 2022. "Darth Rigatoni" became the inaugural ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion at ONE FIGHT NIGHT 2 in October when he defeated old rival Cleber Sousa by unanimous decision.

He then had fans squirming in their seats at ONE FIGHT NIGHT 6 earlier this month as he manipulated the leg of title challenger Gantumur Bayanduuren en route to a successful first defense of his throne.

After the bout, the 26-year-old grappling sensation politely extended an invitation to ONE Flyweight World Champion Demetrious Johnson to face him in a grappling match - a callout Johnson has since shown interest in accepting.

"Mighty Mouse" has his hands full preparing for a trilogy flyweight World Title match against Adriano Moraes at ONE Fight Night 10 in May, so a showdown with Musumeci doesn't look to be on the cards any time soon.

But he has delivered some highlight-reel submission wins over his storied career, and it would be intriguing to see him test his skills against the best ONE's submission grappling roster has to offer.

#3 Tye Ruotolo Vs. Reinier De Ridder

Tye Ruotolo - the twin brother of the aforementioned Kade - is also undefeated in the Circle, having reeled off a pair of submission finishes against world-class opposition in 2022.

The 19-year-old superstar is another submission grappler angling for a roll with an MMA World Champion. But his target is none other than ONE Middleweight World Champion Reinier de Ridder.

De Ridder is widely considered one of the best grapplers in MMA today. He has an incredible 11 submissions across his 16 professional wins, and he pushed fourth-degree black belt and seven-time BJJ World Champion Andre Galvao to a draw under submission grappling rules at ONE X in March 2022.

"The Dutch Knight" holds black belts in judo and BJJ, and he would be an interesting test for a top grappler like Ruotolo.

Source: Media Release

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Story first published: Monday, January 23, 2023, 19:36 [IST]
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