Kade Ruotolo versus Tommy Langaker at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov on Prime Video is guaranteed to be a showcase of all that’s great about the sport of submission grappling.
Both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu superstars are renowned for their intense, all-action styles, and with Ruotolo’s ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title on the line, the stakes will be enormous this Friday, June 9.
With that in mind, both men have promised to deliver an epic showcase in their battle for gold at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Ahead of this epic encounter between heated rivals, we look at the biggest keys to victory for both Ruotolo and Langaker.
#1 Langaker’s Guard
Although he’s well-versed in every area, Langaker is best known for his almost impassable guard.
Combining a diverse array of techniques with flexibility and a high grappling IQ, the Norwegian has the ideal tools for extremely effective offense and defense on his back.
He’s happy to be proactive looking for sweeps and chances to wrestle up to a top position, as well as aiming for upper- and lower-body attacks – with triangles, armbars, and recently leg locks a big part of his game.
Plus, Langaker can shut down pressure from the top if needed. He’s effective at fending off passes facing his opponent, and he can invert seamlessly to stop quick bursts and retain his guard.
With plenty of ways to trap Ruotolo, the Wulfling Academy representative will surely look to exploit any opportunity he sees.
#2 Ruotolo’s Top Game
Ruotolo is also a well-rounded competitor, but his go-to is taking the top position and trying to outhustle his opponent from there, never standing still as he attempts to deconstruct or bypass their guard.
Along with his twin brother, Tye, he has formulated a unique way to pin the legs to control the man underneath, and he’ll blend this with explosive movements to change the tempo.
Kade believes Langaker will be hunting for leg attacks, but he’s not afraid to engage with a guard player who looks for heel hooks, as he showed en route to his 2022 ADCC World Title.
Instead, he’ll play the game and search for his own submissions if they get into lower-body entanglements.
If all else fails, you can always expect the unexpected – including Ruotolo’s flying D’Arce choke attacks that he can use to pass and submit at the same time.
#3 Langaker’s Back Attacks
Langaker’s ultimate goal is usually to get to his opponent’s back, and he’s extremely potent from there. He has back takes from the guard, the top position, and wrestling exchanges.
Renato Canuto found this out when he faced the Norwegian back in August 2022, as Langaker quickly hit a back take from K Guard – something ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey Musumeci believes will feature in this matchup.
From there, Canuto was unable to escape from his foe’s clutches for the rest of the match. And yet, he lasted longer than most, as Langaker has 31 finishes from the back in his elite competitive career.
Notably, Ruotolo has only been finished twice at the top level – both from that position.
#4 Ruotolo’s Scrambles And Creativity
If there’s one thing the Ruotolo brothers have become known for, it’s their fast-paced scrambling abilities.
And while Langaker says he views that area as an advantage for him in this contest, it’s hard to see how anyone can match Ruotolo when it comes to the transitions between positions.
The 20-year-old is lightning-fast, and after training since the age of 3, he sees gaps and opportunities that many wouldn’t. He’s showcased this unique talent since joining ONE, diving off the Circle Wall to attack and constantly being a step ahead of his rivals.
Even though this battle will come in a ring, Ruotolo will surely produce something spectacular that Langaker has not seen in his preparation.