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“It’s been a long time coming” – Kade Ruotolo was eager to make his MMA debut against Blake Cooper at ONE 167

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ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo is finally making his highly anticipated transition to mixed martial arts and he is just as excited as the fans for his upcoming match.

The American grappling prodigy will take on fellow countryman Blake Cooper in a lightweight MMA bout at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on Prime Video on Friday, June 7 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

Kade Ruotolo prepares for his MMA debut after an innovative submission win

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Last Friday, April 5, the 21-year-old once again proved why he is one of the best grapplers in the world when he took on BJJ black belt Francisco Lo with an innovative submission that he and his twin brother Tye call “Ruotolotine.”

With three successful defenses of his world title and a perfect 6-0 record in the world's largest combat sports organization, the Atos representative was looking for a new challenge and discussed his upcoming MMA debut in his post-fight interview last week.

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“The first week of June is here. I'm super excited. It took a long time. I have a strong opponent in front of me in Blake Cooper. The entire Cooper family is a legend. Heavy hands and good wrestling. It's going to be a fantastic match. I will be back here in Thailand in about a month.” Ruotolo said.

Ruotolo is in no mood to underestimate his opponent

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Cooper is a second-generation fighter and carries the legacy of his father, Ray Cooper Jr., and his uncle, Ronald Jhun. The Hawaii native made his professional debut at ONE Fight Night 14 in September last year, but suffered his first professional loss when Swiss fighter Maurice Abevi stopped him in the first round.

Despite the loss, Cooper was able to give fans – and Ruotolo – a glimpse of the skills that make him a formidable opponent for anyone, and the lightweight submission grappling king was watching closely.

“I already watched his last appearance at ONE Championship. I don't take anyone lightly. He has some heavy hands and can wrestle well. He's a scrapper. Everyone from Hawaii is a scrapper. I know that for sure, so I'm excited. I just want to stay as active as possible and check all the boxes. MMA, jiu-jitsu and anything else that comes after can come with it.” he said.

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Although Ruotolo will be competing in a new sport in his next ONE Championship outing, he assured fans that he will not be giving up on his first love, jiu-jitsu.