Tommy Langaker will be gunning for the biggest win in his already illustrious submission grappling when he takes on Kade Ruotolo for the ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov set this Saturday from inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
But just before Langaker takes centerstage for the biggest match of his career, the Norwegian gave major props to ONE Championship for putting the spotlight on submission grappling in such a big platform.
“ONE is changing it by putting us on a very professional platform with other various martial arts. They’re showing that they trust us and put trust in their athletes,” he said.
“They’re paying us well and giving us bonuses if we’re doing entertaining fights. Giving us good exposure. It’s changing the scene of what a professional jiu-jitsu athlete is.”
With that in mind, Langaker vows to not put all the effort in promoting their sport to waste by putting on entertaining shows like he did when he submitted Uali Kurzhev in less than three minutes to get this shot.
The 29-year-old vows to bring the same intensity heading into this contest against Ruotolo.
“I think it’s going to be tense in the beginning. I think it’s going to be a little bit of feeling out, but immediately as somebody reacts, it’s going to be a very high pace. And I think it’s going to be a very beautiful jiu-jitsu match,” he said.
Langaker knows that Ruotolo has been on a roll – as aside from being a ONE World Champion, he also won the ADCC tournament last year.
While he respects the American’s grappling game, he’s confident that he can beat him especially during scrambles.
“I think my advantages are that I thrive in those scrambles. I love when the scramble comes, and I think I have a different understanding of how the scramble and the leg pummel work, as I’ve been doing crab rides for so long. I enjoy working hooks and utilizing these different positions, and I feel that’s going to be my biggest strength,” he said.
“I’ll fight in any position. I’ll take what I have. I’ll see how he reacts, and then I go from there. If he gives me his leg, I’ll take his leg. If he gives me his back, I’ll take the back.”