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Tye Ruotolo Content with Grappling Decision Win Over Jozef Chen on 'Worst Day'



Tye Ruotolo claims to have faced health issues going into his bout against Jozef Chen at ONE on Prime Video 23.

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Ruotolo took on the 19-year-old prodigy in a submission grappling bout at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on Firday. While Ruotolo managed to maintain his undefeated record with a unanimous decision win, the South African gave him a run for his money.

Although Ruotolo isn’t proud of his performance, he claims to have had a bad camp to blame for it. However, the 21-year-old is happy to have roped in the decision victory even on his “worst day.”

“For sure, I could have performed a lot better,” Ruotolo said at the post-fight press conference. “It’s not a performance that I'm very proud of. I didn't have the best camp, and I didn't feel the best way going through the fight — unless it's the fact that I won even on my worst day. It makes me happy. But that's not a performance that I like to have, especially in a place like Lumpinee. I have so much respect for the people in the audience and the stadium, so I always do my best to give a good show.”

Ruotolo claims to have battled sickness and issues with his neck all throughout camp. While a submission win evaded him this time, Ruotolo vowed to work on all his shortcomings and return stronger.

“I really can just sit here and make a bunch of excuses,” he said. “But just within my camp, I was sick for most of it. And even before the fight, I really was feeling a bit off. I've been going through a couple little neck things. It has kind of been affecting a little bit of my nerve, the vagus nerve. I really wasn't feeling great going into the match, but even on all my worst days, I just gotta man up and get it done, and that's what I did. I'm stoked to get it done, and in my next performance, I will be better. I'm going to go home, and get in front of everything that would prevent me from having a great performance in my next one. I'll perform how I'm supposed to.”

Ruotolo doubled down on his callout of former opponent Nicholas Meregali, who he believes is avoiding a potential matchup. Ruotolo lost to Meregali in the semifinals of the Absolute Division at the ADCC 2022 world championships and has since been rallying for a rematch.

“We've been trying to get Meregali for a long time,” Ruotolo said. “I guess he's very difficult to work with. I don't know, but I just think he doesn't really want to fight, to be honest with you. The last time we fought, I had multiple torn ligaments in my knee. He used to be 50 pounds heavier and I still alpha-checked him. To be honest, he was still backing up at the end of the fight, you know. So that's one that I really want to get back. If not Meregali, it doesn't really matter, whoever ONE feels like they want to put in front of me next. I'm ready for anything.”
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