What Can We Expect From The Teenage Phenom vs Battle-Scarred Pro at F2W131?

null

In possibly the most anticipated Fight 2 Win match of the year, 37-year-old Vagner Rocha of Fight Sports takes on 16-year-old Tye Ruotolo of Atos this Saturday, November 9, in Richmond, California.

Watch Fight 2 Win 131 LIVE  On FloCombat

There’s so much to talk about with this match: Rocha is Masters eligible, while Tye is still limited to the juvenile division in most federations. Rocha is well-versed in many rule sets, and this is Tye’s F2W debut. And, of course, Rocha is an accomplished black belt while Tye is “just” a blue belt (albeit with over a decade of training to get there). Let’s break it down.


Nearly everybody turned down the idea of a superfight with Ruotolo. He made such an impression at ADCC that nobody wanted to face him. Only 37-year-old Vagner Rocha said “yes.” One of the most distinguished grapplers in the game, Rocha has appeared in everything from KASAI, Fight 2 Win, EBI, Polaris and, of course, ADCC. That’s not even counting his MMA career or Combat Jiu-Jitsu matches. 

These accomplishments have allowed him to retain a top-three position in the rankings (currently ranked No. 2 for the -77kg division) for two consecutive years. So why would someone with nothing left to prove take on a match with someone 21 years his junior, a match many saw as a “lose-lose”? The veteran explains: 

“I believe as a professional the mindset should be different. The sport placed this young man in a position that makes him an unappealing match to many because of his age. I’m 37 years old, and I know a lot of competitors who think 37 is too old, or that 16 is too young. But, age is nothing but a number,” he says.

All Rocha sees is time on the mat and skill, not age or rank. 

“I expect to face a high-level, motivated professional athlete come November 9,” he said. 

And Tye Ruotolo agrees. Age is the only thing holding him and his twin brother Kade back from progressing their careers in many federations, due to strict rules regulating age and belt rank. He and his brother have been training for 12 years, longer than some black belts. 


Tye admits that when he entered his first ADCC trials at 15 years of age he still felt like a kid. Making -66kg was easier, and he hadn’t fully developed yet – either physically or technically. But he’s changed in the two years from his first trials to his standout ADCC performance in September. 

He’s not going to be that guy who brags about being a blue belt taking on high profile matches. For his F2W debut he says, “I don’t see belt color in this match as a thing. I just see a veteran of the sport and a young veteran of the sport agreeing to the match.” 

Promotions like Fight 2 Win allow athletes like Tye to advance their careers at an earlier age and take on more robust challenges.

In addition to the age factor, there’s the weight discrepancy. After getting invited to ADCC as an unranked and bottom-seeded alternate, Tye worked his way up to the No. 5-ranked position for -66kg grapplers in the world, but it took a brutal weight cut to get there. Now, he gets the opportunity to compete against one of the most established no-gi grapplers, and at a heavier weight than he’s ever competed before. So many notable factors about this matchup, but the only thing that matters is that two of the very best are motivated to give their best Saturday night.

In addition to an outstanding main event, the F2W 131 card has been dubbed “the most stacked.” So, just to name a few more keep your eye out for:

  • Three-time no-gi world champion and ADCC bronze medalist Josh Hinger (Atos) and the legend Murilo Santana (Unity) will light up the stage in a 185 lbs no-gi match. 
  • Edwin Najmi (Gracie Barra) and Jaime Canuto (GF Team) are set for a 180 lbs gi match.
  • No. 8-ranked medium heavyweight, Nisar Loynab (Atos) returns to the stage for a match against Gustavo Andrade (Serao Academy).
  • The Masters Lightweight title in on the line between reigning champ, Marcos Torregrosa (Yemaso BJJ) and Sean Nkmorad (Gracie Fighter). Torregrosa is the hometown favorite with a dominant campaign in the F2W lightweight division.

Cody Stamann: No Respect For Champ Cejudo

Since capturing his fight title, and even more so after winning his second, Henry Cejudo has turned up the theatrics. From calling for a fight with Valentina Shevchenko to cringe-worthy videos promoting himself as “Triple C”, his push to get more attention for himself has certainly been successful. 

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Featuring Yana Kunitskaya + Cody Stamann

 Finally, the UFC has come back to us and the boys from Top Turtle have the content you’re looking for. 

Dominick Reyes Is Ready For Jon Jones

After 27 fights by which he is functionally still undefeated (yes, I realize he has a loss on his record), we’ve heard pretty much everything when it comes to why this challenger will be the one. Especially since he’s become champ, it seems like every challenger that pops up has something that fans who want to see Jones go down latch on to and others write off. 

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Featuring Dominick Reyes

This week was a big one for fight announcements, and Top Turtle might have one of the biggest guests when it comes to those announcements. 

High-Level MMA Card Set For XFN 26

XFN 26 is bringing an assorted card of mixed martial arts action this weekend live on FloCombat. 

3 Title Bouts Headline V3 Fights 77

V3 Fights is back with another installment of action this weekend on FloCombat.

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Featuring Paddy Pimblett + Christian Edwards

There may be no UFC card this weekend, but the boys from Top Turtle MMA never sleep.

Bellator's Christian Edwards Is Ready For Top 15 Guy

It may have been his second bout in the promotion, but the head kick KO finish by Christian Edwards at Bellator 223 was his introduction to a lot of fans. The kick went viral through the various chains of social media, appeared on ESPN and had every MMA pundit talking. 

Hand Injury Spells Long Suspension For Greg Hardy

When the UFC is out of the country, sometimes the governing bodies take a while to come out with their list of medical suspensions. In the case of October’s UFC Moscow event there was no governing body. So it's up to the UFC to hand down their suspensions internally with assistance from their medical team. 

James Krause: Never Felt LIke I Made It

James Krause enters UFC Sao Paulo on one of the most underrated win streaks in recent memory. In a streak that contains wins in arguably the two toughest divisions in MMA (lightweight and welterweight), Krause has pieced together 5-straight over a 4 year span.