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Teen Sensation Jozef Chen Happy To Showcase Jiu-Jitsu At ONE Fight Night 23

Jozef Chen
Black Belt Plus

Jozef Chen from ONE Championship has been taking the grappling world by storm. The 19-year-old will get the biggest challenge of his young career on Friday, July 5, when he meets Tye Ruotolo in a 186-pound catchweight submission grappling matchup at ONE Fight Night 23 on Prime Video.

For Chen, this is just the first of many meetings against Ruotolo, as he expects the two to tangle more times as their careers are just starting.

“I have a good idea of what he’s going to do. But, I mean, the best way to test out a lot of these ideas on what may work or may not work is actually having the match,” Chen told ONE.

“I mean, he’s very young. I think he’s a bit older than me, but I assume in our careers, it won’t be the only time we cross paths. So I think it’s a great opportunity for me to test a lot of the stuff I’ve been working on.”

While Chen may be a teen, he already shows he is wiser than his years indicate. The South African articulated that experience is the biggest difference between the two grapplers.

“I think his style comes as a result of how long he’s trained and kind of the upbringing in jiu-jitsu he’s had. I’m coming up on six years in jiu-jitsu, so I wouldn’t say I have as much intuition with what I necessarily need to do, and so that kind of manifests itself into what could be perceived as a methodical, slower approach,” Chen explained.

“Whereas I feel like, since he’s been training for so long, he has a very good idea of what he wants to do in certain positions. So that’s where a lot of this more intuition and dynamic movement really comes into play.”

ONE Fight Night 23 will be a tremendous debut for Chen, no matter what. Competing against Ruotolo will give him a benchmark for the future.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t gunning for the win—the 19-year-old plans to push the American throughout and put him in unfamiliar territory.

“My idea is definitely to try and test a lot of the skills that I’m trying to work on. So standing position is definitely one that I’m going to try to see what works, see what doesn’t, and try to play from that,” the talented grappler remarked.

“Because if I can get to top position on top of Tye, it’ll be very winning from there. Just generally, you see him want to do his best work from top. So being able to put him in bottom, I think this will be a good strategy for me if I’m able to do that.”

Since coming into the sport, the South African has looked up to the Atos BJJ star. Competing against Ruotolo is a treat in and of itself for Chen.

“Tye is definitely one of the more exciting and one of the more well-accomplished grapplers in the sport,” Chen said.

“So, especially for me, outside of how good he is and the level that he’s on, I think one of the things that makes it exciting for me is that I’ve been watching him for, man, since I was a yellow, orange belt. So being able to compete against him, it’s a very cool experience.”

The allure of gold drives many competitors, but that is not the case for Chen.

The South African loves achieving the greatest heights of the sport. Still, his ultimate goal is simply to showcase the beauty and skill of jiu-jitsu each time he steps onto the mats.

“I’m very proud to be able to compete at this level at this point. I think it’s very cool, because, generally, for me, jiu-jitsu, I wanna have very good jiu-jitsu. The competition is more secondary to my jiu-jitsu. Being able to compete and display my jiu-jitsu, that’s what really makes me happy,” Chen stated.

“It’s very awesome to be able to compete against someone that you looked up to for so long.”

Chen doesn’t think the first trip to the global stage will make him nervous. Although just 19, he has already competed against some of the sport’s top stars.

The South African expects he will be able to put the bright lights aside and focus on the task at hand.

“It’s not the first time. You know, when I first came to the U.S., like two years ago, and then just having trained with and competed with so many people that I’ve studied a lot … you know, it’s not a new experience to me,” the teen said.

ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov airs live and free on Prime Video to all Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, July 5, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

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