Wow.

Oumar “Reug Reug” Kane had a lot to prove coming into his fight tonight on April 7th, 2021. Opening ONE Championship on TNT 1, Few Fighters would have been in such a spotlight at just 2-0. Therefore, the Heavyweight sensation entered the ring ready to prove the hype is justified. 

Just barely over a day out from Kane’s scheduled bout, COVID-19 reared its ugly head, causing Kane’s original opponent to be pulled from the card. Having prepared for Medhi Barghi, the Iranian wrestler, it was quite a shock when kickboxer Patrick Schmid came in as the late replacement. Although inexperienced in MMA, Schmid a K1 Veteran holds an impressive striking record of 41-15. 

On Paper, the fight provided an opportunity for Reug Reug to prove he was ready to take on elite strikers in the circular cage, but in the mind of the average fan, his route to victory resided in the takedown and the immense pressure of Kane’s Senegalese wrestling style.

However, Kane would go on to shock fans by starting the bout off with a flurry of wild over hands and uppercuts just a minute into the bout. After dazing Schmid on the feet, the Senegalese wrestler secured the body lock and took his opponent to the mat. From there a series of hammer fists and punches forced Schmid to expose his back where Reug Reug put a stop to the match just a minute and forty eight seconds from the opening bell.

Having now brought his record to 3-0, the man called Reug Reug is even closer to being catapulted into the mainstream of MMA. However at the moment, few really know who he is, and exactly what makes him stand out so much from the other heavyweights in the major promotions.

Kane is one of the few names in MMA today who comes from a background of traditional Senegalese wrestling, a style rarely utilized in mixed martial arts. While Laamb (sometimes referred to as Njom) is the original form of wrestling practiced in Seereer, it is now divided into Lutte avec frappe (wrestling with blows) and Lutte sans frappe (wrestling without blows). The sport is practiced inside a ring of sand, in traditional African wrestling garb including a sort of loin cloth and belt used for leveraging throws and takedowns.

Having come from an already established family of wrestlers, in a small fishing village in Africa, Reug Reug began training at a young age. After practicing a traditional group of wrestling techniques known as Mbapatte, Reug Reug made the move to Seereer to further his training and competition. He would compete and hone his skills in the sand until 2019 when he finally transitioned to MMA.

Having now finished his third MMA fight and bringing his ONE Championship record to a solid 2-0, it would seem that the ceiling is extremely high for this up and coming heavyweight. Having regularly competed against much larger opponents in Seereer, physicality seems to be no problem for the up and comer. With his extensive wrestling history, and now proven power striking, Reug Reug looks to be rounding out his game and becoming an ever looming threat in ONE’s heavyweight division.

Just a couple weeks out from Francis Ngannou securing a UFC belt, now the 3rd African fighter to do so, Kane now situates himself in a generation of surging African-born MMA stars. However as the sole fighter so far, to come from the African martial arts, he may very well hold a special spot even among these great athletes.

Sources Consulted: BJPENN.COM

By Braeden Arbour

I am a Media Studies and Literature graduate from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, a black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate, and a blue belt in Judo. I hope to persue a career in sports journalism and writing about various elements around the world of martial arts.

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