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3 Possible Opponents For The Return Of Reug Reug

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“Reug Reug” Oumar Kane picked up a unanimous decision win over Jasur Mirzamukhamedov at ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin. It was the first time the Senegalese wrestling star went to the scorecards, but he was able to show his cardio in the victory. But what comes next?

Kane is an interesting case because ONE Championship can go any number of ways with his next bout. He could be thrust into a matchup of top contenders, or he can be more slowly brought along with stylistic matchups that test his development as an overall athlete. So, what should ONE do? Here are three options they could entertain for Reug Reug’s first bout of 2023.

Mauro Cerilli

Mauro Cerilli has competed in ONE’s heavyweight division since 2018. In that span, he has exchanged wins and losses against the top of the division. Most recently, he was stopped by Amir Aliakbari at ONE on Prime Video 1.

Given his tenure in ONE, Cerilli is a great option to test Reug Reug. He has powerful striking and decent takedown defense, which would be a way to continually push Kane to develop his overall skill set. Although Kane is coming off back-to-back wins and Cerilli is attempting to rebound off of a win, the matchup still makes sense for testing Reug Reug and allowing Cerilli to have a chance to get back into the heavyweight hunt.

The Italian has a 71% finishing rate with nine career knockouts. Additionally, he has only ever been submitted one time in his career. With the heavyweight division growing, this may be the best option to slowly build Reug Reug while giving Cerilli a marquee name to go against.

Mehdi Barghi

Iranian wrestler Mehdi Barghi may be on a bit of a losing skid in ONE, but a matchup against Kane may be a logical next step for both parties. For Barghi, it would be a third consecutive bout against a top name in the division and give him a chance for an excellent win to hang his hat on. As for Kane, the wrestler vs. wrestler matchup would be a prime opportunity to show off his striking.

Reug Reug does not need to reinvent the wheel and become a striker. However, to compete against the elite in the division, he will need to steadily improve his standup. If Barghi can cancel out his wrestling, he will be forced into standup exchanges. That means this particular matchup would be a fantastic time to flash how far along his striking has come since joining ONE.

With Anatoly Malykhin at the top of the mountain and some other names in front of Kane in the pecking order, this is the kind of matchup that will help slowly build him into a better athlete and top contender later in the year. There is no rush for Reug Reug to go for the gold. Barghi is a good stylistic matchup for a slow build to a massive contender’s bout for the Senegalese star.

Kang Ji Won

Should Kane be given a chance against a contender in the heavyweight division, South Korea’s Kang Ji Won would be the ideal name. The winner of the prospective matchup could be in-line for a shot at the gold, or at the very least, show themselves to be one of the top contenders for later in 2023. It would be a high-stakes meeting inside the Circle.

Kang exploded onto the ONE scene with a first-round knockout over Barghi in 2021. His next match was against Barghi’s teammate, Aliakbari. The same result was in order with another blistering first-round KO. Although he had a setback against Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, the South Korean returned to his knockout ways against Paul Elliott at ONE X this past March.

Kane would have to avoid the explosive power from Kang. “The Mighty Warrior” has fast hands and quick movement for a man of his size. Reug Reug would not be able to be plodding in his takedowns and would need to show off more of his athleticism. With potential contendership on the line, it would be a big spot for both men to show they can handle the pressure of the moment.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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