ONE Championship’s heavyweight division just got itself a new contender.

This past Saturday, August 5, “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane stunned the crowd inside Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium by earning a unanimous decision win against previously undefeated contender Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida at ONE Fight Night 13.

Many anticipated that Almeida would overcome Kane, given his dominant slate and world-class grappling pedigree. But the Senegalese sensation handled his foe’s submission attempts expertly, and his aggressive game plan earned him the victory after three hard-fought rounds.

In thwarting the 17-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, Kane announced himself as a genuine threat to the ONE heavyweight world title, which was recently unified by two-division king Anatoly Malykhin.

Reflecting on the fight, Kane said, “It was a very hard fight. The thing is that everyone was saying ‘Buchecha’ was going to win the fight, but I believed in my training.

“Me and my trainers trained really hard, and we were confident that we would beat him. At the end of the day, what you have to understand is that MMA is not jiu-jitsu.”

With his name firmly cemented in the world title picture, “Reug Reug” doesn’t want to waste time with fellow contenders. Instead, he plans to strike while the iron is hot and shoot his shot at Malykhin. But that may be easier said than done.

Kane’s claim at gold may be challenged by divisional giant Amir Aliakbari, who, like Kane, is also riding a three-fight winning streak.

The Iranian star won’t give up an opportunity to meet “Sladkiy” without a fight, as he has made clear that he wants to redeem himself for a loss he suffered at the hands of the divisional king in 2021.

To Kane, that history is irrelevant, though. He believes the magnitude of his win over Almeida trumps anything Aliakbari has done, and claims that he is in pole position to challenge Malykhin’s reign first.

“Yes, of course. I’m ready,” he said.

“He’s known to be a boxer, so what I’m going to do is switch things up and bring in my wrestling. And all he’s going to do is throw punches.

“I’m not really interested in that fight (with Aliakbari). I want the belt. We were supposed to fight, but the fight fell through because someone in his camp supposedly had COVID. But we met at the airport, we looked at each other, and I told him, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ So maybe that’s what changed his mind.”