Marcus Buchecha hopes he and “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane finally collide at Friday’s ONE Fight Night 13.
ONE Championship has attempted to pair up the heavyweights multiple times in the past, but the matchup fell apart due to various reasons in 2021 and 2022. It’s once again booked for Aug. 4, this time for Bangkok, Thailand, but the jiu-jitsu ace won’t get his hopes high just yet.
“I’ll only believe it when he’s in front of me, because anything can happen. But finally, right?” Buchecha said with a smile on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “Let’s see if it happens, but after so many cancellations and frustrations early on in my career, I’ve learned that this can happen. If this fight falls [apart] a day before, I won’t get frustrated or pissed or anything like that because I know it can happen. It has happened twice, but it definitely isn’t something I want. [Laughs.]”
Buchecha was first booked to meet “Reug Reug” for his MMA debut in 2021 after a brilliant career in jiu-jitsu, and now enters the ring riding a perfect four-fight winning streak in MMA with four first-round finishes.
“I’m way more comfortable fighting, and it has given me time to watch the positives and negatives about him, so that’s also good,” Buchecha said of fighting Kane now. The Senegalese heavyweight is 5-1 in MMA, having won his past two under the ONE banner.
“We’re pretty similar in terms of career so it won’t be an advantage or disadvantage for any of us. It will be cool that this fight is finally happening — if it happens.”
“I’m always prepared for the worst,” he continued, explaining the “if it happens” remark. “I’ve learned that in my MMA career, understanding that this can happen a lot. It didn’t happen that often in grappling tournaments. I was always prepared to fight a lot of opponents and now I’m preparing for just one, so it’s definitely better. At the end of the day it’s a 15-minute fight, worst-case scenario. Best case scenario, it’s shorter.”
Buchecha will fight in a ring for the first time in MMA, and called a Brazilian legend for advice.
“When they told me it was going to be in a ring, I spoke a lot [with other fighters], especially ‘Minotauro,’” he said, referring to former PRIDE and UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. “‘Minotauro’ said he preferred fighting on a ring compared a cage because of the ropes. I trained that a lot in the gym. It’s a different strategy, the way you walk is different in the ring.”
Buchecha also thanks head coach Katel Kubis, a Muay Thai specialist, for helping him adapt to the squared circle. Despite his evolution on the feet, though, Buchecha makes no secret about his strategy.
“It would be hypocrite to say I don’t [want to submit him], right?” Buchecha said. “I always want to end the fight with a submission, but I’m ready to fight 15 minutes on the feet if I have to. The goal is to always submit in the first round. I’m sure he’s coming with the same intent, to land a punch and soon as he can. No one wants to drag this fight to later rounds, especially at heavyweight.”