From going to prison for street fighting to becoming an Oktagon MMA legend — The true story of Losene Keita

With palpable charisma and astonishing talent, you could be forgiven for thinking Losene Keita was always destined for Oktagon MMA greatness, but in reality, his road to the top was anything but easy.

From streetfighting in Belgium to spending time in prison, the warrior has experienced it all. But while most of the drama in his life unfolded in Europe, his story began in the African nation of Guinea.

Growing up, the born-fighter didn’t know his mother; instead, he was raised under the watchful eye of his grandma.

The energy he exudes today, has been with him since he was a child gravitating towards the world of rap, with his friends referring to him as ‘Sisqo’.

Speaking exclusively to Sporf, Keita explained: “They didn’t call me that because I was a good rapper. It was because, at that time, Sisqo was dying his hair blonde.

“My brother was the one who called me Sisqo. I liked that name, so I told everybody to call me Sisqo. My grandmother didn’t like it. She would tell people not to call me that.”

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At the age of 12, the young athlete moved across the globe, settling down in Belgium, and quickly discovered a sport that would change his life forever.

To put it bluntly, Keita could fight. Really fight. He began brawling on the streets, rendering his opponents unconscious with the ease of a bear mauling a kitten.

He said: “I met some troublemakers, and in the city, there are a lot of stupid things happening. So I started fighting.

“There was a neighbourhood house where you could play PlayStation and ping pong. They also had a gym. When I started sparring, I was told I was very talented. and that I should go to the gym. I said ‘No’. I didn’t know anything about fighting.

“One day, I was fighting on the street, and a friend said, ‘Come to my gym’. I said, ‘Why not’? I was sparring, and I threw crazy kicks, and I hit the trainer and made his nose bleed. From that day, I didn’t quit.”

But while Keita showed promise, his world quickly came crashing down around him.

Losene Keita went to prison

With the police reports racking up, the scrapper was sent to jail, which devastated his family. And if he didn’t have fighting, his life could have taken a very different trajectory.

Speaking candidly, he admitted: “Prison, for me, was not bad. It’s just lonely. You are between four walls for 24 hours a day. Family is very important to me. When my sister came, she was crying, and that hurt a lot.

“I didn’t see anybody there who I wanted to be like. I thought, ‘I don’t belong here’. These guys don’t have anything to do on the outside. I knew I must try something new.”

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He continued: “I was training hard as an amateur, but I didn’t know anything about a professional career. To tell the truth, I only started taking my pro career seriously in the last two years.

“I remember when I was 18, after school, I was doing the dishes with my sister in the kitchen. She asked me what I wanted to be. I really didn’t know. We were joking about it, but I didn’t know because school was not my best thing. So fighting saved my life.”


Losene Keita’s journey to Oktagon MMA 45

Training under his mentor Steven Wauters, Keita showed remarkable ability, quickly excelling past his gym mates. And it wasn’t long until he was testing himself in Oktagon.

In just his eighth fight, he beat Ronald Paradesier and delivered the iconic line: “I came from prison, and now I’m fighting in front of 20,00 people. This thing saved my life. I love everybody.”

He reminisced: “I get emotional, but I never watch that bit back when I’m crying. I never watch it because I don’t want to see myself crying. Every time I watch the fight, I always skip that.”

In his next outing, he utilised his mesmerising shot selection to dismantle Ivan Buchinger and win the lightweight title. And now he has his opportunity to make history.

Losene Keita vs Mate Sanikidze headlines Oktagon MMA 45

With his eyes on the featherweight strap, Keita is determined to finish Mate Sanikidze and become a double champion.

The 155-pound King raged: “He has a big mouth. He was making photos of me. I said, ‘Let’s go Sanikidze’. Oktagon said I could fight the winner of him and Jakub Tichota. But after the fight, he ran away. So they gave me Samuel Bark.

“After that, they gave us a date. But I saw his energy change. He always has a big mouth, he was calling me an easy fight, but then, he didn’t post anything. I saw him drinking beer one month before the fight. I knew this guy wasn’t going to fight me. Two weeks before, he said he had an injured shoulder.”

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Luckily for Keita, he’s finally got his nemesis past the point of return. They will go to war tomorrow night at ‘The Most Beautiful Event of the Year’ live on DAZN. And if Keita wins, a super-fight with Liverpool’s Shem Rock could be on the horizon.

Evaluating the Brit’s Oktagon debut, he said: “When I came to the promotion, I beat a top three guy and made it look easy, but Shem Rock had a very big mouth, and with that kind of performance, I was like ‘Bro’. I was disappointed.

“Keep winning. I’ll do everything in my power to win and beat your a**. His first fight was against a no-name. You have to show me something. I like trash-talking; it’s funny, that’s why I kicked his a** in trash-talking. But you need to be able to back it up.”

While Rock didn’t capture Keita’s attention in his first fight, after producing a stunning submission performance at Oktagon MMA 45, he might have ignited a fire in his rival. But first, Keita will have to get past Sankidsze in one of the biggest match-ups in Oktagon history.

Featured Image Credit: Oktagon MMA