Luis “Soot Raaeng Geert” Regis will join the ONE Super Series ranks right at the very top. His debut in the world’s largest martial arts organization is a main event tilt against the famed Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in Malaysia on 7 December.
The 33-year-old has had an amazing journey to get to this point. Representing his very own gym, SRG Thai Boxing in Sydney, Australia, Regis wants nothing more than to show his skills are up there with the very best in Muay Thai.
He will headline the blockbuster event in Kuala Lumpur in a featherweight Muay Thai bout against a living legend, but his plan is to leave the Axiata Arena with the respect of his opponent, and acknowledgment from fans around the world.
Here’s everything you need to need to know about Regis ahead of his epic battle against Yodsanklai.
The Wild Child
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Regis grew up in the South of Brazil, where his hardworking parents did their best to provide a stable environment for him. His father was an electrician, while his mother worked in a factory.
Young Regis didn’t have it easy, but he was able to put things into perspective, and be thankful for what he had when he saw friends and neighbors having a much more difficult time.
“It was not the richest area, not the poorest area,” he reveals. “There were tough times, but my parents always worked hard to make sure we had an okay lifestyle.
“Out of all my friends, I was definitely in the better situation. We had enough to be happy. Even when it was hard, I don’t regret anything, because it made me who I am.”
Regis spent much of his time in the great outdoors — partly because his houseproud mother preferred it that way — and his fondest childhood memories are of hunting in the bush, swimming in the local river, and playing soccer in the streets.
He could also be found touring local drinking establishments at his father’s side. His dad would have him play Brazilian country music to people, and this kickstarted a love for music that eventually saw him travel around the region as a teenager, playing in bands and reveling in surf culture.
“From the age of around 13 or 14, I would leave on a Thursday and not return until Sunday,” Regis explains. “We’d be partying and playing. I thought I was a man then.
“My dad didn’t know too much, but he didn’t care as long as I was doing my work and helping him while I was there.”
However, his wild side was just one half of his persona alongside a hardworking young man, and he eventually found a way to channel the two together.
Where Sport Meets Art
At 10 years old, Regis first experienced martial arts at his local community club. A family of judoka regularly trained there, and one day, they invited him to join in. Interested, he pursued it for a year, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression.
A short while later, he found capoeira, the first martial art which really struck a chord within the young Regis.
“Judo really was too disciplined for me. My friends in bands were doing capoeira, and that looked like more fun to me. And it was real too, teaching you situations like on the street or in a bar.”
Unlike the exported version of the martial art which some see as more dance than combat, “Soot Raaeng Geert” was taught a style of capoeira closer to the original.
“It was totally self defense,” he continues. “The jumping and dancing came into it because of how capoeira was formed by slaves in prisons. They had to disguise what they were doing, but really, it looks like Muay Boran. It was for real.”
His capoeira teacher continually sought out different avenues to learn effective martial arts, and travelled to Chute Boxe Academy where he started picking up Dutch-style kickboxing and mixed martial arts, and brought them back home.
This was where Regis really began to find his passion. It was still wild and exciting, but his work ethic helped him get through the tough sessions.
“I liked it. It was fighting. It was very rough. We sparred with no protection every week. It could have been done better, but I enjoyed it. It gave you heart.”
The world champion striker’s love for combat was now firmly established. So, when he moved to Australia with some friends at the age of 19, he quickly sought out the best training he could find.
He stumbled across a traditional Muay Thai gym, and fell in love with ‘the art of eight limbs.’ He’s never looked back.
A Father’s Pride
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Regis is thankful for his upbringing – the firm approach of his parents that taught him many lessons, the time he got to spend surfing and playing music, and of course, how he found martial arts.
His father was a crucial part of his success, even if he didn’t know it at the time. The lessons weren’t always easy, but they were valuable.
When Regis’ father sought to better his family’s situation by becoming an electrician and opening up his own business, it didn’t go as planned. He borrowed money and times were lean, which meant debtors were always at the door.
“My dad went through some bad times when he started his own business, where we hardly had any food to eat. At times, he owed a lot of people a lot of money,” says Regis.
Just a child at the time, he saw his father threatened with knives for the money he owed. But most importantly, he saw him work hard to repay those debts, doing whatever it took.
“Things went bad for a lot of people in Brazil back then, but my dad sold his car, his shop, whatever he had to make sure he paid everybody back.
“I had uncles in similar situations, and they ran away. My father wouldn’t do that. He always said he’d rather not have anything, but have a clean name.”
Regis worked alongside his dad to help him rebuild the business. He graduated from his studies in technology and electronics to stay in the family trade, and he even managed to open up his own shop before moving to Sydney.
It was the work ethic he saw in his father that paved the way for that, and then for his future success in Muay Thai.
“He died a few years ago, but I know he saw me work for what I have with blood, sweat, and tears,” Regis offers.
“He was a real old school guy, my dad, so he wouldn’t say it, but I know he was was proud of me.”
A Life Dedicated To Competition
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A perfect blend of work ethic and free spirit meant that Regis had the right blend of focus and risk-taking ability to successfully enter the world of competitive Muay Thai.
He began his training in earnest as soon as he arrived in Australia aged 19, and within six months he was stepping into the ring. With only one or two bouts under his belt, his wild side took over when he was asked to compete against an experienced veteran on less than a day’s notice.
He won by stopping his opponent with a spinning elbow, and ever since then, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing for the fearless Brazilian who wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a challenge.
“I was working in construction, in a car wash, anything to make money, and then training and fighting,” he says. “After that win – it was live on Foxtel – people started to know me.”
Regis capitalized on every opportunity, and built an impressive 25-6-1 record, all while balancing work and starting his own family. In 2010, he opened his own gym, and life has been all about Muay Thai ever since.
He picked up multiple Muay Thai Championships along the way, including a World Fight Organization World Title, an IKBF Commonwealth Title, and a WMC Australian Title, and they have all led him to Kuala Lumpur on 7 December.
Now, the humble Brazilian gets to face off against one of the most revered Nak Muay of all time, “The Hero” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex.
Regis’ years of dedication to the craft mean have elevated him to main event status in The Home Of Martial Arts, and he doesn’t want the journey to end there.
“I just feel really happy to be in this position,” he states.
“I have a two-year contract with ONE Championship. It’s all new and exciting. I have got the fire!”