In honor of Alex Pereira’s big win earlier this month, we’ll be listing the next possible MMA stars to come from the kickboxing world. It doesn’t start and end with Pereira, of course, as there are a few more gighters in the UFC now with a strong kickboxing base. Obviously, middleweight champ Israel Adesanya stands out the most. But here’s a look at some of the next crossover stars who could make the jump.
Jimmy Vienot is a French muay thai kickboxer that had a ton of experience in combat sports. Only 1-0 in MMA, Vienot had a 51-21 muay thai/kickboxing record. Although he has fought three times for Glory he’s more well-known in muay thai. He’s a three-time muay thai world champion and a Lumpinee Stadium champion.
My thoughts on him in MMA: In his sole MMA fight thus far he looked pretty good. Apart from being taken down a few times he responded well off his back defensively. On the feet, his kickboxing was on point from the outside and his Muay Thai was sharp on the inside. As the fight went on he became more comfortable and was landing more and more. I do think Vienot could be a problem in the future at lightweight.
Isis Verbeek is only 3-1 in MMA but has a lot of experience in kickboxing. She has a 9-4 record in kickboxing and most notably fought a few times for Glory Kickboxing. With a lot of hype coming into MMA, she made her debut for Invicta FC. Verbeek lost that but has rebounded and won her last three fights.
My thoughts on her in MMA: Even though Verbeek is a kickboxer her only finish is with a rear-naked choke. Verbeek is a really good striker that picks girls apart on the outside. From the clinch, her Muay Thai is her best weapon. If she can get her takedown defense tightened up she will be a huge problem going forward. From the Netherlands, Verbeek lives in Florida training out of American Top Team. Verbeek is possibly the next one on this list to sign with the UFC.