Tiffany Van Soest defeats Ukrainian Champion Lena Ovchynnikova

 In this file photo, we see Tiffany Van Soest (C) of San Diego, joined by the Coors Lite representatives, flashing her million dollar smile after defeating Malia Spanyol of San Francisco to win the U.S. Muay Thai Association Featherweight title, November 20, 2009 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in San Diego.   Photo: Jim Wyatt

A week ago, Tiffany Van Soest, a local amateur MMA and Muay Thai fighter was training at the local Black House Team Nogueira Gym on Miramar Road in preparation for her rematch, Saturday, October 22, at the Las Vegas Hilton, against Cong Wang of China. In their first match, Van Soest and Wang fought a three round draw.


During her training for the rematch with Wang, Van Soest’s psychic told her, ‘If she (Wang) is running five miles today, then I’m going to have to go six.’

Tiffany Van Soest is photographed while training non-stop at the Black House Team Nogueira Gym in San Diego.

‘If she (Wang) is hitting the heavy bag for 30 minutes, then I’m going to have to hit it for 40.’ A fierce rivalry brings out the best in all athletes.

Lena Ovchynnikova (Center) is fitted for yet another championship belt.

Then prior to leaving for this WCK Full Contact Rules Muay Thai/Kickboxing event in Las Vegas, Alex Palma, Tiffany Van Soest’s coach got the news that Wang was unable to compete but they had an able substitute waiting in the wings. That able substitute just happened to be Lena Ovchynnikova of the Ukraine, one of the most decorated female MMA, Muay Thai/Kickboxers on planet Earth.

World Champion Lena Ovchynnikova of the Ukraine.

Ovchynnikova is a World Champion of KOWAT ALRAMI, a WPKA world champion, four time World Muay Thai K-1 Champion and European MMA Champion. I’m sure we left out some of the titles, but suffice it to say, Ovchynnikova knows most everything there is about the fighting sports. Even though she had performed throughout Europe and Asia, this would be her first performance in the United States.

Dennis Warner, the show’s promoter explained his dilemma to Palma, relaying the information about Cong’s injury and how he needed Tiffany, an amateur, to turn pro and fight Ovchynnikova, a professional.

“I didn’t think twice,” said Palma. “I said yes; we will take the fight. I even verbally agreed to the match before telling Tiffany anything. Then I waited a full day before telling her. When I finally did, I called her on the phone. ‘Tiffany, I have some bad news and good news; bad news is your opponent Cong dropped out of the fight. Good news is, you are going pro. And for your debut fight, I have set up a contest for you to face Lena (Ovchynnikova) the 4X World Professional Thai box/kickbox Champion. See you tomorrow at the gym.’

“I had seen Ovchynnikova fight before in Europe and knew Tiffany had the athletic ability and tools to give her a great fight. When Tiffany focuses and really pushes her cardio training, I feel she is unbeatable. Well, for the fight with Wang, we had been working very, very hard to get that cardio of hers through the roof.”

Van Soest, one of those competitors who loves a challenge, gladly accepted the change of opponents and looked forward to fighting the celebrated champion.

Palma’s reaction was still guarded. He needed help digesting the news and contacted a gentleman by the name Serge, a Russian, still very pro Soviet Union, now living in Dubai, to ask for his opinion, “What do you think?”

As expected Serge gave him a hard time, “I told you the Russians are coming! Good luck in taking her (Ovchynnikova) out. It will never happen!”

The following rap-up of Saturday’s match may surprise a lot of people.

After just one round, Ovchynnikova realized she was over-matched. The fight was reminiscent of the beating Cris Cyborg put on Gina Carano.

Tiffany Van Soest with her coach Alex Palma.

The champion, Ovchynnikova, could not match Van Soest’s energy or output, from the spinning back fists, the continual takedowns, the kicks to the head or the elbow strikes. With each weak kick from Ovchynnikova, Van Soest answered with a hard punch to the face. Better than anyone describing how one-sided this match was, you should take a gander at the video attached.

Video #1 showing Round #1

Video #2 showing Round #2

Tiffany Van Soest has her arm raised in victory by referee Tony Weeks.

And so, Tiffany Van Soest, in her first professional Muay Thai fight defeated the multiple time Kickboxing and MMA champion Lena “Hunter” Ovchynnikova of the Ukraine. How did it end? After the second round, Ovchynnikova remained on her stool. She never answered the bell for Round #3. In other words, her corner threw in the towel and pulled a “No mas!”

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