Gilbert Yvel was one of the first Dutch fighters who successfully applied the Muay Thai striking style to mixed martial arts. Unlike many other Dutch MMA fighters, Yvel started out doing MMA from the onset, without transitioning from kickboxing or another striking art. Gilbert possesses an arsenal of strikes and kicks as befitting his Muay Thai training and is famous for his signature "flying knee" strike. In addition to his striking base, Yvel also holds a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under John Lewis. His grappling style is mainly defensive and he is often praised for his toughness and ability to do damage from the guard.
Gilbert Yvel grew up in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam. Through his brother he came into contact with kickboxing and MMA and after only two years of training he made his debut at 17 years of age, representing Vos gym. Gilbert was off to a flying start winning his first 9 fights, primarily fighting for the Rings promotion. His first loss came to "dirty" Bob Schrijber in 1998. In the following years Yvel came to be considered the best Dutch heavyweight fighter active on the European fighting circuit. Yvel also has fought 2 kickboxing matches, losing to Ray Sefo and beating Yuji Sakuragi.
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