Kaitlin Young went 7-9 in MMA before retiring from the cage to focus on Muay Thai. She left the sport on a four fight losing streak, and then went on to become a three time world champion in Muay Thai.
Her story is anything but ordinary, and now after four solid years of stand-up competition, Young will return to the cage to take on ‘King’ Reina Miura at RIZIN 12 in Nagoya, Japan.
Reina is on a three fight winning streak, with all of those wins coming in 2018. The only loss on her record came via split decision when she took on Cindy Dandois at the RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix last December.
With Young having been out of the cage for so long, it’s difficult to make any convincing predictions about this fight. Ring rust however, shouldn’t be an issue for Young, who’s gone 11-1 since returning to Muay Thai.
The pair will meet at 65kg, a weight Young is comfortable at. Reina on the other hand regularly competes in the 70kg bracket and has even taken a catch weight fight at 90kg. This will be the lowest she has competed at.
Reina being the younger, and shorter of the two and will most likely try to take the fight to the ground. Young however, will probably want to use her reach and stand up experience to out strike the King.
We sat down with Young to talk more about her comeback.
You’ve fought both Muay Thai and Kickboxing internationally but this will be your international MMA debut. How are you feeling?
I have fought in Russia, Serbia, Poland, Germany and Thailand a few times, but never outside of the US for MMA. I am thankful for those experiences because it has made me familiar with long travel days just prior to a fight.
Japan has such a rich history of MMA, what does it mean to be fighting there?
I’m very excited to fight in Japan. I haven’t been there yet so this will be the first time for me. So many great fighters have fought in Japan. I hear the fans are different and I can’t wait to experience it for myself. I’m very honoured to be representing my country there.
What do you think of RIZIN as a promotion?
I have heard great things from other fighters about RIZIN, and they have been incredibly professional leading up to the fight. I really like the rules set. We will be allowed to kick and knee the head on the ground, but unlike Pride we will still be fighting with elbows. Also, the fight will take place in a ring rather than a cage.
RIZIN tends to feature female fights in multiple weight classes frequently, which isn’t always common in mixed promotions. This is obviously something I’m passionate about. The promotional videos they do – RIZIN Confessions – are cool, too. I only wish I could understand Japanese!
What do you know about your opponent and what do you think of the match up? You’re obviously not talking an easy warm up fight.
No, definitely not but I prefer it that way. I want to feel good about the win. She is a young fighter, 22-years-old and Judo is her strength. She took a kickboxing fight to prepare for our bout. I think that says a lot about her, that she is willing to step out of her comfort zone to improve. Stylistically I think I match up with her very well, especially after having spent a lot more time clinching in the last few years.
You’re keeping your Muay Thai instructor Kronpetch onboard with you for the fight. Tell us a bit about it?
Kronphet is training me for this fight as well. Though he does not have a background in MMA, he has a great understanding of how to prepare fighters in general. We have made some adjustments with training partners – such as working more with ground fighters rather than only Muay Thai athletes. I have some very helpful teammates with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, and Judo backgrounds and they’ve been instrumental in my preparation for this fight.