Tiffany Lynn van Soest (born March 20, 1989) is an American Muay Thai kickboxer who competes in the bantamweight division. Originally a Shōrin-ryū karate practitioner, van Soest began Muay Thai at the age of eighteen and was both a state and national titlist as an amateur before turning professional in 2011 and winning the WBC Muaythai International Super Bantamweight Championship the following year. Tiffany has also held the Lion Fight Promotions Featherweight and Glory Women’s Super Bantamweight titles.
Tiffany van Soest was born in Torrance, California, and raised in Riverside, California. Her paternal grandfather was a Dutch-Indonesian born in Semarang, in the former Dutch East Indies. He immigrated to the Netherlands in the early 1950s and met his ethnically Dutch wife in the Hague, after which they both moved to the United States. Van Soest is of maternal Austrian and Polish descent. The first sports she became involved in were association football at the age of five and later Shōrin-ryū karate at eight. She earned the rank of second degree black belt under Joey Pagliuso at the United States Karate Organization at seventeen but was unable to compete until she was eighteen because her parents wouldn’t let her. When she did start competitive karate, she took multiple titles at state, national and world levels.
Van Soest stopped practicing martial arts for a short time to attend California State University San Marcos where she earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and played on the soccer team for two seasons. However, van Soest was soon drawn back to martial arts and found Muay Thai while living in San Diego, California.
Tifffany Van Soest began fighting in amateur Muay Thai in 2009 and had her first title fight on August 14, 2010, at the San Mateo Event Center in San Mateo, California, challenging IKF Women’s Amateur World Muay Thai Bantamweight (-55.45 kg/122.2 lb) Champion Jenna Castillo for her belt. After what was called the “Fight of the Night”, van Soest lost the challenge to Castillo by unanimous decision on scores of 50-44, 49-45 and 49-45. She soon captured the United States Muay Thai Association Women’s Amateur California Featherweight Championship and then defeated Gabriela Lemus by technical knockout (TKO) in the second round of their contest in Pala, California on October 2, 2010, to claim the International Amateur Muay Thai Federation Women’s United States Featherweight title. Her original opponent was to be Tandi Schaffer, but Schafer injured her hand in a previous bout and was forced to withdraw. Facing her first foreign opponent, van Soest fought to a draw with China’s Cong Wang in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 16, 2010.
She debuted as an amateur in mixed martial arts (MMA) on February 26, 2011, at the Road to WCK event in Pala where she TKO’d Kate McGray with a combination of a left high kick and standing-to-ground punches early in the second round. She had her first international bout in her second appearance in amateur MMA as she lost to Jin Tang via submission due to a triangle choke inside the first round in Nanning, China, on June 18, 2011. The fight is notable for being the first female MMA match to be held in mainland China.
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