Dutch MMA legend Gilbert Yvel has just been promoted to black belt in BJJ by his coaches and training partners, Remco Pardoel and Marcelo Andreoli. It’s been quite a long time coming, as Yvel has been training in the sport for decades and has been a professional MMA fighter since the early days of the sport in 1997. He started out his career as a striker primarily and although he eventually did become a talented grappler as well, his biggest strengths were always his fearsome kickboxing skills and devastating knockout power. So much so in fact, that every single fight that Yvel won was finished and the vast majority of those finishes came by way strikes.
He started out his professional career by competing on the regional MMA circuit in his native Holland, and also on the cards that RINGS put together there. He was incredibly prolific during the early years of his career and beat big names like Semmy Schilt and Valentijn Overeem to make his name in the sport. Yvel amassed a 17-3 record during his first two years as a professional fighter and was invited to compete in the RINGS: King of Kings tournament in 1999. He won his first two fights in the tournament before losing a decision to a young Dan Henderson in the quarter-final, although he did win the RINGS openweight championship just two months and two fights later.
This led to him drawing the attention of PRIDE and he made his debut against Vitor Belfort at PRIDE 9, dropping another decision. Regardless, he was an instant fan-favorite thanks to his incredibly exciting fighting style and Yvel continued to fight for PRIDE over the next few years before being signed for a short stint in the UFC in 2010. He eventually retired from the sport in 2018 with an incredible 40-16-1 (1) professional record that included wins over fellow legends like Ricco Rodriguez, Gary Goodridge, and Pedro Rizzo. Gilbert Yvel was a phenomenal fighter and now he is the proud owner of a BJJ black belt to represent the grappling knowledge that went along with his elite striking skills.
Gilbert Yvel announced the news that he had been promoted to BJJ black belt in a recent post to his official Instagram account: