Muay Thai Champion Lucie Vacova Discusses Fast Start to MMA at IMMAF Worlds

Lucie Vacova made her debut on the international amateur MMA stage in 2018, representing the Czech Republic national team at the IMMAF-WMMAA Unified World Championships.

The decorated striking specialist discussed with IMMAF.org the crash course that was undertaken at the 2018 World Championships, as she took her mixed martial arts transition to the deep end of top flight amateur MMA following a successful debut at the national level.

Vacova entered MMA as an accomplished amateur Muay Thai champion with international experience. Her striking skill set and familiarity of global scale events no doubt contributed to her fast start in MMA. This was showcased at the 2018 World Championships in Bahrain last November, in the women’s bantamweight quarter-finals.

After finding her feet with a split-decision nod over Lebanon’s Lama Nassar, the charismatic newcomer faced the reigning European Open gold medalist, Sweden’s Frida Vastamäki, in the final 8.

Despite being considered a BJJ specialist within the Swedish national team, Vastamäki produced thrilling knockout stoppages in claiming the European Open crown earlier that year. Vastamäki vs. Vacova produced the captivating match up of perhaps the division’s top striker taking on an evidently dynamic champion of MMA.

“It’s so difficult, because you have to learn an all new technique of fighting,” Vacova explained, commenting on the challenges of transitioning from Muay Thai to MMA. “The first rule at Muay Thay is ‘watch 8 limbs,’ but this is not enough in MMA. I felt like a small child at its first day of school – totally confused.”


Pictured: Vastamäki vs. Vacova

Nevertheless, Vacova’s progress shined. The outcome against Vastamäki showed that even a proven talent of amateur MMA can be handed a lesson that betters their development, and the chances of this are considerably raised within the vastness of the IMMAF talent pool. Vacova faced down Vastamäki with seasoned composure, countering the aggressive Swede with precision strikes, frustrating her opponent enough to force an opening on the ground where the Czech hopeful secured a rear-naked-choke submission.

Recalling her thoughts towards the bout, Vacova told IMMAF.org, “Frida is really good in her fighting stances and moving on the ground as well. I was nervous, but after coming to the cage I felt in a good mood and my head was totally empty, just focusing on the coming fight, not thinking about Frida’s triumphs. I had pure respect for the person who was in front of me at that moment.”

However, the 2018 world title was not to be as Vacova was eliminated by eventual silver medalist, Romania’s Daniela Mihaela Bulgaru, who had shown her own stoppage prowess in the final 8, eliminating the UK’s Charlotte “Bomber” Brown.

Vacova rejoins the Czech national team and is set to enter the women’s lightweight division (155lbs/65.8kg) of the 2019 World Championships, where she will be joined by the likes of exciting European and World silver medalist, Jenni Kivioja of Finland. The 2019 IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships take place from 11-16 November in Manama, Bahrain.

Earning a bronze medal in 2018, Vacova established herself as one to watch as she progresses in MMA and returns to the IMMAF World Championships this November. A frustrating run of results following the 2018 Championships has lead the striking enthusiast and her team to further assess their tactics, recognizing that application of her main strengths require alteration in order to bring out her full capacity.

“We have found some deficiencies. I have been working really hard for getting better in the last months and I am looking forward to going to the cage again, to show you what is in me.”

By IMMAF.org lead writer, photographer: Jorden Curran

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