Prospect in the Spotlight (Oct 2-3): Denise Kielholtz


Thursday, October 1st, Dutch flyweight prospect Denise Kielholtz will be in action for Bellator, where she will be looking to continue her winning streak against Kate Jackson. She will be looking for another win, as Kielholtz looks to impress the Bellator brass in an attempt to earn an eventual title shot. She represents Team Schreiber, a respected camp in combat sports. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”


Muay Thai/Kickboxing: Unsurprisingly, the fighter who trains at Team Schreiber in the Netherlands is a great striker. She is 47-3 as a pro kickboxer, fighting some of the best females in the world. She throws a solid jab to keep and gauge the distance. She has good variety with her punches, throwing a good mix of straight and hooks. She throws good knees to the body in the clinch. A lot of times, she throws her leg kicks out there as bait to allow the opponent to throw strikes so she can counter. She will also throw kicks to set up her own punches. She’s also a knockout risk, as she throws accurately and with power. Striking opposite Kielholtz risks you getting knocked around.

Clinch: When Kieltholtz gets close to her opponent and is able to get the clinch, she is able to do good work. She’s strong from the clinch, generally getting advantageous position by using underhooks or the Thai plum. She likes to throw knees from there, as well as control the head while looking for a potential takedown. She has some judo in her background, which helps her takedowns/grappling. When she does get the takedown, she has some solid top game grappling, as seen in her submissions of Kristina Williams, Sabriye Sengul and Jessica Middleton. If she doesn’t get the takedown, she will look to land elbows, knees and punches, mostly to soften up her opponent and continue to look for a takedown.

Needs Improvement

Counter Grappling: Kielholtz has some solid offensive grappling, but her counter grappling could use a little bit of work. Her counter-wrestling has shown some holes that could be exploited as she takes on more outstanding grapplers. Against Veta Arteaga she was taken down a couple times and took some time to get up. Her loss to Arteaga showed that she needs to protect her neck better on the shoot. As stated, Kielholtz’s grappling is underrated, but there are aspects that need improvement.

MMA Competition Level: Kielholtz has fought some solid fighters, but she needs to up her competition level going forward. Luckily she will get that here in Jackson, who is a top flyweight with Bellator and has quality experience. Outside of Veta Arteaga, I don’t think Kielholtz has been highly challenged. With her current opponent Jackson, we will get a better insight of where Kielholtz is as a mixed martial artist.


Bellator Feature Fighter: Kielholtz has a ton of experience in combat sports and has already proven to be a star as a pro kickboxer. She’s going to be quite good once she hits her prime as a mixed martial artist. She has shown that she is improving from fight to fight, and if she continues to develop and round off her game, she’s going to be a threat in this sport. She has the skills, and as she refines them, it will be tough to exploit a weakness in her game. If she gets by Jackson here, which is a tall task, she should be next in line for Ilima Macfarlane and the Bellator title.

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