Pannie Kianzad will be making her second appearance for the all female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships later tonight (12th September) in Kansas City, as the challenger for the Bantamweight Championship Title, which is currently held by newly crowned and long time veteran of WMMA Tonya Evinger.
Born in Iran, 23-year-old Pannie Kianzad and her family moved to Sweden when she was young. Having three older siblings (1 sister and 2 brothers) whom all used to train in Taekwondo and would often compete in competitions.
“My sister competed in taekwondo when she was younger, although she doesn’t want to admit it, but there are the movies (laughs). My older brother is a black belt in taekwondo and he don’t talk about it either – no-one wants to admit it, and he was really good, he had the early Jean-Claude Van Damme thing going on. Persian style, with the long, dark hair (laughs), whilst my other brother did MMA then moved over to boxing.”
Deciding not to waste anytime herself, Pannie started boxing at the of 13 and also competing, week in, week out all the way up until she was 18 years old when she decided boxing was not for her anymore.
“When I turned 18 I was really sick of boxing. It became a burden instead of having fun and training. There was a lot of things going on and I did not get the right support from my trainer, so when I was 18 I decided I was not going to do this anymore.”
After deciding boxing was no longer for herself, Pannie came across Mats Nilsson who convinced her to train in MMA where he was currently training at Kaisho Martial Arts and subsequently moved to Rumble Sports, Copenhagen early 2012 as it also happened to be close to her house. Pannie packed all her stuff from the boxing gym and left, she has not stepped foot back into the boxing gym to this day.
Having no prior MMA experience Pannie decided to take part in grappling tournaments as she had lost her love her striking and was adamant this was not something she was going to go back to. This only lasted four months before Pannie took part in her first shootfighting tournament championships for where she brought home a Silver and then the Gold the following year.
Overall, Pannie was competing in BJJ, Thai, Submission Wrestling, K1 and Shootfighting every other week to gain her transition into MMA as there were no females around at the time for her to have a ‘amateur’ MMA career as such with, for the 2 years she was gaining her experience.
“I couldn’t get any amateur fights in Scandinavia with punches on the ground, there was nothing, but once I went Pro then there were the females coming into the Pro scene who wanted to do the sport. Although technically I have no ‘amateur’ MMA record I do class the 2 years of my transition fights as my amateur record.”
Making her Pro debut on April 14th 2012 in Estonia and winning, continuing to win five straight fights, Pannie was then signed to UK and European promotion Cage Warriors which is where she found her new manager Graham Boylan and is now part of the Intensiti Fight Management Team. Along with her new fight nickname ‘Sexy Scramble’.
Pannie faced Megan Van Houtum at Cage Warriors 71 in a catchweight bout of 140 lbs having previously fought her MMA career at 145 lbs Featherweight, for which she won in the third round via TKO; taking no time she called out Agnieska Niedzwiedz for the vacant Bantamweight Title. Although that fight was scheduled Niedzwiedz later pulled out of the fight injured and was replaced by Eeva Siiskonen (3-1) on Cage Warriors 74, 15th November at The Copper Box Arena London.
The title fight went the distance with Pannie Kianzad gaining a Unanimous Decision and becoming Cage Warriors Female Bantamweight Title Holder in the process.
“I’m not really proud of that fight really just because it wasnt my fight, I didn’t feel it. I felt sharp and everything, I just didn’t feel strong and I felt I could finish her but I didn’t. I was really disappointed with that fight and it actually really bugged me for a long time, so much so I was like I really need to get another fight and not have this feeling.”
Having the longest lay off in her MMA career due to a hiatus that her former promotion Cage Warriors was on, Pannie states she took to eating lots of ‘ice-cream’.
“First of all I was getting fat (as if that is possible – I say) I was growing a third arse. When it disappeared my coach was like – ‘its happened, its gone’. I got so fat because I was so depressed, then I got a bit injured in between so I was even more depressed but then I got the Invicta contract so it was time to get lean again (laughs). I was hanging out with my family more as they are very supportive in what I do and my dad is so supportive he loves MMA, he loves me competing. He saw how miserable I was in boxing and was a bit scared when I first started doing MMA and competing and was like oh ‘she’s gonna get so sad when she loses.”
He told me when I went to the TUF 18 tryout if you’re going to do this do it 100% don’t do it half way just go for it. After I didn’t make it to TUF I just kept on working then caught a few good fights.”
Being signed to all female promotion Invicta FC in March this year, Pannie made her promotional debut against Jessica-Rose Clark on July 9th at Invicta FC 13 in Las Vegas, which was also her first fight on American soil, winning via Unanimous Decision, Pannie was well and truly welcomed to America when her fight went viral on social media after using a unique move phrased by veteran fighter, match-maker and commentator for Invicta Julie Kedzie as the ‘ Butt-Bomb’.
Pannie goes on to describe how she is transferring her body from one position to more dominant position and the move is quite rightly so legal; whilst being in reverse mount and how hard it is to actually push over your opponent’s chest. Although she does admit that she does end up in this position a lot in training and wonders herself how she gets there?!
Talking of signature moves for which I’m sure Pannie will now be fully associated with the ‘Butt Bomb’ we talk about her other love – Pro Wrestling and Rikishi as his signature move was also a form of a ‘Butt Bomb’ but she assures me that move is all hers or maybe watching some footage of UFC fighter Mark Hunt! 😉
If Pannie was not doing MMA she would be a Pro wrestler called ‘Persian Fury’ decked out in full Techno clothing. Neon Green with Orange Fur to go with her Purple hair and of course her love of Buffalo Boots. Playing the part of a good girl gone bad 😉
Back to the task in hand. Tonight September 12th, Invicta FC 14 Pannie will again be in America but this time for a crack at the Bantamweight Title against her toughest opponent to date in that of veteran Tonya Evinger.
“Of course were gonna go to war. I think were gonna show two different styles and that’s going to go well together. It’s going to be tricky because she is very unorthodox and I’m not I think our different styles will match up really good. I’m on enemy turf. I’m going into Kansas City. Its going to be fun. I like being the underdog and I like going to someone elses turf to fight. I like to be the underdog as I like to surprise people. Its like when I went to Russia I had no chance of winning on paper but totally fucked her up! Then I was like, I like this, I like being the under dog, I like coming in there – Fuck things up then walk away 🙂
Being only the second fight for the promotion some may argue that it was a quick turn-around for Pannie yet alone being offered a title shot in the mix.
“I thought they would give it to Raquel Pa’aluhi first but when they asked me I was like YEAH.”
I don’t have time to be polite anymore. I’m working 2 jobs here (Mon – Fri in a school and weekends in Security) and also training here full-time. I’m not wasting anybodies time here. It’s like a lot of those girls just do training and they don’t do anything else. I’m not waiting for anything, I’m working. I’m working myself to the top. I’m not waiting to give somebody else a shot just because she was maybe inline first, but if she was maybe inline she would have got that chance.”
Having already won Cage Warriors Gold but never the chance to defend that title the Invicta Fighting Championships Gold is a hard task to follow especially with such a seasoned veteran in Tonya Evinger (16-5).
“Tonya is already a much more already higher level of opponent, both on paper and as a fighter. She has a lot of experience behind her and in the people she has fought. I think that would put me in line of being one of the greatest female fighters at the 135 lb division outside of the UFC (as im not in the UFC). Its called a title fight but it’s just a name, it’s still just a fight, it’s still just an opponent in front of you. If I would have faced Tonya in a non title fight it would still be the same work, it would still be the same effort, it would still be the same fight. The ‘Title fight’ name is just making it sound more dangerous.”
You can watch Invicta FC 14 live on UFC Fight Pass on September 12th or the early hours of September 13th if you’re watching from the UK.
Pannie would like to say a thank you to the following:
Rumble Sports, her family, her team, Fit4Fight, Dirty Rebel, Massage Templet, MMAnytt, K.O.Store, Revolutionary Fitness Sweden, Intensiti Fight Managment, Tip-a-Fighter, and all of her fans from all around the world.
You can also follow Pannie on the following social media sites:
Snap Chat: PKUnit
Instagram: Pannie Kianzad
Facebook: Pannie “Sexy Scramble” Kianzad
Photo Credit 1 Invicta FC
Photo Credit 2 Cage Warriors FC
Photo Credit 3 MMAnytt