From an MMA perspective there’s waaaay too many options for this to be a problem. From a kickboxing perspective it requires a unique set of skills.
This is some of the stuff that I use.
#1, realize that you’re not going to be able to just jump in and use a traditional double collar tie. You need to work upwards to that.
#2, realize his kneeing (potentially elbow) distance is your punching distance.
#3, He needs SPACE to knee. You don’t. Cut that summabtich off from his life blood. YOU control space.
You have to learn to effectively cut off his range. Where he can KNEE you can actually throw shorthooks and low/sweeping kicks. So utilize those until you can get into your range. from there I like to get double underhooks or a body lock. Keep your hips directly against his. Yep cup to cup. You should be able to poke knee his thigh easily. This is more of a technique to draw a reaction from him.
The key to this position is:
1- keeping your hips square. If you turn to the side he can curve knee you pretty easily
2- Keeping your head AGAINST his chest…CLOSE…This way you don’t get elbowed. if you can put the point of your chin into some soft tissue, around the shoulder joint is always good.
3- your hands shouldn’t just be around his waist, but sitting on his hips, from here you sink DOWN. Scissor your arms so that you’re around his waist tight (but by technique not just hugging him strong). SIT DOWN…use your lower center of gravity to keep his hips down. he shouldn’t be able to knee without EXTREME difficulty; meaning, you sinking your weight down and dropping his legs.
4- whatever your lead leg is needs to be between his legs. And i mean DEEP. Like a penetration step for a double leg deep. You want him to be almost sitting on your leg.
Anyone worth their salt is going to start trying to repummel, try to get double collar on you, or break your grip.
You have a lot of options.
He’s nearly sitting on your leg and you’re controlling his center of gravity. You can let up on his hips a bit poke knee till he tries and returns a knee. When he’s up on one point of balance (one leg, trying to knee you) you can basically throw him to the ground.
In muay thai, you may or may not get away with this depending on the ref. But what you WILL get away with is not throwing him to the ground, using that to upset his balance, have him stumbling but you’re still controlling his body and jump knee into him.
If he’s working on his pummel a lot and starting too fuck with your head, trying to push you away like that… #1 you’re probably not deep enough… but keep one hand around his waist, and use the other hand to get in the crook of his elbow and push him back… Push that hand behind his back. NOW this requires good body control of your opponent, but switch hands. Meaning, the hand that pushes his arm behind his back, is going to give the crook of the elbow to the other glove, you can hold it a few diff ways that you can play with (over, under, grip it) but basically you leave one side of his body defenseless. Knee’s all day (may need to switch your stance).
Alternatively you can use that deep low clinch to annoy the shit out of him with poke knees, also you can use your chin in his ribs (if you’re THAt low) or your elbow if you can work with 1 arm free. have him trying to create space and while he’s doing that you can arm drag or snap his head down to double collars, KNEE FAST, BOX (hook-straight right, x2), Low HARD leg kick (i mean try to take BOTH legs out), back to low clinch. Or Low kick, box, back to low clinch.