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Mixed martial arts (MMA) can be an exciting sport to watch and even more so if you are a fan of the old Kung Fu movies of yore.

But what many viewers who are just getting into the sport don’t realise how daunting it can be when you don’t know what’s happening in the octagon and you are struggling to make sense of who is winning and who is on the losing ground.

This is why this guide is to provide a path to understand the fighting styles involved in order for you to get a better grasp of MMA bouts.


Muay Thai is a form of striking in MMA. – pix credit

Striking in the octagon can be complicated as there are up to over 20 different styles in the striking school, but the most dominant styles used by fighters are boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

Fighters who prefer this style prefer to keep their game up top, meaning they tend to push their matches towards standing and striking and often going for the knockout.

Strikers are quick on their feet and they like to put pressure on their opponents with a mix of efficient head kicks and punches to extend the distance or give themselves an advantage once they close the gap.

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Pix credit

Submission is where fighters utilise various holds to submit their opponents instead of knocking them out.

This new angle of attack makes MMA a more decisive fighting sport than most. Styles that utilise submissions are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, Vale Tudo and Judo.

Specialised fighters using this style make use of fast takedowns before proceeding to keep opponents entangled in a web of holds, joint locks, and pins to force them to tap out.

Submissions proved itself since the beginning of the UFC when Royce Gracie beat opponents much bigger than him using pure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which allows him to win matches consistently.


Wrestling is one of the more common styles you would encounter in MMA but this also makes it hard to distinguish from the various submission martial arts that some fighters employ, since they pretty much look alike but are very different in concept.

Wrestling takes its roots in history as one of the oldest forms of martial arts and the most commonly seen in the UFC is catch wrestling and Greco Roman wrestling.

atch wrestling makes use of your strength to keep your opponents pinned, or it is used to employ strong handed throws to get the upper hand, whereas the Greco Roman variant places a lot of emphasis on the top side of the body, meaning more underhooks and body control.

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Fighters in MMA make use of wrestling as a way to gain a favourable position, a way to take opponents down or to defend against other takedown attempts, which is commonly seen in adept strikers.

With these styles now laid bare, we hope that when you watch your next UFC or ONE FC fights, you can watch them in a new light while understanding the core fundamentals.

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