Nowadays, most people recognize the finishing moves used in MMA as well as the basic techniques. There isn’t a lot of mystery left in what move actually finished a fight or did a lot of damage. Not everybody knows all of the technical terms for moves so I wanted to review some of the main moves used in MMA. I have blogged about this in the past, but I feel that we all need a refresher course from time to time. After all, a jab in boxing can also be called a front punch in other martial arts so maybe we will learn something in the process.
There are a lot of fights finished with punches, whether they be standing or during a ground-and-pound. Contrary to natural instinct, when a fighter is right-handed (also known as orthodox), most of the time they stand with their left foot in front. This is to be able to utilize their power hand and leg most effectively. A left-handed fighter stands the opposite way (again, for the most part) and is also known as a “southpaw”. For the purpose of this discussion, I will use the terminology that applies to an orthodox fighter. So keep in mind it is the opposite for a southpaw.
The fight ending punch is usually the right cross.
A cross is a punch that is thrown straight down the middle with the power hand. Fights can also end in close quarters with a left hook, which is a turning punch executed with the lead hand at while the arm is at a ninety degree angle and is thrown horizontally. These are the two main punch fight finishers in MMA. When a fight ends in MMA due to a kick, more often than not, it is ended with a head kick. This is when the fighter throws a roundhouse (not spinning) kick aimed at the opponent’s head. This kick can finish whether the fighter lands with the foot or the shin, but the shin is compared to a baseball bat’s force when it lands. MMA has hammerfists, spinning backfists, superman punches, and several other exclusive techniques but these hardly ever finish fights.
Wrestling may be the next most understood part of MMA. Being an Olympic Sport doesn’t hurt its popularity. Finishing moves in wrestling are non existent since wrestling is a sport about total control over an opponent, not submitting or knocking them out. When a fight ends from wrestling, it is from a “slam” nine times out of ten. Since slamming an opponent with intention to injure is illegal in wrestling, it isn’t practiced much. There have been cases of fight-ending slams in high profile fights. The most famous is probably the slam executed by Quinton Rampage Jackson against Ricardo Arona in Pride. Arona put a submission hold on Jackson, but Jackson elevated Arona’s body over his head and brought all of his force straight down and knocked Arona out cold. The topic of wrestling being a fight finisher is debatable, but doesn’t hold much merit.
Besides boring decisions, fights are ended with submissions executed by good grapplers. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, catch wrestlers, and submission grapplers are all dangerous opponents. There are two main types of submissions: choke and pressure. An arm bar is a good example of a pressure submission. Since opponents in MMA have a lot of pride, some boast that they will let their arm break before they tap to a pressure submission. An arm bar is the most used pressure submission for fight stoppage. Arm bars are normally executed by the grappler taking an opponents arm, bringing the hand near their own face, forcing the opponent’s arm between their own legs, pulling back on the hand, then elevating their hips. It creates a hyperextension in the opponent’s elbow. Now, there are a lot of ways to defend before and during this submission, but some people like Giva “the arm collector” Santana and “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey have made this the most effective pressure lock in MMA. As for the main finishers in grappling, you are going to have to learn the difference in three chokes. The Rear Naked Choke or RNC, the Triangle Choke, and the Guillotine. The RNC is when an opponent gets behind another opponent, wraps one arm around the neck of the other, and then grabs the inside of their opposite elbow to add squeezing power. The oxygen to the brain is cut off and the opponent must either tap or go to sleep. The Triangle Choke is when a grappler traps an opponents head and arm between their legs, applies a figure four lock with their legs, then squeezes until an opponent taps or goes to sleep. A Guillotine is a front choke executed by wrapping an arm around an opponents neck when the opponent attempts to take them down. They are normally standing up with the opponent bent over facing the ground. Pressure is applied to the choke and the victim has to either pass out or tap.
Now, in conclusion, there are a lot of techniques that were not covered in this blog, but when you see finishes in MMA, it is usually by the means mentioned above. Knowing these terms and what they look like will definitely help your knowledge in MMA. Watch some videos now and search for the names of the moves. You’ll see some exciting stuff.