Article Published by: social.ufcvipexerience

If you watched the recent fights at UFC® 173 you may have noticed there are two types of viewers: those who know and those who don’t.

What I mean is that to some, these fights were a lot of rolling around on the floor, hugging on the sides of the cage, punching, kicking and kneeing. The more knowledgeable fan realized that there were some serious technical elements involved.

So to help our beginner MMA fans out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more widely used fighting styles in the UFC and a breakdown of each.


This is a grappling style developed by the Gracie family (Carlos Gracie) that was a descendant of jiu jitsu; BJJ version focused on grappling and ground fighting in a no-rules, self defense format.

In MMA and within the UFC, fighters utilize BJJ for takedowns and positional grappling. Fighters who achieve a takedown and want to utilize their BJJ will typically try to gain a dominant position (hence all the jostling for position you see in the Octagon) and then end the fight with either a submission, joint locks, choke holds or stoppage via strikes.


Many fans of MMA have starting talking about judo again, because of the women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey’s, spectacular use of it to win and defend her title.

Judo’s goal is to throw or takedown your opponent and then (in the case of MMA) for them to submit with either a joint lock (such as Rousey’s oft-used armbar) or a choke. As seen in Rousey’s fights, fighters who practice judo also become proficient in the clinch and possess an excellent takedown defense.


In MMA, fighters typically use karate for its striking purposes (although this style does offer some grappling, throws and joint locks), using it for punches, kicks, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques.

UFC fighter Lyoto Machida is famed for his use of karate in his MMA fighting style; his use of punch, kick combinations has translated into wins in the Octagon.


One of the more widely practiced fighting styles; many MMA fighters use Muay Thai as a foundation for their striking game and in clinch work. This style combines the use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet.

Anderson Silva is one of the most popular UFC fighters that practices Muay Thai and is known for his devastating striking.


In the Octagon, wrestling is used for its effective take downs, specifically leg take downs. It’s also useful in terms of takedown defense as one of the most used defenses is the sprawl (a technique used by sprawl-and-brawl fighters such as Chuck Liddell and Junior dos Santos).

Additionally, fighters employ Greco-Roman Wrestling because of its strong emphasis on throwing and its effectiveness in takedowns from the clinch.

There are several other fighting styles used in MMA and specifically by UFC fighters including boxing, kickboxing, Sambo, Savate, among others.

About Jaime Bonetti Zeller

Jaime Bonetti Zeller is an investment professional and entrepreneur with businesses in multiple industries. He is president of Servicios Consulares Eurodom, the local partner in the Caribbean region for VFS Global, a leader global outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. Jaime Bonetti Zeller also started the company Sofratesa de Panama inc., an organization in the engineering services industry located in Panama City.