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 MMA: The Ultimate Fighting Sport – Terminology Explained

Mixed martial arts, or MMA, has exploded onto the world stage within the past decade and if you have yet to watch a UFC event, where have you been? While there are a few MMA companies that run promotions, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, is by far the most popular, closely followed by Bellator and One Championship and this is a very dangerous and complex discipline.

If you are new to the exciting world of MMA, the terminology might seem confusing and with that in mind, here are some of the terms used in MMA, along with the meaning.

  • Arm Bar – The arm bar is a form of submission whereby the attacking fighter pins the defender’s bicep to the floor and begins to extend the arm, forcing a tap-out.
  • Choke – As the name suggests, the choke is when the attacker uses their arms to squeeze the defender’s neck and if this hold is continued, the defender will likely lose consciousness, as the flow of blood to the head is cut off.
  • Clinch – When both fighters hold each other in close proximity, this is called a clinch, which is widely used in Muay Thai and you can control your opponent from a clinch.
  • Elbow Strike – Perhaps the deadliest weapon of all, an elbow in the face can break bones and quite often will be the strike that ends the fight.
  • Ground and Pound – This is when the attacker sits astride the defender and rains down punches (and elbows). This is particularly dangerous as the defender’s head is on the floor and must therefore take the full force of the blows.
  • Guillotine – Another choke hold, the guillotine can be performed with the arms or legs and from behind or face to face.
  • Hook – A punch that is thrown laterally, going around the front guard, which is also a punch used in boxing and Muay Thai.
  • Leg Kick – The leg kick can be aimed at the opponent’s legs (lower and upper), the waist or even the head. All MMA fighters use leg kicks, as it is an effective striking action and this very often ends the fight. If you would like to enrol in an MMA course in Bangkok, there are some great MMA gyms in the city, where you can learn the basics.
  • Takedown – When one fighter manages to get the other fighter to the ground, this is called a takedown.
  • Tap Out – This is a signal from one fighter to the referee that he submits, which signals the end of the contest, done by tapping the hand on the opponent 2 or 3 times.

If you would like to learn the basics of MMA, there’s bound to be a gym near you.