What is Grappling in MMA & Why it is Important

The UFC, founded in 1992, made mixed martial arts a mainstream combat sport.

Fighters use a variety of movements and fighting styles, including grappling. Grappling is a term used to describe the various techniques and strategies used in close-range combat.

In mixed martial arts (MMA), grappling refers to a technique used with various forms of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and other ground-based fighting styles. Fighters use grappling to control and submit an opponent.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What is grappling in MMA?” We’ll also explore how fighters use grappling and its importance in the ring.

Read on for a complete overview of grappling!

What Is Grappling in MMA?

As the name suggests, fighters grapple when they use holds and grabbing moves instead of strikes. The objective when a fighter begins grappling is to bring the fight to the ground.

Rather than brute strength, grappling relies more on leverage and strategy. Fighters who excel at grappling have expert knowledge of how the human body functions.

Types of Grappling Moves

Fighters use a combination of moves to grapple opponents. Each of these techniques has a unique purpose and can be used to control, and submit an opponent in a fight.

By mastering these moves, fighters gain a significant advantage in the cage and become more well-rounded and versatile.

Each of these grappling styles has strengths and weaknesses. Fighters will often use a combination of different styles to be successful in the cage.

For example, a wrestler may use their grappling skills to take an opponent down to the ground. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner might use a grapple to control and submit the opponent once the fight hits the mat.

Clinches

A clinch is a hold or grip used to control an opponent’s upper body. Clinches can help control an opponent’s strikes, take the fight to the ground, or set up other grappling techniques.

There are several different types of clinches, including the over-under clinch, the double collar tie clinch, and the body lock clinch.

Reversals

Reversals are a technique used to reverse an opponent’s position and gain the upper hand in a grappling situation. These techniques can help a fighter escape from an opponent’s control or take an opponent down to the ground.

Examples of reversals include the hip escape, the bridge and roll, and the knee cut pass.

Sprawls

A sprawl is a technique used to defend against a takedown attempt. When an opponent tries to bring the fight to the ground, fighters can use a sprawl to maintain their balance and prevent the takedown.

Fighters can also use a sprawl to counter an opponent’s takedown attempt and take them down instead.

Takedowns

Takedowns are a method for bringing an opponent to the ground. There are many different types of takedowns, including the double-leg takedown, the single-leg takedown, and the outside foot sweep.

Takedowns allow a fighter to control an opponent’s position and set up other grappling techniques.

Throws

Throws allow fighters to take an opponent off their feet and slam them to the ground. There are many different types of throws, including the hip toss, the judo throw, and the fireman’s carry.

Throws are an effective way to take an opponent down to the ground and can be used as a surprise attack in a fight.

MMA Fighting Styles

In addition to specific grappling styles, several different MMA fighting styles incorporate grappling into their overall strategy. These include:

  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu: focuses on controlling your opponent
  • Wrestling: emphasizes positioning
  • Judo: Stresses getting opponents to the ground with trips and throws
  • Sambo: Focused on controlling the ground with sweeps
  • Muay Thai: Combines boxing and Thai martial arts

Each of these styles uses a different method of grappling and can be incredibly effective when used correctly. Keep in mind that, although Muay Thai is a popular fighting style for MMA, it emphasizes strikes more than grappling.

Benefits of Grappling

There are several benefits to learning and incorporating grappling into your MMA fighting style. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the ability to control and submit an opponent.

By mastering grappling techniques, fighters can neutralize an opponent’s strikes. They can then take the fight to the ground where they have a significant advantage.

Another benefit of grappling is that it is a great way to improve overall fitness and conditioning. Grappling is a physically demanding activity that requires a high level of endurance and strength.

By training in grappling regularly, fighters can improve their overall fitness and conditioning. This demanding regimen can give them a significant edge in the octagon.

Learning to Grapple

Learning how to grapple can also be an empowering experience. Grappling is a physically intense form of combat, and it can be rewarding to master the various techniques and strategies involved.

You may be a beginner interested in learning how to fight, or perhaps you’re already a fighter looking to improve your grappling skills.

In either case, there are several steps you can take. The first step is to find a reputable grappling school or instructor who can teach you the various techniques and strategies involved.

There are also many grappling training videos and resources available online. These resources can be a great way to improve your skills from the comfort of your own home.

Everything You Want to Know About MMA

With this guide, you should have a complete answer to the question, “What is grappling in MMA?” Grappling encompasses various forms of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and other ground-based fighting styles.

These styles each have strengths and weaknesses and fighters often use a combination of different styles to be successful in the cage. To improve your grappling skills, find a reputable MMA school or instructor and consider competing in grappling tournaments.

Whether you want match breakdowns, betting tips, or just want to learn more about fighting, MadLab can help. Contact us today to learn more about our combat sports content!

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