Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Ending an MMA combat bout: specific striking techniques which determine the type of outcome

Background. A schematic analysis of tactical performance by an MMA athlete is a potential mediator of success, and can help the understanding of how striking actions can be used to organize technical-tactical actions. A specific evaluation of MMA striking actions has not been undertaken in previous studies.
Problem and aim. To compare the striking motor actions of MMA athletes by outcome type (Split vs. Unanimous Score Decision vs. KO/TKO vs. Submission) at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC™), and to offer a practical application for MMA training.
Methods. Kruskal Wallis and Dunn post hoc tests were applied to compare the effects of the different types of outcome decision (Split Score Decision vs. Unanimous Score Decision vs. KO/TKO vs. Submission).
Results. Results showed a higher number of Unanimous than Split Decisions and Submissions after attempted (p≤0.05) and (p≤0.05) landed head strikes during keeping distance and clinch moments. A Split Decision followed a higher frequency of attempted (p≤0.05) and landed (p≤0.05) body strikes during keeping distance and clinch moments rather than an Unanimous Decision. Submission and TKO/KO.TKO/KO were more highly demonstrated than Split Decision after Attempted [0.0 (0.0;2.0); p≤0.05)] and Landed [0.0 (0.0;2.0); p≤0.05)] Head Jabs during groundwork combat.
Conclusions. These results are interesting because they show the singularities of two situations (Split and Unanimous Scores) in which the bout must continue until the end of the round. Unanimous decisions were made in respect of attacks to the head during stand up combat, while split decisions were determined by the number of strike actions oriented to the body, and TKO/KO outcomes were determined by jabs to the head made in the ground situation.