Boxing for MMA at Reaction MMA
Boxing skills are essential for anyone who wants to compete in mixed martial arts. You simply should not step into the ring or cage with the well-rounded fighters of today if you are missing this important part of the mixed martial arts puzzle. Nor can you simply take that piece of the puzzle and expect it to fit into your MMA game without a bit of tweaking on your part. You need the ability of a coach that knows both sports and knows how to integrate them together. A classic example was in the fight GSP vs Koscheck 2 during UFC 124. In that fight Koscheck simply had no answer for the basic boxing skills of GSP. As a result, Koscheck was brutally battered, lost the fight and suffered a broken orbital bone thanks to repeated stiff jabs from GSP. In the picture shown here, John Lakes, in his debut MMA fight at Hardrock 43, delivers a devastating right hand which was the turning point in the fight. This right hand was setup by establishing his range with a series of stiff jabs to his opponents face. By establishing your ability to strike your opponent effectively, you also open up options for takedowns as they try to fend off your strikes.
The main differences are…
- How to cover up and absorb punches to the head
The gloves that are used as a boxer are quite a bit bigger than the gloves used in MMA. This gives you a larger shield to hide behind when your opponent attacks. Also the impact the fighter receives is not transferred to the head as much with the large gloves of a boxer as it is with MMA gloves. So where as a boxer may cover up by putting his gloves directly in front of his face and letting the impact be absorbed by the gloves, a mixed martial artist needs to defend differently. The preferred cover up method for MMA is to use the forearms and elbows. For a straight punch the hands are placed palm down against the top of the forehead, which puts the forearms in the correct position in front of the face. For hooks, the palm of the hand is slid to the back of the head, which brings the entire outside of the arm into position to protect the side of the head.
- How to duck under punches
In a fight, a boxer will commonly duck under a punch by bending forward at the waist. In MMA your opponent is allowed to knee and/or kick you in the head. So if you duck a punch by bending at the waist while in a MMA fight, you could be asking for trouble. It is a much better idea to keep your body upright and bend your knees to duck under the attack. This will protect you from eating that unwanted knee to the face.
- Why you pinpoint your strikes
In both sports it is important to throw accurate strikes. If you hit a vulnerable area of an opponent’s body, you will cause more damage and that is the ultimate goal of throwing your strikes in both sports. But with the lighter MMA gloves on, there is one other reason to throw your punches accurately. They don’t offer your hand as much protection as a heavily padded glove does. If you miss your target and hit the forehead for example, it could result in a broken hand a lot easier than if you had larger gloves on. So when you throw your punches, aim.
- How hard of a punch you can take
A professional boxer wears gloves that are usually around 10 oz, but the gloves used in MMA are only 4 oz. This drastically changes how hard of a shot you can take without going down. Now this does not mean you should be passive and not engage the opponent out of fear of taking damage. It only makes the instruction all fighters are given “Protect yourself at all times” that much more important. Hit and don’t be hit.
Although there are many differences between how you would regularly box and how you would box in MMA, they do remain small differences. For the most part you can take the skills you learn as a boxer and directly apply them to mixed martial arts. There only needs to be a little tweaking.