Bellator MMA: Fighting Styles Explained

Bellator MMA combines 7 different mixed martial arts fighting styles, including Wrestling, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Judo, Karate, and Taekwondo.

About the sport of mixed martial arts

The sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) combines various combat sports and Olympic disciplines including Muay Thai, boxing, judo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. The objective is to secure a win over your opponent. A bout can finish in three ways: via TKO/KO, submission or judges’ decision.

Bouts are three, five-minute rounds, with championship and Main Event bouts lasting five, five-minute rounds. As soon as the referee deems that one fighter has won the contest – regardless of which round it is in – the bout is ended.

MMA Fighting Styles Explained


Universally renowned as one of the most important disciplines in MMA, many of the finest Bellator fighters are masters of wrestling. Strong wrestlers are experts in bringing the fight to the ground and setting up a strong top position which is crucial as it allows a fighter to take total control of a fight. Highly skilled wrestlers can hold their rivals on the ground for the entire fight with ease allowing them to dominate against even the most talented grapplers.


Boxing is widely used through MMA because it provides an excellent striking base for competitors. Aside from a strong base several aspects of Boxing are extremely valuable in the cage including footwork, combinations, and defensive techniques such as slips and head movement. A skilled boxer is always a threat because they have the ability to throw powerful punches and land devastating momentum-changing blows from any range. Boxers are at their most dangerous when they can transition from defence to offense with a perfectly timed counter punch.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A grappling martial art that is the most useful tool you can use when the fight goes to the ground, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has brought attention to the importance of ground fighting and is the perfect discipline to apply when facing an opponent bigger than you. Once the fight hits the ground, BJJ fighters use various chokeholds and joint locks to submit their opponents.

Muay Thai

A combination of Thai boxing and kickboxing, Muay Thai is widely recognised as the foundation for striking in MMA. Also known as the “art of eight limbs”, Muay Thai teaches fighters how to use all limbs to deliver powerful strikes. This includes elbows, knees, fists, and shins offering a wide range of weapons for a fighter to deliver significant damage to an opponent. The vast array of tricks and techniques in Muay Thai make it a very difficult discipline to defend against.


Another grappling based martial art, Judokas are masters of takedown techniques such as throws or trips which are extremely useful in the cage. While Judo on its own is not particularly common in modern MMA fighters it can be highly effective when used in combination with striking styles from other disciplines.


Karate has proven to be effective in MMA because it is one of the core foundations of kickboxing and specialises in, straight and powerful striking techniques. Karate isn’t traditionally taught in a competitive environment, so masters of the art are few and far between in the sport. However, the unpredictability and sheer force of the strikes in Karate mean practitioners have the ability to produce stunning stoppages out of nowhere.


Similarly, to Judo and Karate, Taekwondo is a much less common fighting style in MMA but still an effective tool for fighters to have. The incredible range of kicking techniques along with the fact it teaches fighters to attack from both sides mean it has proven an excellent addition to the locker of many high-profile fighters.

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