Picture from MMA Convert.
In MMA, sometimes it just takes one punch to win the fight. Hit the opponent flush on the right spot on the chin or temple and you will see a limb body lying on the ground due to your effective punching. This article is to help you recognize the various types of punches commonly used in MMA to help you develop a good repertoire of punches in your training and possibly your next fight (though you should know all of these before you enter your first fight). And me being me, I enjoy being more technical about most things. That's why I am writing this as well.
This consists of the Jab and the Cross. If done correctly, these two punches are really effective in causing physical damage to your opponent's face. They may only seem like straight punches but anything traveling from point A to point B in the shortest distance (a straight line) has a faster speed and hence more power behind it.
The effect from straight punches is similar to concussions when delivered correctly and forcefully. The straight punch hits the skull and causes the skull and in turn the brain inside to move back and forth suddenly hitting the walls of the skull which is one of the mechanisms for a concussion. Do not underestimate this because if hit flushed and done often enough, it is possible to knock someone out even with a jab, just like how Anderson Silva did to Forrest Griffin.
Another effect of the straight punch is to create cuts on your opponent. The twisting of the fist when throwing the punch causes a rotational force when coming in contact with the skin of the face. The leather from the gloves clings to the skin and with the rotational torque, causes the skin to rip which causes the cuts you normally see on the faces of the fighters.
The hooks are looping punches in the horizontal direction meant to hit the opponent flush on the jaw or temple. These punches, if executed with technique and timing, can also finish off the fight instantaneously due to its effectiveness. The movement for the hook is initiated with the driving of the elbows outwards and then inwards followed by the forearm. It would seem as though you are looking to throw your elbow but halfway through you extend your arm to finish the punch.
A couple of questions usually arise from the hook. One of which is whether to punch with the knuckles vertical or horizontal? Personally this is a matter of choice on the fighter/boxer's part. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
With knuckles vertical, you would create more surface area at the point of impact, making the punch more effective. It would also allow you to finish your follow-through of the punch with your body instead of swinging just your arm across. It also keeps the shoulder in a more compact position upon impact. However, it does not allow you to fully extend your arm, making it a short-range punch which you need to get into the pocket for.
The uppercuts are the punches that come up from the bottom to catch the opponent in between the forearms when blocking. When boxing or striking, the blocks prevent much damage from the straight punches or hooks. But to break down the defence, an uppercut could be useful to go from the bottom and in between the arms. Moreover, the torque from the uppercut comes from a diagonal plane of motion which involves horizontal and vertical force, making the uppercut a more powerful punch.
To perform the uppercut effectively, ensure that the starting point of the punch always comes from your boxing/striking stance. There is a tendency for you to drop your hands first and initiate the movement of the uppercut from the bottom. Think of it as a throw. If you do not have a backswing or you cut it short, you lose power in the throw and can't cover as much distance. So in an uppercut, if you let your hands drop then initiate the punch, you cant deliver as much force as actively swinging your fist downward in a circular motion before reversing the movement.
So those are my tips on performing the basic strikes or punches in MMA training. Even if you do a MMA fitness class or boxing class, it would be beneficial to pick up some of these tips. Better technique = efficiency = lower risk of injury = longer period of participation = health benefits. As simple as that.
Just for fun, Bisping being knocked out by Henderson in motion. Enjoy.
Stay Strong and Keep Punching,
The Training Geek