why dont they hit the stomach on the mma fights

why dont they hit the stomach on the mma fights

Why Don’t They Hit the Stomach in MMA Fights?

When watching MMA fights, one might wonder why fighters rarely target their opponent’s stomach. This article aims to explore the reasons behind this strategic choice from various perspectives.

1. Protective Measures

MMA fighters wear protective gear, including gloves and abdominal guards, which reduce the impact of strikes to the stomach. These measures provide some level of protection, making it less effective to target the stomach.

Furthermore, fighters often tense their abdominal muscles to brace for impact, further minimizing the potential damage.

2. Vulnerability

The stomach is a vulnerable area, but it is also a relatively small target compared to other areas like the head or ribs. Targeting these larger areas offers a higher chance of causing significant damage or securing a knockout.

Moreover, the stomach is located in the center of the body, making it more challenging to reach without exposing oneself to counterattacks.

why dont they hit the stomach on the mma fights

3. Defensive Strategies

MMA fighters employ various defensive strategies, such as keeping their elbows tucked in and maintaining a low center of gravity. These techniques make it difficult for opponents to land effective strikes to the stomach.

Fighters also utilize footwork and head movement to evade strikes, further reducing the likelihood of getting hit in the stomach.

4. Risk-Reward Ratio

Striking the stomach may not yield significant rewards compared to targeting other areas. The stomach can absorb more punishment compared to vital organs, making it less likely to result in a quick knockout or submission.

Additionally, focusing on strikes to the head or body can lead to more immediate and decisive results, increasing the chances of victory.

5. Scoring Criteria

MMA fights are scored based on effective striking, grappling, and octagon control. While strikes to the stomach can cause discomfort and hinder an opponent’s movement, they may not score as highly as strikes to the head or more visible areas.

Fighters often prioritize techniques that are more likely to impress the judges and secure a win.

6. Conditioning and Endurance

Targeting the stomach may not yield immediate results, especially in fighters with exceptional conditioning and endurance. The stomach muscles can withstand a significant amount of punishment, allowing fighters to continue competing despite absorbing strikes in that area.

By focusing on other areas, fighters may aim to exhaust their opponents or exploit weaknesses in their defense, ultimately leading to a more favorable outcome.

7. Strategic Game Plans

MMA fighters often enter fights with strategic game plans designed to exploit their opponents’ weaknesses. These plans typically involve targeting specific areas, such as the head or limbs, which offer higher chances of securing a victory.

Strategically avoiding the stomach may be a part of a fighter’s overall game plan, aiming to maximize their chances of success.

8. Rule Restrictions

MMA has certain rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of fighters. Strikes to the back of the head, groin, and spine are prohibited, but there are no specific rules against striking the stomach.

However, fighters may avoid targeting the stomach to maintain a sense of sportsmanship and avoid causing unnecessary harm.

9. Skill and Technique

Effective strikes to the stomach require a high level of skill and technique. Landing powerful and precise strikes to this area can be challenging, especially when compared to targeting larger and more accessible areas.

Fighters may choose techniques that offer a higher success rate, rather than risking ineffective strikes to the stomach.

10. Evolution of MMA

MMA has evolved over time, with fighters constantly adapting and developing new strategies. The focus on striking techniques has shifted towards more impactful areas, such as the head and body, which offer higher chances of finishing a fight.

As the sport evolves, fighters continue to refine their techniques, favoring areas that have proven to be more effective in securing victories.


While the stomach remains a vulnerable area, MMA fighters often choose to target other areas during fights. Protective measures, vulnerability, defensive strategies, risk-reward ratios, scoring criteria, conditioning, strategic game plans, rule restrictions, skill, technique, and the evolution of MMA all contribute to this strategic decision. Understanding these factors provides insight into the complex dynamics of MMA fights.

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