The UFC is the worlds largest mixed martial arts organization, and is gaining fans all the time, however the different rules and terminologies used do to with the sport aren’t always clear to new fans. Fortunately for the most part the UFC tries to cater to newer fans and tends to explain many of the terms that they use, although there are still some basic things which every new fan should know.
Some of the basic terms that the commentators might use when referring to different fighters abilities are often abbreviated. Stand up is all forms of striking, meaning punches, kicks, elbows and knees. Wrestling usually refers to a fighters grappling ability, usually used to get their opponent to the ground. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so often used for all kinds of submission fighters, and is basically a form of martial art focused on submitting an opponent from the bottom position on the ground. Ground and pound is the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, getting on top of them and then punching them into submission.
Inside the cage or octagon, there are certain different techniques that are not allowed to be used by fighters. These include eye gouging, head butting, small joint manipulation (breaking fingers toes etc), fish hooking (ripping an opponents mouth from the side with inserted fingers) and also striking a downed opponent to the head. Many Japanese promotions tend to allow soccer kicks and stomps to a downed opponent, but do not tend to allow elbows to be used on the ground. The more commonly used rules in the United States, and by the UFC are the opposite of this.
Basically the fighters in the UFC are sorted into five different weight classes, heavyweight (205-265 lbs), light heavyweight (205 lbs), middleweight (185 lbs), welterweight (170 lbs) and lightweight (155 lbs). There are other weight class used by other promotions, such as the Zuffa owned WEC, although the UFC only uses these five. The fighters are required to be at these weights for the weigh in, which usually happens the day before the fight itself. At the actual time of the fight however, many fighters will be a lot heavier than this weight, as many tend to bulk up for extra strength.
Most fights are comprised of three five minute rounds, with a break in between rounds, although championship bouts are comprised of five rounds instead of three when a title is at stake. The titles are held by the best fighter in each weight division, and are the eventual goal of all the fighters in each division. Some fighters are referred to as gatekeepers by the commentating team. These are basically fighters below the level of the very best fighters, but above most of the rest. Which means that they are often used as a test for up and coming fighters, who often have to beat them to get a title shot.
There are several different ways to win a fight, which are regarded as more of less prestigious by the fighters and fans. The most popular way to win a fight, and something that the fans always like to see is for the fight to end via a knockout. Clean knockouts are often spectacular, and don’t happen as often as they might, due to the fact that often referees step in if a fighter is taking too much punishment.
The second way to wins a fight is via technical knockout, which is basically when the referee has to step in and stop a fight due to one fighter getting beaten too badly and not mounting any offence of their own. Often a fighter who has been taken down and mounted will fall prey to this loss method, as getting a clean knockout in this position is difficult. Although defending punishment is also very tricky meaning the referee often has to step in and stop the fight.
The third way to win a fight is due to submission from one fighter, which can be either due to an accumulation of damage being done to then, an injury of a submission move. If a fighter is being beaten very badly, they will occasionally tap out to stop receiving punishment if they cannot improve their position. Similarly if a fighter injures themselves and cannot continue they might tap out also if the referee doesn’t stop the fight. This is most common in injuries which might not be apparent such as broken ribs.
Submission moves are basically the isolation and hyper extension of a limb or joint, meaning that the opponent is forced to submit or risk having their bone broken. Also falling under the category of submissions are chokes, which either stop a fighter from breathing or stop the blood flow to the head. Both of these will eventually cause a fighter to pass out if they do not tap, which also means that they have lose the fight.
The last method of winning a fight is for the fight to last the duration and to go to the scorecards, which are scored the same as boxing using a 10 point must system. This basically means that the winner of the round is given 10 points, and that the loser is given 9 points. If the round has been particularly one sided, or a knockdown has occurred, then 8 points is sometimes awarded instead of 9. The fighter with the most point sat the end of the fight is the winner, and if al three judges agree, then the fight is a unanimous decision. If the judges disagree but there is a majority of two to one, then the result is called a split decision.
Lastly of the fight is scored evenly, then the result is a draw, which often results in a rematch in most cases, Similarly if the fight is stopped on a cut, then the result is a no contest, and again, a rematch is usually made. Often decisions are very speculative, and fighters tend to try not to let a fight get to a decision if they can help it, as there are often controversial scores on the part of the judges.