The striking game in mixed martial arts is as varied as it gets. The MMA world pulls techniques from a variety of different styles. Fighters blend traditional boxing with kickboxing, Muay Thai, and numerous other traditional martial arts. But many of the best techniques are oftentimes the most basic ones; the uppercut is a prime example of just that.

The uppercut is a close range power punch that can be thrown with either hand to both the head and the body. The punch is thrown from the waist upward into an opponent’s chin or solar plexus. When executed properly, the uppercut can be a fight-changing strike.

There are some drawbacks to the uppercut though as fighters have to drop their guard and shift their body, leaving them exposed to counter strikes. With any power move in MMA though, it’s all about the risk vs. reward of that technique; essentially is the juice worth the squeeze.

While there are some fighters who utilize the lead uppercut, MMA fighters as a whole, generally look to use the uppercut in close range to provide maximum damage to their opponents.

For fighters with a strong wrestling background, the uppercut is an effective and powerful strike to use from the clinch. There are two essential reasons why the uppercut is a perfect strike for the clinch; control and distance.

The clinch and, more specifically, the single collar tie is a dominating position in the clinch game as a fighter has full control of their opponent’s head. This allows the dominant fighter the luxury of focusing purely on the attack itself.

In addition, the uppercut is a key, “dirty boxing” technique used in short distances. When a fighter is in the clinch, they are too close to their opponent to throw straight punches. But, because of the precise direction of the uppercut, it’s tailor made for close quarter combat.

Outside of the clinch, throwing the uppercut can be a little more dangerous as a fighter has to drop their guard. When the uppercut is setup properly, it can be a fight-stopper; just ask Roy Nelson.

Often when straight punches are thrown, fighters are taught to raise their hands and slightly duck their heads. While this is a perfect way to defend a straight punch without head movement, it opens fighters up to a vicious uppercut.

Just click below to see  how devastating an uppercut can be.


About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report,, and RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.