The use of body shots in mma

Striking the Body in an MMA fight

Body shots are used in fighting not as knockout blows but as weakening shots meant to mainly wear the opponent down not take him out in one shot. In MMA fights today there seems to be a lack of body striking and more focus on getting the knockout blows. While this makes for some killer knockout blows to the head, the art of body shots seems to be dying out for some reason.

Body shots were famous for being used in American boxing matches to wear down an opponent in long fights. Shots to the body tend to lower the stamina of the opponent when used repeatedly or directed towards the ribs or sensitive organs. However in MMA the smaller lighter gloves are giving way to focusing on getting the knockout punch because it comes much easier.

Threat of a Clinch or Takedown

One reason people tend to back down form using body shots in MMA is because of the risk of getting caught in a clinch or getting taken down. This becomes a risk when trying to work the body because usually body shots are used in very close proximity. However to avoid this timing and using the correct body shots can result in avoiding a grappling scenario while also landing some damaging shots to the body

Where and When to Strike

a strong body shot counter in MMA

Body strikes can leave one open to attack either because you drop your hands when throwing a powerful strike or ill timed closing of distance for the strike. First, never drop your hands when throwing punches. Second Instead of using body shots as a leading strike, not very smart, when used as a part of a combination it lessens the chance of it being blatantly countered by the opponent allowing you to execute the strike effectively. Also when used as a counter this is a great way to catch the opponent off guard and land an uncontested shot.

Strike placement is also essential in landing effective body shots. One place to aim for is the liver, which is located on an opponent’s right side just just below their ribs towards their back. A direct liver shot releases the toxins that it previously removed from your blood causing pain and a freezing up of the muscles almost. In addition to the liver the three floating ribs on each side make good targets for right and left hooks. Lastly a straight shot to the sternum can also be an effective body shot but is seen much less often.


The usefulness of the body shot would differ from fighter to fighter but it should definitely be explored as a possible avenue for work. Body shots can be used more tactically to wear an opponent down to open him up for a bigger well placed shot to the head. However body shots are also more useful to more powerful strikers where less powerful strikers just don’t have the strength needed to damage the body in an effective manner. If used correctly though Body striking can change to outcome of a match by undermining the opponent’s efforts against you.

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