clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ultimate Kickboxing Isn't The Future Of MMA

New, 10 comments

Kid Nate over at Bloodyelbow was asking a question that was posed by Josh Gross of Sports Illustrated:

Perhaps it's too soon to call it a trend, but the lack of submissions during UFC 96 is worth discussing. Saturday's card in Columbus marked the third event in the organization's last six that failed to produce a submission (tapout to choke or joint lock).

Prior to UFC 96, 94 and 92, the last time a UFC card finished submission-less was February 2007, at UFC 67 -- a span of 36 events. Over the course of 94 Zuffa-era UFC events, only eight have failed to yield some sort of submission. That three of those cards took place in the past four months is at a minimum noteworthy, at worst disconcerting.

Just once has the UFC come up short on submissions in consecutive events. Way back when, in 1996, UFC 9 and 10 saw plenty of finishes, just not a tap from a rear-naked choke, triangle, armbar or countless other ways to end a fight via lock or choke. Understandably, that was an entirely different era.

Basically, Gross was asking if bad kickboxing was the future of MMA?  He was pointing out that over their last few events there have been a relative small amount of submissions, and a large number of TKO/KO endings.  I  just noticed that Mike Fagan was able to put some numbers together as I was working on this to prove that submissions are still relevant.  Check it:


Since September 2000 (introduction of the Unified Rules)

845 fights
222 submissions

26.3% submission rate

In the past 3 years

545 fights
149 submissions

27.3% submission rate

In the past 2 years

386 fights
103 submissions

26.7% submission rate

In the past year

204 fights
47 submissions

23.1% submission rate

To add to that since Gross is using UFC 92 and UFC 94.  If you look at the last 10 events starting with UFC 89(110 fights) that the UFC has held, the fight endings look like this:

  • Fights(25) end in submissions 23% of the time
  • Fights(38) end in decisions 35% of the time
  • Fights(47) end in TKO/KO's 42% of the time

UFC 91 featured half the fights ending via submission, as did the TUF 8 Finale.  So I don't think it's fair to look at a couple of UFC events and equate that with MMA heading towards ultimate kickboxing.  I suppose it is worthy of discussion, but a lot of it depends on gameplanning and match ups in my opinion.

What say you?