Suppose my opponent is constantly guarding his face during an mma fight and let's say that it is easy for him to block mid body punches and can easily evade low kicks.

What options do I have to land a knock out strike?

Some of my options would be to land hooks and uppercuts, but those punches are very risky since I need to be very close to him to hit him, making me vulnerable for counter attacks if I miss.

Also I don't believe in grappling in general (perhaps you can change my mind) since I think that going for a grapple will make me again vulnerable for attacks.

So what other options do I have?

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    Are you seriously asking what options you do have against an obviously more skilled fighter without questioning or willing to improve your own skillset? Grappling or combinations are working great...if you trained them well. How is this question anything but a rant that you are not good enough, ie. where the only valid answer is "train more and get better"? Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 10:39
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    This reminds me of "how do you defend yourself from a ninja silently dropping out of a tree onto your back with a sword at night" questions I got from 9-year-olds when teaching karate. If you refuse to wrestle, can't kick, and don't want to punch, well yeah, I guess you lose! If you're interested in winning, maybe ask yourself why you've pre-emptively eliminated all your options. Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 11:08
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    You probably did not understand my question, I didn't say he is a better fighter, all a said is he is constantly having his arms covering his face so I can't get him, how do I break his defense? Also I never said I can't punch or can't wrestle I said it would be a bad idea to perform specific moves because they would probably never work in my opinion, if anyone thinks they would work, please explain how and why. There is no need to mock me or call a 9-year old, if you don't like the question you can skip it.
    – user11304
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 12:37
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    There's really no answer here except "learn to strike and wrestle" because the constraints you've put are ridiculous. How is he guarding both his face and the side of his head (with small gloves) while also blocking body punches and evading low kicks? How is he doing all that while also countering attempts to clinch or shoot? Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 17:22
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    What Dave said. If this guy is able to fend your attacks off as you describe it is a given he is more skilled than you. Nobody can block everything all at once (front head, side head, body, legs), so the inability to come up with a fast and threatening enough combination to open up opportunities plus the inability to use grappling (which is not a question of belief, it just works), plus fearing counters so much that you do not even want to use combinations at all but only jabs and check-kicks....this all screams "I do lack the skills to do anything which is even remotely threatening to him". Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


Let's analyze situation:

  • "constantly guarding his face" + "block mid punches" - it seems, that your opponent has good reaction and definitely would block single punches/middles.
  • "can easily evade low-kicks" - that is a sign of good "leg performance" - your opponent is light on his legs, not grounded.

So, what we can assume:

  • your opponent is more skilled, than you
  • he/she is very light on his legs, not grounded
  • he/she prefers distant combat

What you can do for complicating your opponent's live?

He/she prefers distant combat => cut the distance (that would also remove his/her bonus from being light on legs). Of course, that may be expensive, but that is the only way I see to change the situation. Try to cut angles, to make your opponent stand near the wall, preventing him from stepping back. Don't surrender/step back (it's important!) - make your opponent think, that he may break his knuckles hitting your head.

And then, after cutting the distance - go in exchange with series of punches. Changing levels, mixing with knees, elbows, clinching. Of course, you would definitely accept serious damage, but you have a chance to "outpunch" your opponent.

That is a costy way(so you should weigh the risks!), but as long as you are loosing in long-range strikes, I don't see any other.

This is not a silver-bullet in any way. Your opponent definitely may not allow you to close the distance, bring you a concussion with straigt punches (as long as you are approaching, these ones would be even harder, than normal) or knees. But you have a chance.

And also, while cutting the distance, you are gaining initiative. Judges usually like it.)


Let's assume, that you've tried all, and not succeeded. Your opponent not allowing you to trap him in a corner, keeping you at a distance with straight punches/kicks, and you're finally tired. Then you should wait for a small handicap, a small slack. Catch it and use.

For example, your opponent may put down his left hand when doing a straight right (that's a common, usual mistake, which is rather widespread). Eat some such punches to make him sure in its dominance, and then throw a sudden right cross (in this particular example). Of course, you are likely to eat that straight right, but suddence you use may be decisive.

It's even more risky way - because, along with eating punches, you are loosing initiative and may be punished by judge for a passive fighting.

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