I noticed some differences between UFC and street fights in terms of tactics after watching some recordings of UFC matches, and I wonder why such differences exist (since those two were kind of similar).

  1. Feints. Many self defence related websites recommends not using feints in street fights and regards them as unnecessary moves that increases risk. But sometimes UFC fighters use them in matches for reasons I am unable to comprehend. So are feints actually realistic/useful in street fights?

  2. Variation in technique (while standing). There seems to be very little variation in technique during UFC fights while standing. Mostly jabs, punches to the left/right temple or abdomen. Is this the optimal technique for street fights? Or should one use a combination of punches, elbow strikes, palm strikes, brachial stuns, etc?

  3. Defense & Offense. The UFC fighters seems to exchange punches blindly a lot, and the results sometimes depend on who were throwing the most punches. Is it the same in street fights (they end significantly quicker)? Is it advisable to counter this type of continuous punches with sidestepping and counterattacking?

  4. Speed vs Strength. Some matches include both sides throwing (comparatively) slow but powerful punches. Are these punches more useful than punches that emphasize speed in street fights? Can one counter them with fast punches?

1 Answer 1


A street fight is nothing like a sports match

Most of the times, the fight is over before one party realised that there is one. Most probably, one party decides to burst and hits the other one, catching them completely unprepared. The situation of two people standing in distance and raising their fists is reaaaally rare. Also, MMA fights you get to see are between expert fighters knowing their opponent's strengths and weaknesses.

That being said, some comments on your points specifically:

  1. Feints are built on the premise that the opponent shows the appropriate reaction to the feinted move. Appropriate reactions are more often than not trained. Thus, if you cannot presume that your opponent is trained or have to consider whether they took any kind of substance (including alcohol), you cannot build upon a reaction your opponent is most likely not going to show.

  2. What you see in MMA striking is mostly not primarily punching for effect as such, it is measuring. Measuring distance, measuring reaction speed and defensive patterns. For that, you won't risk much, especially when you're up against a good fighter. Accordingly, you mostly see jabs and occasional hits that test (the change between) high (temple) and low (body) guard. What one should use heavily depends on the opponent. In MMA it is an expert, well-rounded fighter who will take advantage of every single opening. On the streets, it may be a boxer, or a wrestler, or a simple brawler, or someone who has never had a fight in their life. There is no ultimate set of techniques.

  3. You aren't really asking whether I should risk eating a punch that puts my lights out on the streets, are you? Those MMA fighters are mitigating most of the damage by subtle movement, all the time (or they are close to TKO). Not something you should try when you don't have extensive training, a medical staff behind you, and a ref protecting your health in case you mess up.

  4. Again, completely depends on who you are facing. In general, never rely on single hits as the chances are high they won't do as much damage as you imagine even if they hit. But everything depends on your own and your opponent's abilities. Initiative can be gained by speed or power.

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