5 Ways To Finish Your Opponent in MMA and Combat

Brandon Richey, B.S., CSCS

When it comes to fighting and combat there are three elements that are always on the side of a winning fighter. The element of conditioning, the element of technique, and the element of unpredictability. It is this third element of unpredictability that I want to take a look at today.

Winning fighters often catch their opponents off guard in a split second by finding an opening for a fight winning strike or submission. The key to pulling this off requires sound confidence in technique, speed, and skill, but also thrives in the set up of the movement right before its execution. This is how some fighters tend to catch opponents off guard and get them falling back on their heels so that they can finish them off.

Here are 5 different moves that may help you and are valuable in setting up and executing in order to finish off your opponent…

1. Uchi Mata

The Uchi Mata is a hell of a Judo throw that can bring an opponent off his or her feet quickly and aggressively. If executed this throw can make the highlight reel in a hurry as it has quite a few times in MMA with big names such as George St. Pierre.

This technique is not only good in the ring, but outside the ring it can be utilized to take out a threat on the streets with speed and precision. The Uchi Mata is a bit unorthodox, but this hip toss has proven to be effective in MMA against fighters that even know it’s coming which proves to the significance of its effectiveness.

The Uchi Mata is referred to in English as the inner thigh throw.

It is particularly excellent for punishing an over aggressive opponent who is intent on charging in on you during a fight, or combat scenario. If the Uchi Mata is properly executed it can be done by leveraging the momentum of the aggressor against them in order to neutralize them in a hurry. Along with technique mobile hips and powerful core strength will add to the execution of the Uchi Mata.

2. Elbows

Elbow strikes are extremely effective and have been proven to be devastating for years in the art of Muay Thai. Even though this is the case many fighters tend to fall into the usual form of striking involving punches. Punches are great, but with elbows we can involve a bit of that much needed element of unpredictability.

During moments of stand up striking, clinch, or during ground and pound scenarios the elbow can be the absolute finisher when we’re talking about putting an end to a fight.

In Muay Thai, elbow striking is a complete striking method in and of itself being that elbows can be thrown in combination just as well…if not better than punches.

When in stand up striking scenarios up close strikes such as cross elbows, overhead elbows, upper-cut elbows, and even spinning elbows can be thrown to neutralize an opponent. Having mobile shoulders and great coordination will take elbow strikes to a whole new level.

When things get up close and personal, or taken to the ground then elbows are most effective as seen with the likes of Brock Lesnar landing some thundering elbows on Randy “The Natural” Couture. Granted Lesnar is a powerful individual, but regardless the move can be just as effective in any other weight class when applied.

3. Rubber Guard

In most any MMA, or combat fighting scenario none of us want to end up on the ground on our backs to be subject to a ground and pound attack unless we’re comfortable being there in such a situation. If anyone is comfortable in such a predicament it is our skillful Jiu Jitsu friends who can turn this seemingly dire situation into an asset for themselves in a hurry.

If such a situation arises where we’re on our backs then the rubber guard is a great submission to pull to once again capitalize on that element of unpredictability.

This move is a version of the open guard where the bottom man wraps his leg around the top fighter’s neck and grabs his foot with his opposite hand to pull and pin the top fighter down by breaking the top fighter’s posture.

This in turn allows the bottom man to establish an offense of close striking and the ability to maneuver and wear down the top man in order to finish him off. The rubber guard is a truly valuable skill to have in order to finish an opponent with an element of surprise. Having strong mobile hips is also a necessity when performing this move.

4. Knee Strikes

Mostly adopted from Muay Thai, the art of knee striking has been perfected to produce some of the most devastating results. In MMA the knee strike has been said to be the most powerful strike in all of fighting in terms of producing the greatest amount of force in terms of pounds per square inch.

Knee strikes can be applied a number of different ways whether it’s up close and personal, or from a flying knee to quickly catch an opponent off guard and level him or her almost immediately.

The power of delivering knees comes from all the force that is generated through the hips. Being able to push the hips forward while extending, or even rotating at the hips the same as a kick allows the blunt force to produce an immediate outcome involving a KO if it is accurately delivered.

Knees can also be done from the clinch where you can forcefully pull your opponent towards you by their head while simultaneously extending your hips to deliver a powerful knee to their body and midsection. This pull/push scenario drastically enhances force production for the strike to make it more devastating to the opponent.

In addition to honing knee striking technique the development of speed, power, and hip mobility will take your knee strikes to a whole new level.

5. The Armbar

I know it’s not what you might think in terms of being number 1 on the list, but the armbar is always a winner when it’s applied with precision and confidence. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a fight where there is a fighter that has achieved the mount position and the guy on the ground is flailing his arms around like crazy preventing the top guy from delivering any finishing strikes

This is where the top fighter has the perfect opportunity to grab an arm and transition into the armbar submission. This move can be a tremendous finisher that can be pulled off a number of different ways when in grappling scenarios. Some of the greatest fighters in UFC have utilized this technique to pull off some huge wins.

Royce Gracie himself proved that this submission can be used time and time again against opponents that are bigger, faster, and stronger on a regular basis. Of course, being well-practiced in its execution is the key, but also working to enhance grip, arm, and lat strength when enable you to apply the armbar with significant force to guarantee a finish every single time.

I hope you enjoyed today’s article.

Brandon Richey, Brandon Richey Fitness

Do you have your own preference for finishing off an opponent?

If so take a moment and post up your Top 5 below in the comments—and we’ll send you FREE SGPT STICKERS!





Want to up your own game?

Get SEALGrinderPT’s 90 Day MMA Strength And Conditioning Program!

90-Day Strength and Conditioning Program for MMA athletes was developed by Brandon Richey of Brandon Richey Fitness for SEALGrinderPT. This amazing program is also perfect for anyone training in kickboxing, Muay Thai, Jujitsu, combat fighting—or anyone wanting a high-level training program!

Click on the banner below and GET STARTED!

This 90 Day Program will drastically improve your performance 8 weeks into it…Guaranteed!

QUESTION: Coach, I’m doing alright with my arm strength for my pullups but my hands get really tired. Do you have any ways I could make them stronger?

ANSWER: While having good upper body strength is needed for pull-ups, your hand strength is almost more important because you can only go as long as they’ll let you. We’ve put together an article full of great tips about how you can improve your grip strength.



QUESTION: Hi Coach–I really want to be a Navy SEAL and someone told me about your site and I’ve been trying the workouts you post every day. But nobody even my family thinks I can make it. It’s getting hard to keep thinking I can. Do you have any tips to keep me going to that goal?

ANSWER: A lot of people didn’t think I could make it through BUDs either and I didn’t the first time I went through and they sure didn’t think I’d make it the second time but I did. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks you can do. It comes down to what you believe you can do.

Check out my article here that also has a link to an audio called Sharpening the Sword. Also check out this article, Navy SEAL BUDs PST Tips and how I made it through Hell Week twice. Always feel free to hit me up with any training questions you have.

Seal Fit Stack

SGPT Upcoming Events

Personal Online Coaching

Work 1-on-1
with SEAL Grinder's Brad McLeod
To Achieve Your Goals

pic of brad

Personal fitness training from Brad McLeod, Navy Seal and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. Delivered online, directly to you.

"I recommend Brad to anyone that seriously wants to go to BUDs or anything else in life... try these workouts. Hooyah!" - Chris H.

learn more button