Importance of Using the Right MMA Guards

If you are not already familiar with the term MMA guard, just know that it is a technique used by one combatant in an MMA fight to get an advantage over the other. Often at times watching the MMA match, you must have witnessed two fighters grappling, where the bottom one has his leg around the other at the top to restrict his movements and to block his strikes. And, if that’s your first experience of watching an MMA match, you would think that the top combatant is dominant in this position but in fact the opposite is true.  

Since the guard is an advantageous position for the bottom combatant as it allows him to attack with different joint locks as well as various chokeholds. Therefore, a participant on the top strives to transition into a better position by making movements or using different muscles of the body. Such effort by the top combatant is known as passing the guard.

Now we are quite familiar with what Guard in MMA means, so let’s concentrate on discussing the importance of using the right one in a fight. Importantly, we are assuming you as an MMA enthusiast or someone who wants to expand his knowledge of this sport. Hence, this 5-minute read may very well bulk your mind with different MMA guards and the effectiveness plus importance of each of them.   

Just as you must know being an MMA combatant that it is imperative to have the skill of using the right MMA guard since that, in the end, can make you force your opponent to submission and hence leading you to victory.  Importantly, don’t forget to necessarily safeguard yourself with the right MMA protective gear before getting into the ring.

That being said, let’s have a look at the different MMA guards and which one would be more appropriate for you to go with.

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  1. Pulling Guard
Image Source: Jits Magazine

This is where a combatant transitions into a guard position directly from standing. The pulling guard masters have planned to get into pull guard as soon as the fixture begins, since it may prove to be the best submission move in the early part of the match. Nevertheless, it can cause a serious injury to you or your opponent, as well as the opponent, may get an advantage over you, in case you failed to implement it properly.  Hence, this is one of the very important MMA guards, you would want to invest your time in practicing it properly. All you need for applying pull guard is to place your foot on the opponent’s hips and sit down with pulling your opponent closer from the collar and sleeve.

  • Closed Guard
Image Source: howtheyplay

This is the typical guard position as we commonly see not only in MMA but other combat sports as well, such as wrestling and more. Here you are required to wrap your legs around the back of your opponent and prevent him to stand up or move away. This guard is most commonly applied in the latter part of the contestant, where both the contestants are slightly exhausted and the initiator intends to take the other to submission with this technique. 

  • Open Guard
Image Source: BJJ Fanatics

This is primarily used to perform joint locks and chokeholds, where legs are used to move the opponent and for creating leverage. The drawback of this technique is that with this one, you allow your opponent to stand up, and hence he’ll try to pass the guard. So, use this one with caution!

  • Butterfly Guard
Image source: Grapplearts

This is where the legs of you being the initiator of the butterfly guard are hooked with the opponent’s ankles between his legs and the inside of his thighs. This position, in particular, will allow you to elevate and off-balance the opponent and hence it is useful for preventing damage or for letting transition to the other dominant position.

  • X-guard
Image source: Grapplearts

It is a type of open guard where one combatant is on his feet while the other entangles his legs in pursuit of creating opportunities for powerful sweeps.  Here also the bottom combatant is in an advantageous position but the challenge is to prevent the other from attacking with soccer kicks and stomps.

  • Spider Guard
Image source: Pinterest

This one comprises several positions all of which involve controlling the opponent’s arms by using soles of the feet. It is very effective when sleeves of the opponent can be grabbed. Used primarily for joint locks and chokeholds.

  • Rubber Guard
Image Source: Watchbjj

It is a technique to keep the opponent down in your guard using a leg, while your arm is free to work on submissions, sweeps, or strike at the opponent’s head that is trapped.


So now we have listed some of the important MMA guards for you to practice and get the advantage over your opponent in an MMA fight. If you think, we have missed including something about the right MMA guards, use the comment box below to let us know about it. 


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