When you want raw action and feats of athleticism, fighting sports are sure to give you your fix. MMA and boxing are incredibly brutal, bringing out the highest-level performance in every athlete who steps into the ring. However, if you’re going to commit to watching these matches, you should know what differentiates them. While MMA and boxing are similar, there are several key differences to understand if you want to enjoy either of them fully. Here are some points to remember.
Allowed Fighting Equipment
One of the first significant differences between the two sports is the type of equipment the fighters use. While both require their fighters to use athletic cups and mouthpieces for protection, they also need to wear head protection at the amateur level.
MMA gloves are slightly different, though, as they’re often fingerless and sleeker than thick boxing gloves. MMA fighters also have a wider range of shorts they can choose to wear, including Muay Thai shorts or spandex. In contrast, boxers must wear standard uniforms that are sometimes customized to showcase sponsors.
The Variants of Fighting
Boxing and MMA also differ in the variants of fighting each person can legally use in the ring. Boxers are only allowed to use strikes to the head or upper body. MMA athletes, on the other hand, can use punches, kicks, and takedowns against their opponents. Because of this, MMA can be a bit more exciting to watch. Though, boxing is still incredibly riveting and rooted in strength, striking form, and skill.
Fighting Rules and Regulations
Other key differences between MMA and boxing matches include the rules that fighters must follow. Boxing athletes can strike their opponent along the front of the body and above the belt. They can even land punches to the head, but it must be a punch, not a headbutt.
MMA fighters have a bit more variation. They can hit along the head, body, and legs so long as they use legal moves. They also aren’t allowed hits to the groin area, the back of the head, or the spine.
Scoring and Winning a Match
How fighters win a match is slightly different as well. While both matches consist of several rounds and scoring by judges, the numbers can vary. For instance, boxing matches can be up to 12 three-minute rounds and allow for count outs should a fighter fall to the mat. MMA fights are five five-minute rounds and don’t have a count-out rule. Instead, the referee watches to see if a fighter can continue, and they’ll call the match there if they can't.
Whether you’re just getting into professional fighting or have been watching for years, it’s always good to know more about the sport. At Vertical23, we provide premium MMA picks and boxing picks that use up-to-date research and athlete statistics. This way, you can follow the action, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned fan.