This post is part of a series of snapshots taken from the analyses of what is likely the only ever census of MMA fights (enuMMA17). Please see the table of contents for an up to date list of available instalments.
Vulnerable Body Parts
We already know that not all submissions are created equal. Largely due to human anatomy. Certain targets are easier to acquire & / or easier to lock & lever e.g. arms are easier to catch & elbows are easier to lever than knees hence Armbars are 19x more common than Kneebars. Why isn't it Armbar & Legbar (or even Elbowbar & Kneebar)? Standardising nomenclature is such a difficult task...
fig 01: Submission Targets (1993 - 2017)
Again we have confirmation rather than anything really new. The neck is by far the most vulnerable body part. Wind & Blood Chokes (Neck Cranks are aggregated in 'spine'), make up 2/3 of all successful subs in MMA.
Breaking the Parts Down by Attack Type
As noted above, with the neck body parts can be attacked in multiple ways. We've broken the major ones down to gain more insight.
fig 02: Neck by Attack Type
Maybe a surprise? We know that, in the UFC at least, the Guillotine Choke is the most attempted submission but only finished 14% of the time. By the same token the Rear Naked Choke is the 2nd most attempted sub & has the highest success rate at 41%. Why? Control. Also blood chokes elicit far less panic than wind chokes do...
fig 03: Shoulder by Attack Type
Shoulder attacks are the 3rd most common attack, but only finished 6% of the time. Keylocks (external rotation) are available from fewer positions than Kimuras (internal).
fig 04: Knee by Attack Type
The dominance of knee rotations over straight (hyperextension) knee attacks is easily explained by the combination of easier aquisition of an ankle & the lack of large muscles to counteract the twist.
In our next snapshot we'll shift our focus to the all important Fight Name.