Dirty boxing or infighting was made popular in the UFC by wrestlers such as Randy Couture and Jon Fitch. These Greco Roman wrestlers found they were effective in controlling the clinch and striking from close to set up take downs. Dirty boxing which involves controlling the neck and arms of an opponent, whilst throwing short hooks uppercuts, elbows and shoulder bumps has now become an integral part of MMA training.
The person who controls the clinch is also usually the person who can control where the fight takes place. A good clinch makes take downs easier as the fighter has already got in close and is controlling the opponent's head, shoulders or hips. A lot of time therefore needs to be spent developing clinching skills and good dirty boxing techniques.
The best tools for using in dirty boxing are close range punching and elbows. Short tight hooks and uppercuts are particularly effective especially when the other hand can be used to pull the head into the punch therefore increasing the impact. Elbows can be thrown in tight close spaces and tend to do a lot of damage as they are powerful and the tip of the elbow is extremely sharp. Elbows are therefore often used to try to cause cuts above or around the eyes. By the way all of this is called dirty boxing because the techniques described above are illegal in regular boxing but are allowed in MMA.
Dirty boxing needs to be practiced on the pads by having the coach or pad holder clinch and position the pads for close range strikes. This helps the fighter learn how to develop power in a short distance whilst maintaining good defensive wrestling.
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