Mixed martial arts can be a demanding task to master. It requires that you mix the styles up to have an edge in the sport.

You need to demonstrate athleticism as you have a variety of skills to master. Diversity, adaptability, and flexibility is the key to winning the matches.

As such, speed, endurance, agility, strength, and combative discipline are some of the factors that are handy. In this article, we discuss two closely related sports, Sambo and MMA. Keep reading to learn their differences.


Sambo is an abbreviation for ‘’SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya”, a Russian word for self-defense with no weapons.

Sambo, a combat sport and a form of martial art, was established in the 1920s by the Soviet Red Army with the idea of enriching their hand–to–hand combat.

It draws heavily from other martial arts, the likes of Judo, Wrestling, and Jiujitsu. As such, Sambo can be refined as a discipline of mixed martial arts since it features important techniques incorporated in all MMA disciplines.

Sambo features a variety of moves covering three main areas, takedowns, ground control, and leg locks.

Even so, its emphasis is on groundwork and combat strengthening. Learning Sambo acquaints you with the foundation of other Mixed Martial Arts.

As such, it offers easy transitioning to other disciplines.

Modern Sambo is categorized into Sports and Combat Sambo. Sport sambo entails grappling only and features a variety of throws, submissions, and takedowns.

However, the set rules forbid choke holds during competitions.

For Combat Sambo, it encompasses striking, punches, knees, and kicks. Moreover, it incorporates grappling, throws, and holds, similar to Sport Sambo.

It is for this inclusion that Combat Sambo is taken to resemble MMA.


Mixed martial arts is a complete art with its roots in Greco-Roman wrestling. It is a full-contact combat sport encompassing a variety of fighting styles featuring combat techniques for competitions.

These fighting styles include; Boxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, Kung Fu, Wrestling, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo.

The ruleset allows the use of striking and grappling techniques, and martial artists from different disciplines of martial arts can compete under the set unified rules.

MMA fights take place in 20-30 square feet octagons or cages. MMA rules may differ depending 9on the governing fighting organization and the level of completion.

However, one basic rule that is constant is that the fighters must compete within their weight class.

Even though MMA allows fighters to use an array of techniques to subdue their opponents, the governing body, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has worked to neutralize the brutality that the sport was known for decades.

The rules forbid fighters from employing some tactics, such as; strikes to the back of the head, headbutts, eye pokes and gouges, biting, and even groin attacks.

Initially, the fight would only end when a fighter conceded defeat or was rendered unconscious.


  • Sambo has its origin in Russia and dates back to the early 1920s. Mixed martial arts has its origin in Greece and Rome and was popularized during the Greco roman era.
  • Sambo draws heavily from Judo, Wrestling, and Jiujitsu, whereas MMA encompasses a blend of combat fighting styles, Sambo being among them.
  • Sambo is a sport and combat-style martial art, while MMA is a full-contact combat sport.
  • In MMA, fighters compete within their weight class. In Sambo, there is no such thing as weight class.


  • Both are based on cross-training.
  • Combat Sambo is an equivalent of MMA, as it teaches all the basics of mixed martial arts.
  • Both martial arts help the fighter build strength, fitness, and stamina.

What to choose

There is no better martial art than the other. Ideally, the ability to defeat an opponent will depend on how competent the fighter is and not the style used.

As such, both Sambo and MMA are competitive, and you practicing either of the sports will equip you with the required technique in mixed martial arts.

As such, you can go for Sambo, which encompasses many aspects of MMA, or you can choose MMA if you want to acquaint yourself with a blend of combat fighting techniques.


If you are in a dilemma on what to undertake between Sambo and MMA, you have to understand that both styles are all about cross-training.

You thus have to be well versed in a couple of fighting styles to be able to dominate your opponents.

A good background in wrestling, BJJ, and judo gives you an ideal blend of techniques to count on.

Similar Posts