If you’ve been a fan of the sport of MMA for a while, you’ll know that in many fights, the proficient striker will often get beaten by an advanced wrestler or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.
A grappler’s advantages in a cage fight often allow them to overcome striking to take their opponent to the mat and control them on the ground.
A BJJ martial artist can beat Wrestling by securing a comfortable position after being taken down to the ground. On the ground is where the BJJ fighter can take advantage of the fight by using techniques that a Wrestler can’t defend and then finally submit and beat them.
To see a breakdown of the advantages, disadvantages, and street fight applications of these martial arts, keep reading this article!
Table of Contents
The Advantages of Wrestling
Wrestling has many significant advantages that apply to different forms of fighting because of its aggressiveness and athleticism traits in those that practice it.
The biggest is the athletic ability that a Wrestler can develop with experience. Wrestlers have some of the most muscular physiques (take a look at the Olympics competitors) while being very agile and flexible.
Wrestling leans heavily into overcoming their opponent with big takedowns and throws that are often acrobatic, requiring plenty of strength to throw the opponent and the flexibility to follow where they land to hold them there while performing bending bridges, among others.
The primary consideration, and potential disadvantage, with Wrestling is that it is fundamentally a sport that relies on scoring points. Those points are scored through these takedowns and throws and pinning their opponent to the mat, usually on their back.
Because Wrestling is a sport and points-based form of martial arts, it would require adjustments to make it suitable for a street fight or mixed martial arts competition because the goals are pretty different.
Using Wrestling In A Street Fight
An experienced Wrestler will often have great successes in a street fight because of their high level of fitness, strength, and athleticism compared with most regular people.
A Wrestler without any striking skills would need enough awareness to avoid punches or kicks coming their way and use timing to secure that double leg takedown to bring their opponent to the ground.
Once things get to the ground with a Wrestler’s endurance on top, it’s doubtful that a regular person will be able to get up unless the Wrestler allows for it. They will have many different options to force them to stay on the ground and tire themselves out trying to get back up (unsuccessfully, no doubt).
But Wrestling doesn’t teach much more than taking down and pinning an opponent. Maybe that’s a good thing when it comes to a street fight because the Wrestler can nullify the situation with their experience rather than causing any damage that could get them in trouble.
A Wrestler could fair up reasonably against multiple opponents, too, if they were able to secure numerous big takedowns and get back to their feet. It could discourage any advances.
The Advantages of BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has plenty of significant advantages that make it one of the most influential martial arts to learn for mixed fighting styles.
BJJ is highly effective on the ground and grappling because an experienced Jiu-Jitsu practitioner will often have many techniques at their disposal to wrap up their opponent to tire them out and eventually even submit them.
The focus of BJJ is mostly on technical skills that use your ingenuity to use your body and limbs to put your opponent in challenging positions, moving them into a place where they can be submitted or choked.
BJJ also uses the opponent’s body and limbs against them too, which without experience will be almost impossible to counter.
Primarily, BJJ will use technique over athleticism to remove any threats. But that doesn’t mean that BJJ doesn’t build up a martial artists’ strength or endurance.
Using BJJ In A Street Fight
BJJ can be highly effective in a street fight providing that its user is confident and experienced enough to include a takedown very swiftly.
The grappling of BJJ relies heavily on being grounded and using your bodyweight and technique to control your opponent, so taking them down to the ground is crucial in making it work for fighting on the street.
If you don’t take your opponent down to the ground quickly, then you’re keeping yourself in a more dangerous position for yourself with many different potential strikes coming your way.
Once you’ve been able to bring your opponent down to the ground successfully, you can work on contorting their limbs in your favor until you finally submit them or choke them.
Traditional BJJ with a Gi might not function so well in an actual street fight with regular clothing, so the BJJ practitioner would be better suited to have a mixture of Gi and No-Gi experience to adapt to the situation.
The biggest issue with using BJJ in a street fight is being presented with multiple opponents. The most effective thing you could probably do in this situation is get the hell out of there!
Differences Between Wrestling And BJJ
Wrestling uses a high level of athleticism to secure big acrobatic takedowns on their opponents and pin them to the mat. In comparison, BJJ focuses on more subtle takedowns that allow them to control their opponent’s limbs and submit them through technique.
A Wrestling takedown will often involve shooting with both arms to wrap around the hips and legs of the opponent, lifting them to drop them upside down.
In comparison, a BJJ takedown is more patient and waiting for the right time when a limb becomes easy to grab to control and removes the opponent’s stability. BJJ also borrows many takedown techniques from Judo throws, such as sweeping leg actions.
Wrestlers typically have the best physiques and strength of any fighter so that they can come out on top (literally). However, BJJ allows some of the most unassuming fighters to become incredibly effective against other fighters much bigger or stronger than themselves.
BJJ could also take the advantage simply because it is a martial art with more real-world application in stopping an opponent in their tracks with submissions on many parts of the body and even chokes that could temporarily subdue the opponent completely.
Who Would Win: Wrestler vs BJJ In A Street Fight?
The winner between a Wrestler vs. BJJ martial artist would largely depend on the BJJ practitioner to perform technical submissions against the Wrestler when they are inevitably taken down to the ground. It’s likely that the BJJ fighter would win because they can finish the fight by submission.
The primary consideration for the BJJ fighter is that the Wrestler could find it reasonably straightforward to take them down to the ground with a big lift or throw.
If the BJJ can withstand the athleticism of the Wrestler by not getting winded or hurt from a takedown, they will find themselves where they want to be, which is on the ground.
On the ground, the BJJ fighter could use their technical abilities to outmaneuver a Wrestler as long as they can stay patient through the Wrestler’s strength and endurance.
A Wrestler would undoubtedly do an excellent job of getting the Jiu-Jitsu fighter onto the ground, but the latter is way more experienced at ending the battle through submissions and chokes if they can find the proper position. This is what makes BJJ fighters so dangerous! They can end a fight in a flash.
Is Wrestling Or BJJ Better For MMA?
BJJ is better for MMA because it’s widely taught amongst MMA fighters which makes it necessary to know how to defend yourself against many kinds of submissions and chokes to win. Wrestling helps overall grappling ability but doesn’t teach you how to submit an opponent.
I’m not saying that Wrestling isn’t a potent tool for MMA, because it is! The application of Wrestling and Sambo martial arts in MMA from Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev, and Khamzat Chimaev has shown their takedowns quickly puts them in prime winning positions.
It’s just a matter of order and application of these grappling martial arts.
Wrestling provides great takedown ability. BJJ provides great submission ability.
The two do go hand-in-hand to make one incredible fighter. Learning both styles is incredibly important to succeed in modern MMA, which has become so dominant for many years.