Back when Royce Gracie ruled the early UFC, he won most of his matches in a “soft” jiujitsu fashion, slowly taking opponents down and working to a submission, opening everyone’s eyes to the “soft”, almost gentle power of BJJ to solve the fundamental problem of martial arts – how does a slower, weaker, smaller guy defeat the faster, stronger, larger guys. Usher in the heyday of BJJ. Well, how about now when all the fighters are so well rounded and since the creation of the “ground and pound” style? Does “soft” still defeat “hard”? In my non-scientific analysis of 59 2004 PrideFC matches, hear’s what happened:

  • 21/59 = 36% “hard” KO or TKO victories. Threw one data point out because it was TKO due to cuts. 
  • 24/59 = 41% “soft” submission victories.

Soft” appears to have a small edge but what about the remaining matches? The wins by decision or draws are close. I’d call over half of the decisions I’ve seen a win because of successful “neutralization” of most of the attempted KO’s and submissions, so “soft” still has the edge. However, KO’s/TKO’s appear to be increasing over time, and seem to be more prevalent when looking at the fighters with better records. I am wondering what happens when looking at rounds, minutes elapsed, number of previous bouts, and other factors… more on that later… for now it seems that taiji’s theory of 50% yin and 50% yang is holding true. 

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