Physiological determinants of mixed martial arts performance and method of competition outcome

Document Type

Journal Article


SAGE Publications


Centre for Sport and Exercise Science Research


Originally published as:

James, L. P., Haff, G. G., Kelly, V. G., & Beckman, E. M. (2018). Physiological determinants of mixed martial arts performance and method of competition outcome. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13(6). 978-984.

Original article available here.


This investigation sought to determine the relevance of anaerobic and aerobic-based measures to competition level and bout outcome in mixed martial arts competitors. For the primary analysis, seven higher-level and eight lower-level male mixed martial arts competitors were compared across a series of short-term anaerobic (sprints at 10 and 20 m), repeated maximal effort (repeated sprint ability), and intermittent aerobic tests (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 2)). For the secondary analysis, data were then pooled so relationships could be explored between test performance and percentage of bouts reaching a decision. Cohen's d effect sizes and qualitative magnitude-based inferences were calculated to describe the differences between groups. These same descriptors were used to interpret the output of the regression analysis used to predict decision percentage. Superior performances by the higher-level group were revealed across most variables to a non-trivial magnitude. Furthermore, it was likely that a decrease in short-term anaerobic performance or an increase in intermittent endurance capacity positively related to an increased likelihood of bouts lasting the full scheduled duration. These findings indicate the importance of anaerobic and aerobic qualities to mixed martial arts performance and combat methods.