Top 12 MMA Movie Fight Scenes

Mixed Martial Arts, or as many also know it, MMA, has become the biggest modern craze in the martial arts world, and indeed, one of the biggest new sports on the planet in the 21st century.

The idea behind MMA is essentially what it sounds like, that of combining techniques and philosophies from a wide collection of different martial arts disciplines, in order to address every facet of combat in one’s fighting style.

Bruce Lee is often regarded as the pioneer of MMA with his Jeet Kune Do philosophy of blending techniques to adapt to anything like the nature of water.

Today, that perspective has become a virtually universal mindset among all martial arts disciplines, with schools around the world modifying their training and gearing it towards an MMA-style philosophy of adaptability.

MMA has spread to global popularity through professional MMA fighting organizations, most notably the UFC, and in turn, that has also led to a great evolution in martial arts movie fight choreography, as well.

More than ever, performers, stunt people, and fight coordinators are drawing upon as many different forms of martial arts as possible in crafting the fight scenes of modern martial arts films, giving audiences a chance to see different forms of fighting working together in tandem in increasingly elaborate and exhilarating martial arts action scenes.

And, of course, we at KFK feel a rundown of the best to accomplish that endeavor is very much in order.

So, strap on your gloves and put your mouthguards in place, dear readers – here, in descending order, are the Top 12 MMA Movie Fight Scenes!

12. Tommy vs. Brendan – “Warrior”

Gavin O’Connor’s “Warrior” combines the emotional warmth of a family drama, the power of a redemption story, and the adrenaline of an MMA tournament all in one.

Warrior” follows the story of estranged brothers Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan (Joel Edgerton), who come face-to-face as the final competitors in a huge MMA tournament, bringing all of their bitter family history into the Octagon with them.

“Warrior” completely invests the audience in both Tommy and Brendan’s stories on different levels, with neither of them a true antagonist in the film, which makes the finale of “Warrior” as much an emotional event for the audience as it is for them, since they both deserve to win the tournament for different reasons.

In the end, “Warrior” concludes its final fight in a very unique and profoundly tear-jerking way with Tommy and Brendan, after beating each other senseless, finally reconciling and leaving the cage as brothers once again.

“Warrior” is often described as the “Rocky” of MMA, and its emotional finale most definitely cements its claim to that title – and what’s more, its 2015 Bollywood remake “Brothers” also does its Hollywood predecessor very proud.

11. Dalton vs. Knox – “Road House” (2024)

Remaking a cult classic like “Road House” inevitably requires the reimagined update to bring something new to the table, and Doug Liman’s “Road House” does just that in establishing Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dalton’s as a former UFC fighter turned-bouncer.

Add in real-life MMA champ Conor McGregor as the movie’s heavy, Knox, and you have the recipe for one blisteringly fun MMA showdown when Dalton and Knox go head-to-head.

You’d never guess Gyllenhaal was a first-time martial arts movie lead with the bevy of throws and strikes his Dalton puts to work, while Conor McGregor makes a very memorable movie debut as a villain with all the ostentatious flair of the man’s real-life MMA career.

Both versions of “Road House” are magnificent fun for action fans, and the final showdown of the 2024 remake brings some epic MMA thunder to the cinematic bouncer game.

10. Case Walker vs. Caesar Braga – “Never Back Down: No Surrender”

Michael Jai White’s Case Walker goes from MMA mentor to MMA fighter in the third installment of the “Never Back Down” franchise, “Never Back Down: No Surrender”.

Case is going up against one of the most imposing MMA fighters in the world in Caesar Braga (Nathan Jones), but what makes the movie’s finale extra sweet is Case’s chess-like mental manipulation of the situation.

Having learned about the duplicitous nature of how his friend Brody James (real-life MMA fighter Josh Barnett) was injured, Case makes a verbal jab designed specifically to play upon Braga’s notorious temper.

He puts his opponent in just the wrong frame of mind for the fight and kicks off all the physical jabbing, punching, kicking, and grappling the on-screen and off-screen audience is ready for.

It’s rare that the lead-up to a fight scene is just as impactful as the fight itself, but leave it to Case Walker to bring mind and body together to the finale of “No Surrender”.

9. Ma Kwun vs. Wong Po – “Sha Po Lang”

Donnie Yen famously helped pioneer MMA in Chinese culture and Hong Kong action movies alike with his 2005 movie “Sha Po Lang” (released in the West as “Kill Zone”), and the impact of the movie’s final fight of Donnie’s Ma Kwun and Sammo Hung’s crime boss Wong Po still resonates to this day.

With MMA having only recently gone mainstream in the early 2000’s, it was even more so in its infancy cinematically, which gave Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung’s first on-screen fight even more of a novelty with Donnie incorporating takedowns, chokes, armbars, and other grappling techniques into the fist and foot strikes of the movie’s final action sequence.

The MMA action martial arts fans take for granted today took time to get a proper foothold in martial arts films, but the finale of “Sha Po Lang” gave it one of its biggest early jolts.

8. Tiger Chen vs. MMA Fighter – “Man of Tai Chi”

Tiger Chen vs. MMA Fighter – “Man of Tai Chi”

Keanu Reeves made a superb directorial debut with 2013’s “Man of Tai Chi”, in which Tiger Chen is enticed into an underground Hong Kong fight club, and his first match is an MMA movie dream-combo of Tiger pitting his Tai Chi skills against a determined MMA fighter played by Jeremy Marinas.

Tiger brings the fluidity of water to counter his enemy’s punishing strikes and takedowns, and what makes the fight even better is the combination of Hong Kong and 87Eleven style action applied to an MMA fight scene in concert.

The legendary Yuen Woo-ping serves as action director for “Man of Tai Chi”, with Jeremy hailing from the 87Eleven crew and Chad Stahelski also serving as one of the movie’s fight choreographers – all more than qualifying it as an all-time great MMA fight scene.

7. Danny vs. The Pool Fighters – “Unleashed”

Jet Li fights with the ferociousness of a wild dog in 2005’s “Unleashed”, but even a fighter of his skill faces a big challenge going up against four opponents in a drained pool (the fact that two of them are Silvio Simac and Scott Adkins only adding to the challenge).

Yuen Woo-ping orchestrates the wild and incredibly harsh martial arts fights of “Unleashed”, with Jet Li’s usually fluid Wushu modified into an unhinged canine-like whirlwind to fit the concept of Danny being raised as the personal attack dog of Bob Hoskins’ sinister Bart.

“Unleashed” is a great example of designing MMA-style action without necessarily applying the label to it, giving it a kind of retroactive added quality with MMA’s rise to popularity in the 21st century.

It’s also just another factor in “Unleashed” reigning supreme as Jet Li’s best English-language movie.

6. Tommy Lee vs Brakus – “Best of the Best 2”

MMA in modern martial arts films didn’t really kick off until the 21st century, which is what makes 1993’s “Best of the Best 2” so far ahead of the game.

Along with being one of the all-time great Taekwondo movies, “Best of the Best 2” is also an MMA movie before such things even really came to be, with Phillip Rhee’s Tommy Lee pit against fighters from a wide range of styles in an underground arena known as The Colosseum.

His final foe is the fearsome giant known as Brakus (Ralf Moeller), with their final match a David vs. Goliath martial arts movie fight classic.

However, the blend of styles put together make the final showdown of “Best of the Best 2” an MMA smackdown, as well, with Tommy and Brakus wielding kicks, punches, armbars, sweeps, and chokes in an arena not that far off from the Octagon itself.

“Best of the Best 2” has long held a legacy as a ‘90s American martial arts B-movie classic, but it was also diving into MMA surprisingly far in advance.

5. Boyka vs. Chambers Rematch – “Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing”

George “Iceman” Chambers once ruled the boxing ring in the original “Undisputed”, but he learns quickly that MMA is a whole other ball game in “Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing”, with Yuri Boyka already well-versed in how to dominate the MMA arena.

After a crash course in Muay Thai and grappling techniques from Crot (Eli Danker), Michael Jai White’s Chambers enters his second fight with Boyka much more prepared, and the evolution of his modified fighting style adds some edge-of-your-seat suspense to his rematch with Boyka.

While Scott Adkins’ Boyka has long-since become the hero of the “Undisputed” franchise, it’s still plenty of fun to revisit some of his matches back in his days as an antagonist, with Boyka’s rematch with Chambers being particularly pivotal for how it ends for Boyka.

4. Guddu vs. Bloodbath – “Ganapath: A Hero is Born”

Tiger Shroff is one of Bollywood’s most versatile, charismatic, and talented action heroes, as well as one of the most amazing martial artists (and dancers) on the contemporary martial arts movie scene – all of which are qualities that he brings to his 2023 Bollywood martial arts spectacular, “Ganapath: A Hero is Born”.

Set in the year 2070, Tiger portrays former Mumbai gangster Guddu, who becomes a hero to the downtrodden in the MMA arena with many believing him to be the prophesied savior of the land known as “Ganapath”, but he’ll only be able to fulfill that prophecy if he can defeat his final opponent in the movie, the fearsome MMA fighter Bloodbath (Brahim Chab).

Tiger and Brahim are dynamite and then some in the finale of “Ganapath”, which easily ranks as one of the best martial arts fight scenes in Bollywood history.

Fight choreographer Tim Man brings a decidedly Boyka-inspired template to the fight scenes of “Ganapath” (Tim having been fight choreographer on “Boyka: Undisputed”), with Tiger and Brahim bringing nuclear energy to their final showdown of in-fighting hand strikes, grappling techniques, and flashy spinning kicks.

The action-packed blast that is “Ganapath” is as much Bollywood MMA fun as it gets, with its finale thoroughly earning a distinguished place of honor as MMA movie magic at its absolute pinnacle.

3. Boyka vs. Igor Kazmir – “Boyka: Undisputed”

Boyka vs. Igor Kazmir Boyka Undisputed

Yuri Boyka is fighting not for his own freedom in “Boyka: Undisputed”, but for that of the deeply indebted Alma (Teodora Duhovnikova), with Igor Kazmir (Brahim Chab) standing in his way in the movie’s third act.

A quite vulgar earlier threat on Igor’s part to defeat Boyka certainly provides him with some added incentive to win, and Scott Adkins and Brahim Chab’s shared versatility make Boyka and Igor’s duel an MMA blast of the two throwing everything and the kitchen sink at each other.

Brahim has since gone on to an illustrious career as martial arts movie villain and fight choreographer in films like “Never Back Down: No Surrender”, “Ganapath: A Hero is Born”, and “Monkey Man”, and it goes without saying that battling The Most Complete Fighter in the World helped set the stage for such a fantastic subsequent break-out.

2. Boyka vs. Dolor – Undisputed 3: Redemption

Boyka officially became the “Undisputed” series’ star in Isaac Florentine’s “Undisputed 3: Redemption”, with a real challenge to his claim to be The Most Complete Fighter in the World coming from Marko Zaror’s Dolor in the movie’s final fight.

Boyka spends much of “Undisputed 3” trying to heal his bad knee after his second fight with George “Iceman” Chambers, and for as swift and powerful as his kicks and attacks are, Dolor finds a way to take advantage of that to very painful effect.

Boyka’s way of adapting to that makes the final showdown of “Undisputed 3” arguably his greatest triumph, while the sheer length of Boyka and Dolor’s fight is enough to take your breath away.

To see Boyka turn the table on Dolor like he does, the finale of “Undisputed 3” is Boyka’s finest hour in the ring.

…And in at number one is…

Ma Jun vs. Tony – “Flash Point”

Two years after introducing MMA into Hong Kong action movies with “Sha Po Lang”, Donnie Yen completely blew the lid off of it all with 2007’s “Flash Point” – and when it comes to final hero vs. villain fight scenes that make history, “Flash Point” shattered all expectations with the final smackdown of Donnie’s Ma Jun and Collin Chou’s Tony.

With Donnie being such a devoted MMA fanboy, the final fight of “Flash Point” has an almost instructional quality to it, with Donnie implementing techniques like side mounts, triangle chokes, and takedowns with a clarity that really shows his passion for MMA and the urgency with which he’s striving to share it in “Flash Point”.

Nor, for that matter, are Donnie’s jump-spinning back kicks that he’d already showcased for years any less captivating when he places them into an MMA-style fight scene.

Thanks to “Flash Point”, Hong Kong action with an MMA flavor became ever more frequent, earning the movie’s final showdown the title of the greatest MMA martial arts movie fight scene.

One can only imagine how Donnie (and potentially Scott Adkins) will evolve MMA Hong Kong action even further in Donnie’s forthcoming “Flash Point: Resurgence”, though incorporating some “Ip Man”-style Wing Chun could certainly be an asset to help push it even further!

So there we have it folks, KFK’s rundown of the Top 10 MMA Martial Arts Movie Fights!

Did any of your picks make the list? What are some of your favourite MMA-based martial arts flicks? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation/share this on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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