The Best Style of Wrestling for MMA


On October 11th, 1997 in Sioux City Iowa, legendary heroes Dan Gable and John Peretti introduced the world to the first Submission Grappling competition, “The Contenders”. It was the beginning of Strikeless MMA, also known as Submission Wrestling. It was held in a cage and the only means to victory was tapping out from a submission hold. A judge’s decision could be had if the contest went the distance. It pitted various styles of grappling against each other using rules that were exactly the same as MMA, minus the brain damaging strikes.

No other wrestling or martial art style has rules as closely identical to MMA as Submission Grappling. We have Dan Gable and John Peretti to thank for bringing us the newest style of American Folk Wrestling, Submission Grappling. We are forever indebted to you. I have dedicated my life to furthering what you started that day in Iowa. I thank you, and the hundreds of Submission Wrestlers and MMA fighters I have trained also thank you.

Submission Wrestling for MMA: The Blending of Styles into One Perfect System

The best style of wrestling for MMA is Submission Grappling. It combines elements from all forms of wrestling and grappling into one perfect system. It is the ultimate synthesis and newest evolution in the sport of wrestling. Submission Grappling is recognized by USA Wrestling as one of the six styles of American Wrestling. It has spawned the global Submission Grappling movement, including the ADCC, Metamoris, NAGA, Grapplers Quest and many more that followed.

The primary element that separates No-Gi Submission Grappling from every other ground fighting style is its rules. It allows holds, locks, chokes, throws and takedowns from every ground fighting system. It has no arbitrary rules, like wearing a Gi (Jiu-Jistu pajamas) or pinning the shoulders to the mat. Forcing the opponent to tap out using a submission hold is the only way to win.

We must look beyond arguing about what individual style of wrestling or grappling is better for MMA. Instead, we must blend ALL ground fighting styles into one perfect system. Submission Grappling contains the best techniques from Freestyle and Folkstyle. It has throws from Greco-Roman and Judo, submission locks from Russian Sambo, cranks and twists from Catch as Catch Can, and moves from Brazilian jiu Jitsu without the Gi, to name a few. We must use the late Bruce Lee’s principal of combat efficiency to guide us in selecting techniques for No-Gi Submission Wrestling. He stated; “Take what is useful, discard what is not, and keep what is uniquely your own.”

We must stop the bickering and out-dated arguments. We must start contributing to this wonderful new sport. We must stop the separating nonsense and evolve the newest style of American wrestling, Submission Grappling. Every ground fighting, wrestling and grappling system has something to contribute to this new art. This is our chance to come together on a global scale, past all of the discrimination, furthering what Dan Gable and John Peretti introduced us to. We must not let them down.

This short article provides a brief introduction to Submission Wrestling for MMA as a blending of styles into one perfect system. It is the first in a series of articles that will examine each of the major ground fighting systems around the world one by one. Following these articles will allow you to see the building and unfolding of the beautiful No-Gi Submission Grappling system.

About Sam Basco

Sam Basco is a lifelong competitor, coach and student of Mixed Marital Arts and Combat Sports Training.  Sam coaches submission grappling, wrestling and strength training for combat athletes at Flawless Victory MMA in Ridgecrest CA.  Visit to learn more about customized personal or team strength and conditioning program created by, Sam Basco, a licensed and experienced professional.  You can also reach Coach Basco via email at or phone at (760)-499-0692