One of the most common questions I get is: “How do I fight someone bigger than me?”.  Now that can mean height, weight or both.  This guide will talk about how to deal with TALLER opponents.

7-foot Hong Man Choi in K-1
7-foot Hong Man Choi in K-1

Let’s break down some strategy:

  • Fight on the inside — If your opponent is taller than you, then they will have a longer reach.  Negate their ability to use their long punches and kicks by slipping, rushing, or shooting in.
  • Work slams and grappling — Once you get on the inside and land some hooks to the body and head, shoot for a double-leg takedown.
  • Avoid the Muay Thai clinch — Your opponent will be able to use their weight and leverage by simply leaning down on you.  Having to hold them up will naturally fatigue you.  And they’ll be elbowing and kneeing you simultaneously.  If you get caught in the clinch, hug them close around the lower waist and works sweeps and takedowns.
  • The overhand punch — This is that magic technique that works wonders against taller opponents.  Punching up against gravity is tough, so this looping punch allows you to “drop” your punch.

Video on Fighting Taller People

Alright we got a fight tips instructional video here. This one is going to be on probably the most commonly asked questions among everybody, which is about fighting taller or bigger opponents.

We got my little brother here who’s 6 foot, and I’m 5’7, so he’s definitely taller than me. And then we’re going to be talking about bigger… he’s the same weight, but we’re going to need you to imagine that he’s bigger than me.

Fighting Someone Taller

So first, we’ll talk about fighting taller opponents. If he were to hit me, I couldn’t hit him. As you can see, his arms are way longer. What I’m trying to say is you’re going to want to get in close if you want to hit him.

You don’t want him to back up. You back up, he’s going to chase you, and he’s going to hit you. You’re going to want to cover up and know how to block. You keep your elbows in, and you keep your hands up at eyebrow level. Keep your hands in tight. You don’t want to reach for punches because if you miss, you’re going to get hit.

If you come out here, and he hits your arm, you’re going to hit yourself, and that’s going to damage in itself.

The other thing is when you get in close, let’s say we’re fighting, and he throws a punch or whatever, I’ll try to get in close. One thing you want to do is body clench, and you keep him in close. You get him as low as you can around the waist, and you can control him here because this is his core. So, if I got his core, I’m controlling his weight.

Hold him in close and from here, you can work light trips. Grab him around the waist tight, pull him in tight. You don’t have to worry about get because you’re on the other side of his hands, or you’re underneath. So he could be throwing knees or downward elbows, but you’re going to have to ignore that, and you’re going to try to work the sweeps or slams. Brace yourself, bend your knees, lift him up, turn him over and slam him down. Or you could work the leg trips and pull him to one side and push your legs to the other side to topple his body over.

The Overhand Right

One of the most crucial things I want you to know how to throw is the overhand right. This is probably your best punch against somebody who’s taller. You never want to throw uppercuts because if I throw an uppercut… this is a proper uppercut. If I threw that, I’m going to be hitting his collar bone at best. Once you get to here, that’s where all the force is from the uppercut. If I’m throwing up, it’s all arm, and I’m fighting against gravity, so there’s nothing there. Instead, I’m going to want to come downward on him. That’s where the overhand right comes in.

So we’re fighting here.. you’re going to dip to the side. If I’m throwing with my overhand right, I’m going to dip to my left and it’s going to come… you’re going to drop it… it’s an unorthodox punch, you’re going to drop a little bit, and it’s going to follow this path, and you’re going to come down right on his… preferable his jaw.

So I’m going to lean back, and that’s when you throw it.

The same goes for people who are left handed. You’re just going to lean to the right and then throw with your overhand left.

So that’s just some tips for fighting someone who’s taller. Now were going to imagine that he’s bigger, fatter, or just heavier and more muscle. You gotta figure what his strengths are and what you’re strengths are. He wants to get a hold of you because he going to be able to control you.  He’s probably going to want to get you to the ground or keep you in close. So, you’re going to do the opposite. You’re going to use your speed, you’re going to be explosive, and you’re going to use explosive movements. You’re going to want to get in and out, throw your punches and combos and get out before he can return. Don’t forget about fighting dirty either.

Even if he’s bigger than me, taller wise, and he’s wider too. So I’m going to want to get in, use things like feint, which is just the shoulder feint or lift your hand out like you’re about to throw a punch just so he can blink and flinch a little bit. Capitalize on that. So let’s say I go like this, and he flinches that’s when I step in and then you step out of range because when he throws the punch, I’m not there for him to hit me.

I want you to get in, throw your combos, and then get out so when he returns you’re not there.

Fatter Fighters?

The other thing to keep in mind is that if someone’s bigger, or if someone’s fatter then most likely their going to get more tired than you if you’re in alright shape… unless he’s an athlete.

Now this doesn’t go for everybody, but just keep this in mind if you try to tire him out, but you can tire any of your opponents. You should try to conserve your energy. Circle your opponent, throw your jabs, and keep him at bay with your longest weapons which are your straight punches. If you know how to kick, go for the teep. Keep him at bay and let him tire himself out. Then, once he’s huffin’ and puffin’ and his hand start to drop, you can step in, bang, and then step back out. Keep your cool.

Dirty Fighting

Like I said, don’t forget dirty fighting. Use the headbutts if he does get a hold of you. If he does get a hold of you, don’t think it’s the end of the fight. If he gets a hold of you, headbutt your way out and elbow your way out. If he gets you to the ground, try to scramble, try to squirm out, try to get your legs on his hips and kick your legs out. Once that makes the space then just scramble to your feet real quick.

When you do get on the ground, you should grab him by his hair, lift his face out, throw the downward elbows.. they’re illegal for a reason, so utilize them in a street fight where there  are no rules. Alright guys, I just want to thank Stuart from the forum for writing a lot of these tips out. You’ll find out a lot of great tips on the forum so I really recommend you guys go on there and check them out. But again, thanks for watching and until next this, I’m Shane, and this is Taylor.

Check out the Overhand Punch done in REAL FIGHTS.


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