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Order from chaos: unravelling the determinants of mixed martial arts performance (PhD Academy Award)
  1. Lachlan Peter James1,2
  1. 1 School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Discipline of Human Movement and Sports Science, Federation University, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lachlan Peter James, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The Univeristy of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4067, Australia; lp.james{at}

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What did I do?

I explored the technical, physiological and biomechanical determinants of performance in a highly complex yet under-researched sport, mixed martial arts (MMA).

Why did I do it?

Successful performance in MMA is likely due to a complex interaction of an array of technical, mechanical and physiological factors. Despite this complexity and the sport’s considerable popularity, there has yet to be a series of thorough investigations into the determinants of MMA performance.1 Identifying primary physical qualities and understanding their development can play a vital role in informing training strategies.2

How did I do it?

My thesis consisted of four major investigations:

In study 1, I determined the techniques and combat strategies that had the greatest influence on achieving victory at the elite level of MMA. Decision tree induction (chi-square automatic interaction detector (CHAID)) was applied to a representative sample containing performance indicators from 234 Ultimate Fighting …

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