9 Unique Karate Fighters In MMA

Karate is a martial art that derived from the style Chinese Kenpo. Also, it was originally called Chinese hand before the Japanese Militarism era occurred.  Karate has many different styles such as Kyokushin, Gōjū-ryū and Shotokan. The styles all contain similar punches, open hand, knees, elbows, kicks, grappling and joint manipulating. However, they all differ when it comes to philosophy. In the mixed martial arts realm, Lyoto Machida is known for using his style of Karate effectively and efficiently in the UFC. He made many ponder whether Karate works in the simulation of a free fight.

Below are Karate fighters who have expressed their style of combat.


Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson karate fighter in mma

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Karate Style: Kempo Karate

Stephen fights very comfortably at kicking range. He uses many karate kicks and strikes effectively gradually increasing the pressure he puts on his opponent. After he breaks his opponent down physically, he creates an opening to land more devastating strikes.

Career Debut Video

Michelle Waterson

Michelle Waterson karate fighter in mma 2014

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Karate Style: American Free Style Karate

The “Karate Hottie” has great lateral movement inside the cage and she also has excellent timing for throwing strikes. Her stance switching and pivoting can frustrate her opponents. This can make her opponents lose patient and end up rushing in which opens up opportunities for Michelle to counter strike, similar to Lyoto Machida.

Career Highlights/Training Video

Ryuta Noji

Ryuta Noji karate fighter in mma

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Karate Style: Kyokushin Karate

The Light Heavyweight Japanese fighter stalks for an opening while constantly moving forward. When he finds one, he throws a flurry of overwhelming strikes which can result in devastating TKO’s.

Ryuta Noji vs Henry Sentoryu Miller Video

Antonio Silva


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Karate Style: Shotokan Karate

Despite Silva’s size, in his recent performance, Silva managed to throw the ushiro mawashi geri (Spinning Wheel Kick) and the Mae geri (Front kick) which people thought it would be impossible for someone his size to do it.

Career Highlights

Maciej Górski

Maciej Górski karate fighter in mma

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Karate Style: Shotokan Karate

Maciej is a Polish Shotokan Karate fighter who has competed in Karate tournaments and has a record of 10-6 in MMA. He uses his Karate to counter strike or push forward to get into a clinch or get a takedown. Also Maciej uses leg kicks to prevent his opponents from keeping a good balance.

Career Highlights Video

Chinzo Machida

Chinzo Machida karate fighter in mma 2014

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Karate Style: Shotokan Karate

Brother of UFC fighter Lyoto Machida. His style of fighting is very similar to Lyoto Machida however he fights more aggressive and looks to finish his opponents early. In his most recent bout, he landed the Tobi hiza geri (Flying knee) to obliterate his opponent.

Machida Karate Seminar Video

John Makdessi

John Makdessi karate fighter in mma 2014

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Karate Style: Shotokan Karate

John Makdessi is exciting to watch and also has a background in Taekwondo and Kickboxing. He has fluid movement and uses the Ura mawashi geri (Hook kick) and Ushiro kekomi (Back Side Thrust Kick) in many of his fights.

Career Highlights Video

Lyoto Machida

Lyoto Machida karate fighter in mma 2014


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Karate Style: Shotokan Karate

Lyoto is the most known person to use Karate successfully in the octagon. Many fighters couldn’t utilise their game plan on him and decided going fully aggressive thinking it could stop Machida. However, this only leads fighters to open themselves up where Machida can capitalise very effectively with his masterful timing. His performed his excellent timing many times and one of his most famous one is when  he shocked the MMA realm by knocking Randy Couture out with the double mae geri (Jumping Front Kick).

Career Highlights Video

Katsunori Kikuno

Katsunori Kikuno karate fighter in mma

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Karate Style: Kyokushin Karate and Okinawa Kempo Karate

Like Lyoto Machida, he is very calm and patient in his fights. His stance is unorthodox sochin-dachi which many aren’t used to witnessing. Through this style, he has developed great distance, accuracy and movement. Also, he manages to use his wide range of karate attacks effectively.

Career Highlights Video


Matt J

Amateur fighter and martial artist who enjoys watching many aspects in sport the of MMA. Interesting fan posts is what I bring to you.