Originally Posted by Onganju
Actually... The generation of force within an elbow or knee strike is higher than that of a punch or kick. However, the surface area that the force transfers through is much bigger in an elbow or knee. Where a punch would be a whip or spear, the elbow is your club. It's the same reason why a low velocity round being shot out of a gun will pierce flesh and cause internal trauma, but a beabag shot out of a 12-gauge will cause surface trauma and not carry the same amount of "lethalness." The surface area of the fist is smaller than that of the elbow and transfers the force better.
I can see where northcoastmma's coach is coming from. In a full-range stand-up contest, elbows shine in the limited confines of the clinch. Statistically speaking, most KOs in MT matches come from Punches followed by High Kicks.
Now in MMA, because of the clinch and also ground fighting, elbows are probably more effective than punches simply for the fact that you do not need a greater amount of distance to create force on the elbow. So in that regards, the elbow is golden in application.
Now the reason why cuts are so prevalent with elbows is because you are not required to pad your elbows. If your hit an elbow correctly, you would be hitting with the point of the elbow instead of lower on your forearm. In which case, connecting to the orbital area or other bony areas of the face will cause cuts very easily as the skin is pressured between 2 sharp objects causing it to split open. The same thing is possible off of a punch, but is not as likely due to the fact that the glove disperses some of the direct force.
your right on its like comparing a rifle to a shot gun blast but because the elbows arent padded you get more external damage as opposed to penetrating power. Its the same for people like me instead of doing round kicks with my shin I do them with the ball of the foot because the kicks have more penetration. In a mma application you would want this because you could call the fight quicker because of excessive bleeding. They are primarily the short range weapon of choice