Evolution is a fascinating thing to study. Looking at the way species developed over time you can get a small understanding of what potential difficulties they encountered and what adaption best suited them to overcome them. The Guardian has a piece about how our faces have evolved overtime to better take hits:
Five million years of slugging it out with fists has left its mark on the human face, scientists believe. Evidence suggests it evolved to minimise damage from altercations after our ancient ancestors learned how to throw a punch.
Researchers studied the bone structure of australopiths, ape-like bipeds living 4m to 5m years ago which predated the modern human primate family Homo. They found that australopith faces and jaws were strongest in just those areas most likely to receive a blow from a fist.
Granted the face is still a good target if you’re looking to strike somebody in a way that will quickly end the fight. There are just too many small, fragile bones in the face. But it’s interesting to see that evolution has apparently made us less susceptible to strikes in the face and even with that we still often focus on striking the face.
Personally I prefer grappling over striking because it allows more control over the situation. More control allows one to resolve a situation with less violence in most cases. But striking appears to be popular enough amongst our species to change the way we’ve developed and that’s kind of cool.