15 Best Submissions in the UFC
The UFC is known for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The very basis of the tournament was invented by the Gracie family in an effort to prove the dominance of their art.
While some submissions have come from wrestling, a large amount of the techniques in this article prove that masterful Jiu-Jitsu helps mixed martial artists to win fights.
So in an effort to celebrate all that the Gracies and the UFC has done for the sport, here is the top 15 submissions ever to be seen in the Octagon.
15. Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia: Armbar
It's still painful to watch Frank Mir snap Tim Sylvia's arm, but it proved that long limbs can be a detriment to a fighter.
It also proved Herb Dean is one of the more competent referees in the sport—he was able to see the arm crack and stopped the fight even when both fighters wanted to keep going.
It is referees like Dean that make the sport healthier and submissions like that which keep the fans coming back for more.
14. Chan Sung Jung vs. Leonard Garcia: Playing Twister
Jung, also known as the "Korean Zombie," is one in a million. He not only is a humble fighter for whom people cheer, but one that backs it up in the cage.
While he seemed like a limited fighter when he first came to the United States, a submission win and a quick knockout victory in his last two fights proved he was more than that.
Most fans didn't know what a twister was, though Jung remedied that and proved that the sport of MMA is ever-evolving.
13. Rousimar Palhares vs. Ivan Salaverry: Armbar
Rousimar Palhares went from having his opponent's back to moving into an armbar. The transition is beautiful and shows that the most competent Jiu-Jitsu user can trap his opponent when he knows what he is doing.
Palhares was able to get Ivan Salaverry to open himself up to the submission by tricking him into worrying about a choke and then moving over quickly enough before his opponent could defend against the armbar.
It was impressive to watch the first time and worth viewing again.
12. Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch: Modified Kimura
Phil Davis is nicknamed "Mr. Wonderful," and though he didn't prove it against Rashad Evans last time, he did so when he squared off against TIm Boetsch.
Davis was able to take Boetsch's arm with only one arm and extend it while it was behind him in a modified kimura.
It was so impressive, people started calling it the "Philmura" or the "Mr. Wonderful". When your name has been worked into a submission, you know it is impressive.
11. Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: Rear-Naked Choke
While the move itself was impressive, it was amplified by the fact that no one saw it coming.
Forrest Griffin was a winner of the Ultimate Fighter TV show. He was a tough, but limited fighter.
Mauricio Rua was a veteran of Pride who had won the Middleweight Grand Prix.
The fight was a back-and-forth affair with both men brutalizing each other until Griffin rocked Rua with punches, and was then able to transition into a choke.
It launched his career to another level and made for a great highlight reel.
10. Nate Diaz vs. Kurt Pellegrino: Triangle Choke
Diaz was able to use the cage perfectly to set up his choke submission. It was classic Diaz, as even after implementing the technique, he let his opponent and the fans know how he felt by flashing an obscene gesture with his hands.
He even looked to the referee because he was so sure he had the victory.
With how beautiful the submission was, it isn't surprising that he was that cocky.
Or that he won that night.
9. Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida: Dave Schultz Front Headlock
When Matt Hughes submitted Ricardo Almeida at UFC 117, no one was sure what they had just seen.
At least no one except wrestlers and wrestling fans.
It turns out that Hughes had slapped on a Dave Schultz front headlock, and it was so powerful that Almeida was knocked out before he knew what hit him.
Most were left scratching their heads as well until they were later educated as to what the submission was.
It showed that Hughes still had some tricks left in him and wasn't finished yet.
8. Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn: Side Choke
Mark Coleman is the godfather of ground and pound, and while this match showed how hesitant other fighters were to let him punch them, it was also a great example of how wearing shoes can effect a fight.
Both Coleman and Dan Severn were allowed to wear grappling boots, and it immensely enhanced their wrestling skills and abilities while on the mat.
It also showed why both were in the UFC. Both men ended up going for submissions, but it was Coleman who got his choke in first.
7. Demian Maia vs. Ed Herman: Triangle Choke
Where this Demian Maia went know one can be sure.
At this point in his career, Maia was a submission machine. He was taking out opponents left and right and his fight with Ed Herman showed how dangerous he was.
He was able to roll Herman back onto the ground at one point just by having his legs entwined around one of Herman's, and even switched positions on him with ease, making fans think Maia might have been related to Gumby.
While Maia has gone on to lose some of his most recent fights mostly because he decided to stand and trade, it's worth remembering that at one point he was a dangerous ground fighter.
6. Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida: Standing Guillotine Choke
Jon Jones was able to choke out Lyoto Machida in their fight at UFC 140.
He also did it while standing up.
That second part is one of the most amazing things that can be pulled off in the cage, and the fact that he did it against a great fighter like Machida is a testament to Jones' growth.
It won't be the last time fans see Jones pull off a legendary submission, but for now it is the first.
5. Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera: Kimura
"He broke his arm like a chicken wing."
We've all heard that statement before and Frank Mir proved it to be true when he applied a kimura to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's arm. He instantly moved it up and broke the arm so badly that Nogueira actually had to go into surgery after the fight.
It's Nogueira's fault for not tapping, but he also has some pride as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and didn't want to admit he was being submitted. It lead to a nasty break and one of the best submissions in UFC history.
4. Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway: Mounted Triangle Armbar
Dustin Poirier needed to look impressive when he took on UFC newcomer Max Holloway. He did just that by slapping on an armbar and getting his opponent to quit.
As shown in the picture above, he was able to do it from the mount. That isn't an easy accomplishment and it netted Poirier submission of the night and a great moment in UFC history as well.
3. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia: Guillotine Choke
The fact that Antonio Nogueira was even able to submit Tim Sylvia after the beating he took through the fight is amazing.
Sylvia had Nogueira rocked and was doing well against him, but Nogueira was able to pull his opponent to the ground and get him into the position needed to finish him.
It is part of why Sylvia is a former champion and Nogueira is an MMA legend.
2. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen: Triangle Armbar
At this point, most reading know how the fight went down.
Anderson Silva was beaten around the cage by Chael Sonnen for four and a half rounds, losing every single second of the match. Then, just as it seemed the champion was going to lose his belt, Silva was able to come back and pull Sonnen into a triangle armbar.
It was tight enough that even with so little time left on the clock, Sonnen was forced to tap out.
It only added to the legacy of Silva and showed why he is the most successful UFC champ of all time.
1. Royce Gracie vs. Gerard Gordeau: Rear Naked Choke
This was perhaps the greatest submission to ever grace the Octagon, simply because it made Gracie the first victor in the UFC tournament and cemented the greatness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
It was not the first submission, but it was the one that won the tournament and helped bring the Gracie name so much attention.
It would be the founding moment of what would become MMA and the UFC today.
It doesn't get any more legendary than that.