While 2011 saw the UFC's first twister submission performed by Chan-Sung Jung against Leonard Garcia, 2012 has seen its share of spectacular submission finishes as well. Charles Oliveira even provided another UFC first with a calf slicer against Eric Wisely.
In the first six months of the year, several fighters have utilized submission holds to complete exciting come-from-behind victories. Most notably, Martin Kampmann and Jim Miller earned steps up in competition with their respective submissions against Thiago Alves and Melvin Guillard.
Let's take a look at where these stoppages fall among the 10 best UFC submissions of the first half of 2011.
Heading into his bout with Jacob Volkmann in May, the undefeated Paul Sass had won 11 of his 12 fights with one of two different submissions—a triangle choke or heel hook. Volkmann knew exactly what was coming, but he still couldn't defend against it.
Less than two minutes into the fight, Volkmann found himself tapping due to a triangle armbar, which earned Sass UFC 146 Submission of the Night honors.
Though he was caught in the predictable submission, it's not as if Volkmann was an easy opponent to submit. The former University of Minnesota wrestler is skilled on the ground and had only been submitted by Martin Kampmann prior to his loss against Sass.
In March, T.J. Walburger opened his year in impressive fashion by securing an armbar against Jake Hecht. In the middle of a scramble for positioning, Waldburger transitioned seamlessly to an armbar and forced a tap from Hecht, who was coming off of a win voer Rich Attonito in his UFC debut.
The submission affirmed the belief that Waldburger could become one of the more dangerous submission artists in the welterweight division. In his following fight, Waldburger suffered a decision loss against Brian Ebersole, but not without threatening his opponent several times off of his back.
After defeating Justin Edwards in his UFC debut, John Maguire was matched up against DaMarques Johnson in April. Late in the second round of his sophomore bout inside the Octagon, Maguire found himself fighting off a kimura attempt by Johnson.
However, Maguire expertly countered the kimura with an armbar of his own. Johnson was forced to tap with 20 seconds left in the round, giving Maguire his seventh consecutive victory.
Though Rousimar Palhares' opponents all know the Brazilian is gunning for a leg lock, they are very seldom able to prevent the inevitable. While Alan Belcher was recently able to avoid getting caught in a Palhares submission on the ground, Mike Massenzio wasn't nearly as fortunate in January.
After shooting in for a double-leg takedown on Massenzio, Palhares dropped down for a heel hook and quickly forced Massenzio to tap. The leg lock marked Palhares' fifth submission in seven UFC victories.
In February, Dustin Poirier had to deal with two opponent changes before finally meeting UFC newcomer Max Holloway at UFC 143. Despite having to make late adjustments in his game planning due to the switches, Poirier was dominant.
It took Poirier less than three-and-a-half minutes to lock up a mounted triangle choke-armbar combination that forced Holloway to submit. The victory ended up earning Poirier a headline fight with Chan-Sung Jung, though he would go on to lose that fight.
Ivan Menjivar picked up wins in the first two fights of his second stint with the UFC and looked to be on track toward becoming a contender in the bantamweight division.
However, John Albert nearly brought Menjivar's rise to an abrupt halt in the opening round of a February bout between the 135-pound fighters. After getting rocked by a head kick, Menjivar was able to survive and complete a reversal to take Albert's back.
From there, Menjivar locked up a rear-naked choke to complete an outstanding comeback win.
Like Ivan Menjivar, Vaughan Lee executed a first-round comeback to secure one of the most impressive submissions of 2012.
After being hurt with a right hook from the heavy-handed Norifumi Yamamoto, Lee swayed the momentum with a big knee. Rocked from Lee's knee, Yamamoto was forced to take the fight to the ground. However, soon after he completed his takedown, Yamamoto found himself caught in a triangle choke attempt.
The Japanese fighter defended the submission initially, but he was forced to tap soon after Lee transitioned to an armbar.
After losing to Benson Henderson in a bout that could have put him in the front of the line for a shot at the lightweight title, Jim Miller met another 155-pound fighter who had just taken a step in Melvin Guillard.
The athletic Guillard came out strong against Miller and had the New Jersey native hurt, but Miller was able to gather himself and take the fight to the ground, where Guillard has notoriously had trouble avoiding submissions. In another opening round rebound, Miller locked up a rear-naked choke to get back into the win column.
Martin Kampmann was down on the scorecards through the first two rounds of his bout with Thiago Alves in March. "The Hitman" needed a third-round stoppage, or he would likely have suffered a third loss in a four-fight span.
With less than a minute left in the fight, Kampmann had still not come close to finishing Alves and was even rocked by the Brazilian. However, Alves made an ill-advised decision to try to take the fight to the ground and was immediately caught in a Hail Mary guillotine choke.
Kampmann turned the submission attempt into a mounted guillotine and forced Alves to tap. With the win, Kampmann earned a fight with Jake Ellenberger, who he also defeated to become one of the top two contenders in the welterweight division.
In 2011, Chan-Sung Jung performed the first ever twister submission inside the Octagon. In 2012, Charles Oliveira will likely finish with the Submission of the Year for becoming the first fighter to ever stop an opponent in the UFC with a calf slicer.
Fighting at featherweight for the first time in his career, Oliveira was in the middle of a wild scramble for positioning with Eric Wisely when he surprised his opponent with the submission attempt. Wisely grimaced as he tried to fight off the painful submission, but he was eventually forced to tap.