10 Submissions You Rarely See in MMA
The most aesthetically pleasing submissions are often the most difficult to pull off.
Low-percentage finishes typically only get executed by top-tier submission artists, fighters who’ve already nailed the techniques ad nauseam during training.
Submission virtuosos like Shinya Aoki, Nick Diaz and Frank Mir, just to name a few, have developed the proper muscle memory to nail some of the world’s most trying submissions.
Here are 10 submissions rarely seen in MMA.
10. Ninja Choke
Dan Miller certainly wasn’t the first MMA fighter to pull off a modified version of the guillotine that’s commonly referred to as the ninja choke.
Miller did, however, look awfully impressive when he snatched this odd choke on former NAIA wrestling champion John Salter at UFC 118.
Salter took a sloppy shot which left his neck exposed, giving Miller a small window to thread his right bicep under Salter’s throat and cinch up the choke. Once he locked his right hand on his left bicep to secure Salter’s neck, Miller fell to his right hip and cranked hard for a quick tap.
More often than not, when a fighter finds himself in the advantageous position of having an opponent in a front head lock, a guillotine or an arm-in guillotine typically ensues. Only creative submission wizards like Miller have the foresight to lock up the ninja choke, a hold Joe Rogan described as a rear-naked choke from the front.
9. Flying Triangle Choke
It would have been a tremendous shame if Pablo Garza wouldn't have finished his flying triangle choke at UFC 129.
He didn't look like he was going to end it with the move, but thankfully for Garza, he didn't give up on the super submission that ended Yves Jabouin with in spectacular fashion.
The flying triangle started when, with both men standing, Garza isolated Jabouin's left arm and leaped into a triangle choke.
Jabouin fought to break free from the lock on the ground, only to submit once Garza fell onto his right hip and squeezed hard to optimize the pressure of the choke.
For his artistic finish, Garza pocketed a $129,000 "Submission of the Night" bonus, the first and only of its kind for a flying triangle choke in the UFC.
8. Von Flue Choke
Appropriately named the Von Flue Choke because of its creator, Jason Von Flue, this sneaky variation of an arm triangle choke was first introduced to the UFC during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter Season 2.
Von Flue made the technique official when he choked Alexis Karalexis unconscious with his signature move at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 3.
Von Flue first escaped from a Karalexis' guillotine choke attempt before passing to side control and throwing on the choke.
With his right arm around Karalexis' neck and his left arm under his right armpit, Von Flue locked his hands and shifted the bulk of his weight to his right hip. Karalexis squirmed to try and break free but Von Flue was already set up to get in a tepee position and drove his right shoulder and all his weight onto Karalexis' left carotid artery.
As an homage to Von Flue, Brent Weedman used the submission to defeat J.J. Ambrose just over year ago at Bellator 62.
7. Peruvian Necktie
Akin to many of the strange submissions on this list, the Peruvian necktie doesn't happen often because of the inherent risk that always accompanies attempting it.
Bellator featherweight champ Pat Curran appeared poised to sink in a D'arce choke on opponent Luis Palomino at Bellator 46. But Curran abandoned the D'arce choke in favor of a Peruvian necktie.
Curran snaked his left arm under the right side of Palomino's throat and then locked his hands under his left armpit. Once his hands were locked, Curran clamped down on the submission by hopping forward and lacing his left leg over Palomino's head and his right leg on the Peruvian's back.
Palomino, ironically of Peruvian decent, can thank his countryman, Nova Uniao black belt Tony DeSouza, for coining the move that spelled his demise against Curran.
6. Reverse Calf Slicer
Slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner Charles Oliveira saw no better way to snap a three-fight winless streak in the UFC than to lock on the company’s first ever calf-slicer submission at UFC on Fox 2.
Unfortunate victim Eric Wisely slipped out of Oliveira's loose kneebar attempt and tried to spin into side control, only to get caught in a trap from "Do Bronx."
Oliveira let go of the kneebar and figure-foured his legs behind the knee of Wisely. Do Bronx then sat up, grabbed a tight waist and rocked back, almost immediately inducing a tap from Wisely, who was already writhing in pain.
A maneuver that's rarely seen in MMA, let alone in the scope of submission grappling, Oliveira illustrated a great example of how practicing chain jiu-jitsu can lead to a captivating finish.
5. The Twister
Like a proud father, Eddie Bravo reveled in watching “The Korean Zombie,” Chan-Sung Jung, execute the first twister in UFC history against Leonard Garcia at UFC Fight Night 24.
The Korean Zombie slapped on the modified neck crank from a half back-mount, which Bravo popularized in the MMA world and claimed to have learned in high school wrestling, in the final second of the second round.
For his efforts, the Korean Zombie, who admitted that he learned the maneuver watching Bravo on YouTube videos, not only garnered “Submission of the Night” honors from the UFC, he also took home the “Submission of the Year” award from the 2011 World MMA Awards.
Before The Korean Zombie made UFC history, Nick “The Goat” Thompson hit MMA’s first twister on Ricky Seleuce at Madtown Throwdown 1 in 2004.
4. Bulldog Choke
It was already too late when former UFC welterweight champion Pat Miletich realized that Carlos Newton was about to render him unconscious using a bulldog choke at UFC 31.
Miletich foolishly allowed Newton to grab what looked simply like a nasty headlock along the fence. But as Miletich attempted to spring free out the back door and take Newton’s back, the Canadian tightened his clamps and forced an unprecedented tap for the welterweight strap.
A move akin to the rear-naked choke—only done from an opponent’s side rather than his or her back—the bulldog choke is seldom seen because it’s so improbable to finish.
Unlike finishing the rear-naked choke, or even the guillotine, in which the submitter can use his or her legs to control the intended victim, controlling an opponent from escaping while trying to finish the bulldog choke is an arduous task.
For one night, however, Newton got to play school-yard bully with the bulldog choke on Miletich.
3. Flying Scissor Heel Hook
When Ryo Chonan stunned Anderson Silva with a flying scissor heel hook at Pride Shockwave 2004, “The Spider” was still in the embryonic stages of his extraordinary career.
That didn’t, however, diminish the fact that Chonan had forced a tap on a massive stage with one of the rarest and most dangerous submissions in MMA history, a feat that led to a handful of “Submission of the Year” awards from major media outlets.
Chonan applied the move in textbook fashion, dropping from an upright stance into an amazing flying scissor-lock takedown that put Silva on his rump in the third round.
The the two hit the mat and Chonan instantly hooked up an inside heel hook and wrenched, forcing an immediate tap from an already wincing Silva.
2. Toe Hold
Mir stands alone as the only fighter in UFC history to finish a fight with a toe hold, shocking Tank Abbott with the tricky foot lock way back at UFC 41 in 2003.
Mir latched his left hand onto the top of Abbott’s left foot while simultaneously wrapping his right hand tightly behind Abbott’s Achilles and onto his left wrist. Mir then cranked downward on Abbott’s toes with his left hand and squeezed hard with his right forearm on the Achilles, forcing an immediate tap.
Rarely seen as a finishing technique, the toe hold is more commonly flashed in the realm of MMA when a fighter uses the hold either to sweep or to set up a more high-percentage leg lock.
This submission hardly ever gets pulled off, and that’s primarily because it’s such a risk to attempt. It’s been over 10 years since Mir stuck it, but every once in a while a slick submission savant will give a toe hold a whirl.
It may not have been in the UFC, but last August, Japanese leglock ace Masakazu Imanari submitted Masahiro Oishi with a toe hold at Deep: 59 Impact.
Aoki and Diaz weren't the first fighters to dig deep into their repertoires to unleash gogoplatas in MMA.
However, the former Dream kingpin and the former Strikeforce champ do have the distinction of being the first and second fighters, respectively, to use this unorthodox choke on a significant stage.
Aoki struck first by slapping a gogoplata, a variation of the omoplata which is set up by using Bravo's rubber guard, on nemesis Joachim Hansen at Pride Shockwave 2006.
Less than two months later at Pride 33, "The Stockton Bad Boy" laced his left leg under Takanori Gomi's right armpit before positioning the front of his shin across Gomi's trachea. Diaz finished the technique by draping his right leg across the left side of Gomi's back and then locking his hands while simultaneously lifting his hips.
Diaz choked Gomi unconscious, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission later ruled the fight a no contest after the Californian positive for elevated marijuana metabolites. Diaz hasn't hit the submission in 15 fights following the mishap.
Aoki, on the contrary, revolutionized the submission by sticking the first gogoplata in the mount position in MMA history on former Japanese Olympic wrestler Katsuhiko Nagata at Dream 4.
The ridiculously limber Aoki established a high mount and made his move by threading his right leg over Nagata's left shoulder. Aoki then used both hands to yank on the back of his head while driving his shin into Nagata's throat.
Although Nagata tapped out, he did so an instant too late, allowing Aoki to strangle him unconscious with one of the world's most uncommon chokes.