Submission of the Year Watch: September 2013 Edition
2013 has provided many taps through nine and a half months. A variety of submissions have been on display from various high-level athletes. It has been hard to narrow down the best of the year to date.
Ronda Rousey's first-round armbar over Liz Carmouche, Kenny Robertson's Suloev Stretch and Fabricio Werdum's armbar over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira do not crack the top 10. That is the caliber of submissions this year.
As with any list, there is subjectivity, but to get on this list there needs to be something more than just a standard submission. High stakes, an extremely impressive performance or a combination of the two will land you on this watch list.
As the calendar starts to near the end, this is the watch list for Submission of the Year.
No. 5: Rose Namajunas, Invicta FC 5
Rose Namajunas was more famous for being Pat Barry's girlfriend at the time, but she would quickly make her mark in the strawweight division.
She made her pro MMA debut at Invicta FC 4. Namajunas was thought to be more of a striker, but she ended the fight via submission with a rear-naked choke. Emily Kagan was forced to tap in the third round. It would earn her the Submission of the Night.
Namajunas made a quick turnaround to compete at Invicta FC 5, where Kathina Catron was her opponent. Twelve seconds into the fight, Catron would be tapping out to a spectacular submission.
Namajunas nailed a flying armbar. The electric submission moved her out of Pat Barry's shadow and made her one of the top females to watch in the sport. The submission remains one of the best of 2013.
No. 4: Jacare Souza, UFC on FX 8
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the sport. Submitting Chris Camozzi at UFC on FX 8 was not a shock. However, the manner in which he did it earns him a spot on the watch list.
Camozzi isn't a Top-10 middleweight, but he is a solid fighter that is well-rounded. He was supposed to at least test Jacare. The debut of the former Strikeforce middleweight made Camozzi look like a bottom of the barrel fighter.
Jacare got Camozzi on the floor, locked him in the arm-triangle and put him to sleep. Quickly. Very quickly.
Jacare's grip on the choke didn't give Camozzi time to tap. He passed out before he could do anything else. That high-level performance from Jacare was stellar.
No. 3: Chael Sonnen, UFC Fight Night 26
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Chael Sonnen has always had an underrated submission game. He prefers to ground-and-pound round after round, and he has gone up against his fair share of excellent jiu-jitsu fighters, as well.
The main event to the first Fight Night on Fox Sports 1 was to pit Sonnen against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Rua was noted for his submission attacks, as well as his knockout power. Sonnen was going to have to wrestle him to a decision, or so many thought.
Late in the first round, Sonnen grabbed a hold of Shogun's neck and dropped down for the guillotine. He had it.
Shogun tapped. It was an unexpected finish in a highly important bout in the light heavyweight division.
No. 2: Michelle Waterson, Invicta FC 5
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Invicta FC
The main event to Invicta FC 5 was champion Jessica Penne defending her Invicta FC Atomweight Championship against Michelle Waterson.
Penne was the grappler, Waterson the striker.
In the first round, Waterson won the grappling exchanges, but Penne rebounded later. Penne held her own and scored on the feet, and Waterson would survive on the mat, as well. It was a thrilling bout with a title on the line. It had it all.
Waterson then came through with one of the most surprising finishes of 2013.
Halfway through the fourth round, Waterson locked in an armbar—seemingly out of nowhere. Penne was forced to tap and relinquish her championship strap.
The submission is one of the best of 2013 for everything that preceded it: the high stakes of a title fight and the high drama of a back-and-forth battle.
And it all ended with a quick armbar from "The Karate Hottie."
No. 1: Anthony Pettis, UFC 164
UFC 164 was headlined by a UFC Lightweight Championship fight between champion Benson Henderson and challenger Anthony Pettis.
Much was made of their previous fight back in the WEC, in which Pettis won by decision, and speculation turned to how this fight would play out.
Henderson is an ultra-tough lightweight that had only been finished once before. He had survived multiple tough submission positions throughout his career, and he had created a sense that he was unable to be submitted in a fight. He was "Bendo."
Pettis was supposed to win by knockout or decision. Instead, he shocked the MMA community with a dominant performance.
Pettis laced Henderson's body with four straight body kicks, and then was able to catch the armbar not too long after. Henderson was unable to get out this time and was forced to tap. In just 4:31, Pettis took the gold away from Henderson, again, and moved to the top of the Submission of the Year watch list.