Submission of the Year Watch: October 2013 Edition
In 2013, three UFC title fights have been won via submission.
Anthony Pettis most recently joined that short list with an armbar to dethrone Benson Henderson. Demetrious Johnson and Ronda Rousey also secured armbars to defend the flyweight and women's bantamweight championships, respectively.
Forcing opponents to tap in such important fights has made these three fighters contenders in the race for Submission of the Year. Are any of them leading the pack as the calendar turns to November, though?
Here are the five best submissions in MMA from the past 10 months.
5. Josh Burkman
Event: World Series of Fighting 3
Opponent: Jon Fitch
Submission Method: Guillotine choke
Years after being released from the world's top MMA promotion with a 5-5 UFC record, Josh Burkman has emerged as the face of a major organization.
Wins over Gerald Harris and Aaron Simpson put Burkman in a position to welcome former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch to the World Series of Fighting. Although Burkman was considered a massive underdog heading into the bout, he made the most of his opportunity.
Less than one minute into the contest, Burkman locked up a tight guillotine choke and put Fitch to sleep. In becoming the first fighter to submit Fitch in more than a decade, Burkman became recognized as one of the world's top welterweights competing outside of the Octagon, but he recently suffered a setback against Steve Carl in a bout for the inaugural World Series of Fighting welterweight belt.
4. Demetrious Johnson
Event: UFC on Fox 8
Opponent: John Moraga
Submission Method: Armbar
After going to the scorecards in seven straight fights, Demetrious Johnson was growing a reputation as fighter who couldn't finish.
In his second defense of the UFC flyweight title, Johnson silenced his critics with an armbar in the closing minutes of the fifth and final round. In submitting John Moraga, Johnson also secured victories over the top four contenders in his division.
At the TUF 18 finale, Johnson will look for a second win over Joseph Benavidez. The first meeting between "Mighty Mouse" and Benavidez was tightly contested, ending in a split-decision victory for Johnson.
3. Anthony Pettis
Event: UFC 164
Opponent: Benson Henderson
Submission Method: Armbar
Though Anthony Pettis beat him in the final fight in WEC history, Benson Henderson went on to fight for the UFC title before the final WEC lightweight champion.
It took some time, but Pettis eventually earned a rematch with Henderson and a shot at the UFC's 155-pound strap. Knowing how hard title shots are to come by, Pettis made the most of his opportunity and caught Henderson with an armbar in the first round.
Pettis' first title defense will come against Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 9.
2. Rose Namajunas
Event: Invicta FC 5
Opponent: Kathina Catron
Submission Method: Flying armbar
Girlfriend of UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, Rose Namajunas is quickly becoming one of the more popular fighters in women's MMA. While having a notable significant other doesn't hurt in that area, it has really been Namajunas' performances inside the cage that have caught the attention of fans.
At Invicta FC 5, Namajunas picked up her second pro MMA win with a spectacular finish.
Only seconds into her bout with Kathina Catron, Namajunas attempted a rare flying armbar and ended up securing it once she hit the ground. Although it didn't occur in a high-profile fight, Namajunas is definitely worthy of consideration for Submission of the Year after scoring this flashy submission win.
1. Kenny Robertson
Event: UFC 157
Opponent: Brock Jardine
Submission Method: Ham ripper
It takes something special for a preliminary card fighter to be mentioned in Submission of the Year talks, and Kenny Robertson really pulled off a jaw-dropping submission at UFC 157.
After taking Brock Jardine's back in the first round, Robertson sunk in his hooks. However, where most people would have begun pounding away with punches or trying to sink in a rear-naked choke, Robertson decided to do something completely different.
Seeing Jardine's leg extended outward, Robertson grabbed near the ankle and began to extend his opponent's leg, causing immense hamstring strain. It was the first ham ripper ever used inside the Octagon.