The Most Prolific Submission Artists in Pride History
When Pride Fighting Championships was an active organization, their rules for fighting on the ground were a little different than the Unified Rules that we know today. In Pride, fighters were able to use kicks and knees to grounded opponents.
That changes the dynamic of the ground game and submissions. Positions like side control and north-south can be very dangerous on defense, but you have more tools to use on offense.
Those strikes can open up submission opportunities, and some of these guys were masters at that.
In Pride, it wasn't just the little guys who could score submissions. Some of the best submission artists were heavyweights.
Let's take a look at the most prolific submission artists in Pride history.
- Shinya Aoki
- Josh Barnett
- Ikuhisa Minowa
Shinya Aoki only had four fights with Pride in 2006 and 2007, but Aoki won all four with submissions. His first win came via triangle choke, his second win came via flying triangle choke and his third win came via gogoplata. He pulled off some cool stuff.
During Josh Barnett's time in Pride, he had nine fights, including three against Mirko Cro Cop, two against Minotauro Nogueira and a few other top competitors. Barnett submitted Mark Hunt with a Kimura and Alexander Emelianenko with an Americana.
Ikuhisa Minowa, also known as Minowaman, had 17 fights with Pride between 2003 and 2006. Minowa submitted Stefan Leko, Kimo Leopoldo, Gilbert Yvel and Eric Esch—also known as Butterbean.
- Heath Herring
- Paulo Filho
Heath Herring had 17 fights with Pride between 2000 and 2004. Herring fought—and lost to—Minotauro Nogueira for the heavyweight title in 2001. He scored a submission in his first Pride fight against Tom Erikson. His most notable submission came over Paulo César da Silva, also known as Giant Silva.
Pride veteran and former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho had eight fights with the organization from 2002 through 2006. In those eight fights, Filho went undefeated with three decisions and the five submissions.
Filho should have fought in the final of the 2006 Welterweight Grand Prix, but a knee injury kept him out of the final fight. Kazuo Misaki, who he submitted earlier in the night, went on to win.
Hidehiko Yoshida had 12 fights in Pride between 2002 and 2006, earning a record of 6-5-1, taking down some impressive fighters during his run.
In Yoshida's first career fight, which took place in Pride, he scored a technical submission over Don Frye in just over five minutes. Yoshida also submitted Mark Hunt in just over five minutes, and Tank Abbott in just under eight.
Yoshida also fought Wanderlei Silva twice, losing by split decision the first time and unanimous decision the second. He also faced off against Mirko Cro Cop, a fight Cro Cop won by TKO from leg kicks.
Yoshida's most notable bout was arguably his fight against Royce Gracie at Pride Shockwave 2003. The fight was fought under special rules, so when it ended at the end of the second round, it was declared a draw.
Fedor Emelianenko is a name that almost every MMA fan knows. Fedor had 15 fights in Pride between 2002 and 2006. He won the heavyweight title in just his third fight with the organization, beating Minotauro Nogueira by unanimous decision.
Fedor took part in the 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix, and he submitted Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman and Naoya Ogawa. He would win the tournament with a second unanimous decision victory over Minotauro Nogueira.
In Fedor's last three fights with Pride, he submitted Zuluzinho with punches, Mark Coleman with an armbar for a second time and Mark Hunt with a Kimura to defend his title.
- Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira
- Kazushi Sakuraba
Two fighters are tied for the most submissions in Pride history, and these two are both absolute legends of the organization.
Minotauro Nogueira had 21 fights in Pride, from 2001 until 2006. Nogueira won the heavyweight title in his third fight with the organization via a unanimous decision victory over Heath Herring. His two fights before that were submissions over Gary Goodridge and Mark Coleman that took less than nine minutes combined.
In 2002, Nogueira submitted Enson Inoue, Bob Sapp, Semmy Schilt and Dan Henderson. He also scored a knockout victory in a different organization.
In 2003, Nogueira submitted Mirko Cro Cop to win the interim heavyweight title. Nogueira's fastest submission in Pride was his last, when he submitted Zuluzinho in 2:17.
The second fighter with 11 submissions is Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba had 27 fights with Pride from 1998 until 2005, having fought at Pride 2.
Sakuraba was known for fighting anyone at any weight class, and although he fought as low as welterweight, he took on more than his fair share of heavyweights.
In 2003, Sakuraba submitted Kevin Randleman via armbar. The same year, he faced—and lost to—Wanderlei Silva and Rogerio Nogueira.
In 2001, he submitted Rampage Jackson in just under six minutes.
Sakuraba was also known for fighting the Gracies. He scored wins over Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie and Ryan Gracie. He even submitted two of them.