The 25 Most Painful Submissions in MMA
For mixed martial arts' fans with an affinity for the ground game, there is nothing sweeter than seeing a technically savvy grappler submit his opponent.
These moves are not only a thing of beauty, but excruciatingly painful as well.
With so many variations of locks and chokes available in MMA, there are an abundance of techniques to force an opponent to tap out.
Here are the 25 most painful submission moves in the sport today.
25. Arm-Triangle Choke
This vicious blood choke has been used many times inside the Octagon.
Forcing the arm against the arteries in the neck, the arm-triangle choke can put an opponent to sleep in seconds.
Most notably, Brock Lesnar came back from a brutal beating to defeat challenger Shane Carwin at UFC 116 with this choke.
With arms of that size, I can't even imagine how much a choke by Lesnar would hurt.
24. Rear Naked Choke
As is the case with most chokes, the rear naked choke may not be the most painful, but the results are impressive none the less.
Stopping blood from going to the brain, the person being choked out slowly goes to sleep on the mat.
A simple, yet vicious technique, this move has been used over and over again inside the cage and never seems to lose its luster.
23. Pace Choke
A move invented in the heat of battle inside of the UFC's Octagon, the Pace choke is one of the more interesting submissions on the list.
Bantamweight Nick Pace is credited with the move's creation, an attack that just came to the fighter as he took on Will Campuzano at the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale.
The move combines elements of a triangle and a forearm choke to squeeze the opponent's neck. This is definitely a painful hold that flexible fighters can use.
22. D'Arce Choke
The D'Arce choke was the brain child of Renzo Gracie blackbelt Joe D'Arce who was using this variation of the arm triangle to win a bunch of grappling tournaments.
During a sparring session with Jason "Mayhem" Miller, the UFC middleweight got caught in the choke and suggested using D'Arce's name for the move which had yet to obtain a name.
Now known by fighters around the world, the choke has been used with great success inside the cage.
21. Banana Split
This move has rarely been used in MMA, but its uniqueness and ability to induce pain make it worthy of the list.
The banana split forces the opponent's legs apart, causing pressure on the leg joints and ligaments. The move does not always result in a tapout, but less flexible opponents surely find it unpleasant.
Most notably, Jason "Mayhem" Miller used the technique against Hiromitsu Miura at WEC 27.
20. Ninja Choke
In the video above, Shuichiro Katsumura introduced the MMA world to the ninja choke which forced Masakatsu Ueda to tap, winning Katsumura the Shooto featherweight crown.
A variation on the guillotine choke, this rubber guard attack gained praise from 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo who gave Katsumura respect for the move.
A creative submission from the guard, this technique is not only sneaky, but painful as well.
19. Wrist Lock
Although not widely used because of the type small gloves, the wrist lock is a dangerous move that can be pulled off inside the cage.
The technique puts pressure on the tiny joints, making pain almost instant.
In the picture above, MMA legend and pioneer Royce Gracie used the move to make Akebono Taro tap in 2004.
One of the first submissions that every aspiring mixed martial artist learns, the armbar's success rate and deadliness make it a lethal move.
The traditional armbar, whether from guard or mount, extends the opponent's arm, hyper-extending it at the elbow. Fighters too proud to tap end up walking away with their arm completely broken.
One of the most effective submissions in the game, the armbar is also quite unpleasant to be stuck in.
17. Anaconda Choke
Another variation on the arm triangle choke, the anaconda choke is as painful as it sounds.
Deriving its name from the deadly Amazonian snake known for crushing the life out of its prey, the anaconda choke is a vicious head and arm choke that can put even the most resisting of opponents to sleep.
The anaconda choke is by far one of the more deadlier techniques in a grappler's arsenal.
16. Triangle Choke
The triangle is one of the most deadly techniques that can be pulled off from the guard.
Utilizing the legs to isolate an opponent's head and arm, the choke uses the controlled shoulder and cuts off the arteries around the neck, many time putting them to sleep.
A dangerous move against fighters who like to power bomb, the triangle still is one of the most effective moves on the ground.
15. Peruvian Necktie
An intricate choke that will leave an opponent gasping for air, the Peruvian necktie is one of the more difficult submissions to pull off.
The attacker uses his legs to control the opponent and put pressure on their head while his arms are grasped around the neck. The extra pressure derived from the legs makes it a painful hold to get stuck in.
Only successfully pulled off a hand full of times inside the cage, the Peruvian necktie is one of those difficult yet dangerous moves.
14. Guillotine Choke
The guillotine choke is of the most widely known techniques in the sport.
Done usually from guard or standing, the guillotine choke is the kryptonite to careless fighters who leave their necks out.
Combining the crank with an artery choke, this move is not one to get caught in.
13. Achilles' Lock
Any type of foot lock draws the ire of most fighters because they know the type of pain it induces.
With the Achilles' lock, the attack cranks on the small joints at the rear of the ankle, sometimes resulting in serious injury for the opponent.
Pain is almost immediate with this move, which can also turn into a break in an instant.
12. Neck Crank
Unlike the choke, neck cranks attack the spinal chord in the neck to induce pain.
Forcing the opponent to over twist their heads, tapping out is a must to avoid serious neck injuries.
Neck cranks are one of the scariest submissions to get trapped in.
A favorite of such advanced grapplers as Shinya Aoki and Nick Diaz, the gogoplata is a variation of the omoplata that includes attacking the neck.
The traditional gogoplata is actually a shoulder lock, but the popularized variation in MMA is what fans known best.
The move involves wrapping the leg around the opponent's arm while putting the ankle underneath their neck. Using the hands to pull on the opponent's neck, the uncomfortable position is hard to defend.
Requiring a solid rubber guard and a bit of flexibility, the gogoplata is one of the most creative holds in the game.
The Americana is one of the most painful shoulder locks in MMA.
Hyperextending the arm past the opponent's head, the Americana can pop a shoulder and damage the arm if locked in fully.
Used from mount and side control, the Americana can also lead to kimuras and armbars if the first attempt is unsuccessful.
9. Reverse Armbar
Armbars are painful, but looking at the reversal of the move makes it seem excruciating.
The reverse armbar bends the arm in the opposite direction of the traditional armbar, still attacking the elbow but from another angle.
I'd hate to get stuck in this tricky move.
8. Toe Hold
The toe hold submission is one of the most feared attacks against the legs and feet.
Cranking on the ankle by putting pressure on the foot, the toe hold can break the small joints if the opponent does not tap.
Former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir is a master of this move, showing that even the big guys can be just as technical at grappling as the smaller fighters.
7. Calf Slicer
Slicers of any kind are painful, but the calf slicer is one of the worst.
A compression lock that uses ones wrists or ankles to put pressure on the muscles and the joints. Calf slicers have been known to separate joints, furthering the pain.
This powerful move is another leg attack fighters fear.
The omoplata shoulder lock is one of the more advanced techniques to pull off inside the cage that is excruciating to be stuck in if pulled off correctly.
Usually attempted from guard, this lock attacks the shoulder by isolating an arm using the legs.
A shoulder popping out should be a major concern if the lock is too tight to roll out of.
In all sports, injuries to the knee are devastating to an athlete's career.
In MMA, kneebars are the usual culprit for inducing this injury.
The lock involves hyperextending the leg at the knee joint using an armbar-like motion with the arms. Fighters who like to attack the legs love this submission move.
Only seen a handful of times within the professional rankings, the hammerlock is a vicious shoulder attack that conjures up images of police taking in a suspect.
The move involves putting the arm behind an opponent's back and pushing the wrist and hand towards the back of the neck. This, in turn, puts pressure on the shoulder in just a brutal fashion.
Shinya Aoki is a whiz at this move which is effective as it is painful.
3. Heel Hook
Heel hooks are plain brutal.
Twisting the tiny joints in the ankle by cranking on the heel causes way too much pain for my liking.
Even Anderson Silva could not resist tapping to it, although to be fair, he was caught a bit off guard by the whole flying scissor takedown thing.
Cemented into UFC history as the only man to successfully pull of the Twister, UFC Featherweight Chan Sung Jung made Eddie Bravo proud when he won his rematch with Leonard Garcia with the move.
An attack from back control, the move cranks on the neck while twisting the body in the opposite direction, quickly putting pressure on the spine.
A truly vicious submission, the Twister will forever remain a part of "the Korean Zombie's" legacy.
Not the flashiest of moves nor the most complicated, the kimura takes the cake because of its effectiveness and pain inducing ability.
Kazushi Sakuraba showed just how brutal this move is when he broke Renzo Gracie's arm with the submission at Pride 10. Gracie refused to tap and even pleaded to continue despite requiring his injured arm to be placed into a sling.
This technique is lethal as it attacks the elbow and shoulder of an opponent.
The kimura is definitely one of the most painful moves in the game.