Ultimate Submissions: Urijah Faber and Chris Weidman leave no room for escape at UFC 139


While on paper, the UFC 139 pay-per-view card wasn’t the flashiest of the year, it ended up being one of the more action-packed and must-see events in recent memory. From an exciting finish by young up-and-comer Michael McDonald to a much needed knockout victory for Ryan Bader, the card delivered from top to bottom.

A lot of talk has been focused on the technical knockout win by Wanderlei Silva over Cung Le and the "Fight of the Century" candidate bout between legends Dan Henderson and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Missed in all of the excitement were two bouts that happened prior to the main and co-main event.

There is something to be said about the impressiveness that comes when you watch a fighter with a world of hype on their shoulders deliver again (and again) in an emphatic nature and similarly when you watch a fighter gasp onto another breath of relevance with a very dominating performance.

Both of those situations were witnessed on November 19, 2011, during the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) 139th numbered pay-per-view event.

And it was as technical as it was memorable.

Follow me into the extended entry for more on the fights, gifs and breakdowns. 

Last, week prior to UFC 139, I broke down the D’arce Choke in the "Ultimate Submissions" weekly series. I didn’t think the breakdown would be useful as fast as it was.

From that post:

The D’arce Choke is named after Joe D’arce, a black belt under Renzo Gracie who has claimed to learn the move from John Danaher and Marc Laimon. It is simply stated a modified head-and-arm choke. The choke also has been called a Brabo Choke and regardless of what you call it or how it is set up, the chokes are basically the same thing.

Chris Weidman, the NCAA All-American wrestler used that choke to claim yet another victory in his impressive run as a top prospect. At 7-0 in his professional career, Weidman continues to impress as this will be his second first-round stoppage in three fights within the UFC.

The D’arce is a favorite amongst many wrestlers as they are very familiar with the position the choke is set up in and tend to be very dangerous when they have the head or neck in any sort of stack position.  

Before we start, let me first give a thank you to Zombie Prophet for the .gifs. Check out his site ( -- he has .gifs and videos of fights up faster than anyone else on the 'net.


Weidman already starts working the D’arce with his left arm woven between the arm and body through the arm pit of opponent Tom Lawlor. As he does, he pushes it all the way across the throat until he is able to grab onto his right bicep.

At this point the choke is locked in and the suffocation process has started. In all reality, Weidman can very well end the fight in this position. As we saw in this fanpost breaking down the power in submissions, Weidman has the power in his submissions to really drive through and finish. However, taking no chances, Weidman rolls onto his right shoulder, which drives Lawlor down to the mat taking away any chance of leverage.

In order to create a scramble or escape opportunity there has to be room and leverage of some sort. To generate power or create an opening you must be able to utilize whatever it is you can, whether it is a short explosion from your knees or a technique involving your arms to push away. Weidman leaves no options for Lawlor expect submit or go to sleep.

Even though Weidman has now planted Lawlor in a bad position, he still angles his hips and actually gets his leg over the body of Lawlor which adds insanely more torque and an angle that is nearly impossible to escape. With that added to the power already in Weidman’s submissions, Lawlor goes to sleep, unconscious from the choke.

Weidman, in classy fashion checks on his opponent and leaves the Octagon with another impressive victory.

From an up-and-coming prospect to an established veteran fighting and clinging on for relevance in a very tough division to stay atop of.

Urijah Faber is one of the most recognizable figures in the 135 and 145-pound divisions. As the champion of the featherweights, Faber made his career beating up and terrorizing his opponents with his powerful wrestling and dominant grappling.

Faber actually has 14 submissions victories in his career which is over half of his wins overall.

He would fight the former champion, Brian Bowles, in what would be yet another number one contender fight as Faber would try to earn himself a third bout with current champion and rival Dominick Cruz.  


One of the more impressive aspects of Faber’s game is his ability to overwhelm his opponents, which forces them to make mistakes. I have detailed his chokes previously and anyone who has watched Faber knows his power is immense and he always looks to grab onto a choke.  

What you see above is a typical Faber dominating performance. He has Bowles hurt and continues to swarm, he throws elbows until Bowles attempts to scramble and Faber leaves no room for escape as he makes himself heavy in the sprawl position and latches onto the choke.

As soon as Faber latches onto the choke Faber angles out to his left and pulls back on the choke. He does this to gain a top position. Faber swings back and with his good hips he maneuvers smoothly into a mounted position.


From my post on the Guillotine Choke

The guillotine is a choke favorable against wrestlers because it punishes your opponent if they shoot in for a takedown with their head down. While there are other ways to complete the choke, this is often the most common. The most basic way to describe the choke is when you reach around your opponent’s neck when it is in range, grasp the choking side hand with the free hand and lift up.

You can complete the choke from a number of positions including the mount, full guard, the sprawl position and even standing up. The choke itself can actually be either a blood choke or an air choke depending on how you are placed onto your opponent’s neck. If your forearm pressure is putting force into the wind pipes it will be an air choke and if it is placed more on the arteries you have a blood choke.

Regardless, the guillotine will usually force your opponent quickly into unconsciousness if s/he doesn’t tap.

A mounted guillotine will finish the fight 99-percent of the time.

Faber sits heavy on the chest of Bowles while keeping the choke tight and really applies the pressure in power, angle and leverage. He even semi-traps the arm of Bowles to prevent any sort of desperation heave or explosion. Faber, knowing this may be his last hope to stay atop the sport in his respective division, left no room for error.

Could Faber have finished the choke from his back? Sure, he has done it before and he had Bowles badly rocked. However, Faber took zero chances in allowing Bowles to somehow escape.

Both Faber and Weidman had pressure atop their shoulders for two completely different reasons but both had one thing in common: They knew they needed to win and they assured themselves of victory by not allowing errors to be made on their part and choked the air out of the competition.

That is what coming through in the clutch is all about.

For complete UFC 139 results and blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action click here and here.

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