Though inevitable, it’s still a bit tragic that we’ve reached a stage of mixed martial arts (MMA) where everyone is at least pretty good at not getting submitted. It’s not like striking, where no level of technical acumen can fully protect you from a knockout; cool, low-percentage submissions were always going to get rarer and rarer as the years went by. Modern MMA Brazilian jiu-jitsu has pared down the unnecessary bits into a handful of reliable finishing tools, namely front chokes and the immortal rear-naked choke. The days of, “anyone can get submitted from anywhere” are over, as the risk/reward ratio has gotten too lopsided.
Some folks, though, managed to recapture a bit of the old magic. Here are MMAmania.com’s 2022 “Submissions of the Year” ...
5. Jiri Prochazka at the Buzzer
There were a number of conventional submission finishes that earned some consideration for the circumstances surrounding them. Matt Schnell, Douglas Silva de Andrade and Paul Craig all hit clutch come-from behind finishes, with Schnell’s in particular being incredibly dramatic.
In the end, though, I had to go with Prochazka. Hitting a last-minute sub on arguably the best jiu-jitsu player in the Light Heavyweight division after 24 minutes of absolute hell deserves some recognition.
4. Jessica Andrade Puts on the Squeeze
Standing arm triangles tend to be in the omoplata school of, “yeah, this ain’t getting anywhere.” It’s just flat-out not easy to choke someone when you’ve got zero control of their body.
Turns out the solution is to just squeeze really, really hard. Jessica Andrade has always been an absolute tank, but this was something else, especially against another very capable ground artist and physical monster in Amanda Lemos.
3. Zhang Weili Serves the Special
There’s a lot you can say about Carla Esparza, but it’s indisputable that she’s a phenomenal grappler. Her wrestling and top control have been ruining top UFC strawweights’ days for eight years now, and her only submission defeat came to 20-0 legend Megumi Fujii in Esparza’s fourth pro fight.
Zhang Weili didn’t just tap her out, she did so from the crucifix with one of the rarest forms of rear-naked choke: the Kadowaki Special. Not bad for a knockout artist.
2. Oliver Enkamp Goes Buggy-Ish
One of submission grappling’s hip “new” things is the buggy choke, one of the very few offensive options available to you in bottom side control. It’s seen mixed results in MMA; there’s footage of a guy getting slammed into past while attempting it and another wrecking his own arm.
At Bellator 281, UFC veteran Oliver Enkamp hit something that the announcers called a buggy choke on Mark Lemminger, turning an unfavorable position into an out-of-nowhere finish. The truth may actually be more impressive: it was our old pal the inverted triangle, which we haven’t seen much of since Liam McGeary’s heyday.
1. Stevie Ray Ends “Showtime”
Maybe now the UFC announcers will stop referencing Ivan Salaverry vs. Tony Fryklund every time someone gets a body triangle. Stevie Ray damn near squeezed Anthony Pettis’ organs out of his chest, and for his opportunism and creativity, he gets the top spot on this list.
What Was The Best UFC/MMA Submission of 2022?
This poll is closed
Jiri Prochazka’s Rear Naked Choke
Jessica Andrade’s Standing Arm Triangle
Zhang Weili’s Kadowaki Special
Oliver Enkamp’s Inverted Triangle
Stevie Ray’s Body Triangle
Other (let us know in the comments!)
- Matt Schnell (rear naked choke) Sumudaerji
- Douglas Silva de Andrade (rear-naked choke) Sergey Morozov
- Paul Craig (triangle choke) Nikita Krylov
- Aleksei Oleinik (kesa gatame) Jared Vanderaa