Was that the Submission of the Year in MMA in 2009? I don't know. I loved Demian Maia's triangle choke on Chael Sonnen at UFC 95. I loved Toby Imada's inverted triangle choke on Jorge Masvidal at Bellator 4. I loved Alan Belcher's guillotine on Denis Kang at UFC 93. I loved Joe Lauzon's armbar on Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 17. I've loved a lot of submissions this year.
And yet there was just something special about Sakuraba's submission, because it didn't just win him the fight, it may have saved the career of the Japanese legend. If Galesic had continued pummeling Sakuraba and beaten him by first-round TKO, could Dream have even continued to put the 40-year-old Sakuraba in the ring anymore?
Maybe they could have, but it would have seemed like cruelty. But Sakuraba shocked everyone by hanging onto Galesic's leg for dear life and forcing him to tap with a kneebar, and as a result we'll probably get to see Sakuraba fight again on New Year's Eve and look at him with admiration rather than pity. It was an incredible showing and, if not the most technically perfect submission of the year, my personal favorite.
If you missed Dream 12, it will re-air on HDNet Friday at 10:30 PM ET.