In March, "The Korean Zombie" Chan-Sung Yung utilized a Twister to submit Leonard Garcia, demonstrating that there are still new submissions to master in this ever-evolving game of MMA 17-plus years after the inaugural UFC.
Since the Twister has already been covered in our Half-Year awards, let's take a closer look at a recent submission that's just as worthy as being called the Submission of the Year.
No. 2: Frank Mir breaks Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's arm (UFC 140 on Dec. 10)
Long considered as one of the best heavyweight Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira went over 12 years and 42 fights before he finally fell prey to a submission maneuver.
It all went down in a rematch earlier this month against Frank Mir at UFC 140. Nogueira had Mir rocked and was seemingly close to finishing Mir on the ground with punches. However, Nogueira took the risk to attempt a guillotine choke (giving up position in the process) rather than maintain control on top with punches.
Mir escaped, and that was all he needed to turn the fight around. Nogueira tried to hit the switch to take Mir's back but Mir held on to stay on top. Mir then applied a kimura and hopped over to side mount. Nogueira tried rolling as an escape but Mir followed him, holding onto the move, breaking the Brazilian great's right arm and forcing him to tap.
It wasn't inconceivable that Nogueira would lose by submission. All the best grapplers are likely to submit at some point when fighting top flight competition. And Mir is no slouch on the ground. He's been tapping out BJJ black belts since his UFC debut 10 years ago at UFC 34.
The distinguishing characteristic of this finish comes from Nogueira's unwillingness to tap until his arm had already been broken. In a sport with no shortage of punishing sights, the image of Nogueira's bent arm went above disturbing, and into cringe-worthy.
No. 3: Richard Hale repeats Toby Imada's inverted triangle choke (Bellator 58 on March 26)
In March, Richard Hale made his Bellator debut with a submission as if he were a fighter 50 pounds lighter. The Bellator light heavyweight performed the 2009 Submission of the Year popularized by Toby Imada. While hanging upside down, resting on top of opponent Nik Fekete's shoulders, Hale locked in a triangle choke to render Fekete unconscious. Hale put himself on the map by making the best out of an atypical, undesirable position.
No. 4: Jon Jones chokes out Lyoto Machida (UFC 140 on Dec. 10)
In line with Mir's finish against Nogueira, Jon Jones' modified guillotine came after trailing against his opponent and produced an impressive win with a brutal finish. After knocking down Lyoto Machida in the second round and with Machida trying for the takedown to reset, Jones grabbed a front headlock and drove Machida standing against the fence. Jones then applied a modified guillotine (a guillotine with a different grip), the same finish he used to defeat Ryan Bader earlier this year but in this instance pressed Machida against the cage for additional pressure. Machida, refusing to tap, went limp and the bout was called off by referee "Big" John McCarthy. Rather than guide Machida gently to the floor, Jones released the hold sending a bloodied and unconscious Machida crashing to the mat. A definitive conclusion to perhaps the best year of an individual in the history of MMA.
No. 5: Diego Brandao's blink-and-you'll-miss-it armbar over Dennis Bermudez (TUF 14 Finale on Dec. 3)
In one of the best fights of the year, Diego Brandao submitted Dennis Bermudez with an armbar to clinch his first UFC win and the TUF 14 featherweight title. Known for his aggressive striking style, Brandao was on his way to winning the first round before walking into a right hand. In pursuit of a TKO or at least stealing the round, Bermudez stayed on top of Brandao, actively throwing down punches. But all of a sudden, Brandao threw up his legs for an armbar and in seconds rolled Burmudez over for the win. The submission came out of nowhere in what had already been an explosive round of fighting.
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