Where are the submissions?

Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE

Ronda Rousey was 8-0 in MMA with eight armbar finishes, but she wasn’t able to help the stats in favor of the submissions inside the Octagon in 2014 in her title fight with Sara McMann at UFC 170.

Rousey made quick work of McMann on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada with a huge knee to the body. "Rowdy" was the last hope for a tapout at UFC 170, continuing the streak of non-submission finishes in the UFC.

Rousey vs. McMann was the 68th UFC fight in 2014, yet only eight ended via submission or technical submission. With 44 decisions, 15 (technical) knockouts and one DQ since Jan. 4, fans are starting to wonder where the jiu-jitsu fighters are.

One week after UFC 170, eight more fights took place at the TUF: China Finale card in Macau, China. Zero submissions.

"The fans like to watch a stand-up war," said Charles Oliveira, one of the only fighters to win a fight via submission in 2014. "I guess the jiu-jitsu fighters are looking to work on their stand-up skills and forgetting about the jiu-jitsu."

Demian Maia, Jacare Souza, Frank Mir, Gabriel Gonzaga, Donald Cerrone and Rousey all fought this year already, but none of them finished the fight on the ground. In fact, only Cole Miller, Russel Doane, Dustin Kimura, Kyung Ho Kang, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Beneil Dariush, Alex Caceres and Charles Oliveira have scored submission wins in 2014.

"In my last fight I was looking for the knockout," Oliveira said, "but I saw an opening and went for the takedown several times and got the tap."

Submission wizard and multi-time jiu-jitsu world champion Antonio Braga Neto made his UFC debut last June with a first-round kneebar over Anthony Smith. According to Braga Neto, most UFC fans prefer to watch a striking battle over a submission exchange.

"The fans don’t like to watch too much jiu-jitsu," he said. "To tell you the truth, when someone goes to the UFC they want to knock people out because that’s what the fans want to see. I think the fans clearly prefer to watch a stand-up fight because they don’t understand the ground game."

Oliveira believes that referees also are to blame for the lack of finishes, in that they don’t let fighters work for better positions on the ground and constantly ask them to "work" even when they are already doing it.

"That’s a problem because you have to be fast and not lose positions," he said. "You need to quickly advance for positions, looking for an opening to finish the fight."

Members of the old school of the Gracie family constantly say that they don’t need anything else than pure jiu-jitsu to succeed in MMA. Oliveira and Braga Neto disagree, but know that it’s important to focus on your best game.

"We need to evolve as fighters, so people start training other martial arts and forget about jiu-jitsu, so we lose the details," Braga Neto said.

"I never saw someone evolve in the striking and wrestling areas and keep the good adjusts on the ground. I will always work on what I’m best first, and then I’ll try evolving in the other aspects of the game."

"You need to do what you do best," Oliveira added. "If you’re a jiu-jitsu guy, you need to go with that. We’re MMA fighters, we need to be complete in everything. I’m training everything, but I can’t forget my roots. I keep training jiu-jitsu three or four times a day, you can’t learn one thing and forget the other."

UFC returns next Saturday in London, England with UFC Fight Night 38, and 13 of the 20 fighters on the card have more than a third of their professional victories via submission. Will we see more jiu-jitsu action in London?

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