Make your pick for the best MMA submission of 2017 in Bloody Elbow’s Year-End Awards.
Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2017. There will be a total of eight different categories you’ll be asked to vote on. For the sake of simplicity we’re going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I’m sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let’s just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it’s because I’ve used the same one for seven years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
It’s pretty simple. I’ll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it’s deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won’t like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get onto the first poll – the best submission of 2017. There have been some excellent subs all over the MMA landscape this year, and getting the list down is very difficult. But I did, and here it is.
Aleksei Oleinik submits Viktor Pesta with an Ezekiel choke from the bottom, UFC Fight Night 103 – Submissions from the bottom do happen in MMA. But generally when someone is mounted, they’re in trouble. That wasn’t the case here, as Oleinik managed to secure the first Ezekiel choke in UFC history while stuck under Pesta.
Valentina Shevchenko armbars Julianna Pena, UFC on Fox 23 – Shevchenko is known for her vaunted striking game, but she busted out a fancy submission at the perfect time in her headlining bout with Pena. At the end of the second round with Pena on top of her, she threw up the perfect armbar attempt out of nowhere. After taking the time to secure it and fight off Pena’s defense, she earned a beautiful tapout win.
Diego Brandao’s helicopter armbar win over Murad Machaev, FNG 58 – With Machaev working on top, Brandao used his legs to push Machaev into the air, then deftly secured the armbar as he came back down, all in a split second.
Brett Johns finishes Joe Soto with a calf slicer, TUF 24 Finale – Soto has made a name for himself on the grappling circuit, but it was Johns who made a huge splash on this night. In a scramble, he secured a very rare calf slicer (or calf crusher if you prefer) and elicited a tap from a man in serious pain.
Jonno Mears uses the Walls of Jericho to defeat Aaron Jones, FCC 19 – This goes against the rule of only using high-level fights to pick from. But the guy used a pro wrestling moved popularized by Chris Jericho, the Walls of Jericho – also known as a Boston Crab – to finish an MMA fight. That’s too cool not to include here.
Demetrious Johnson’s jumping armbar win over Ray Borg, UFC 216 – Everyone saw this, and it was plain ridiculous. Mighty Mouse threw Borg in the air, transitioned, and secured an armbar before either man hit the ground. Borg was done, and defied understanding at first. How could anyone do that? Much less in the fifth round of a UFC title fight?
Brian Ortega’s modified guillotine finish of Cub Swanson, UFC Fight Night 123 – Ortega almost finished Swanson with a unique choke in the first. But in the second, he got it done. He jumped a guillotine, made a beautiful adjustment while hanging off of Swanson, and forced the tap from his bewildered opponent.
Iuri Alcantara’s comeback kneebar win over Luke Sanders, UFC 209 – Let’s just be honest here – Alcantara was getting his ass kicked by Sanders. Out of nowhere, he secured a kneebar and a frustrated Sanders had to give up.
(If people want to put gifs of these subs in the comments, have at it).