Jiu Jitsu is one of the most effective martial arts in the world and has become a prominent aspect of modern MMA. At the historic UFC 1 event, Royce Gracie proved the effectiveness of jitz by dominating the fighters from other combat styles and winning the tournament. From that moment on jiu jitsu began its rise to become one of the most important tools in every MMA fighter’s repertoire.
Jiu Jitsu has played a significant role during the last few decades in the evolution of mixed martial arts. About 20% of UFC fights are finished via submission. A wise MMA fighter will put his time in on the mats to improve his jiu jitsu skills. We have seen many jitz fighters compete inside the octagon and wow the appreciative fans with stunning finishes. In honor of the submission artists out there we have decided to highlight the top six submissions of all time…enjoy.
Frank Mir vs Antonio Nogueira – UFC 140
Mir has scored many great submissions over his career but his bone splintering kimura against Nogueira will go down as one of the most savage submissions in MMA history. After the fact even Nogueira could only look at his own arm like “Eyyyyoooo Doc can I get some ice over here…this is going to leave a bruise!!!” What makes this submission all the more impressive is Nogueira was one of the best jiu jitsu fighters at the time.
It all happened inside the first round when Mir managed to catch Nogueira in a kimura after getting knocked down and dazed. The set up by Mir was elite level jitz (John Danaher gives a technical breakdown of the sequence which is worth listening to). At the end of the sequence Mir broke Nogueira’s arm in front of millions of fans and Nogueira returned home to undergo surgery to repair the destruction done to his arm. “Mir broke his arm like a chicken wing!” indeed.
Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida – UFC 140
At UFC 140, Jon Jones put his light heavyweight belt on the line against Lyoto Machida. In the opening round Machida was looking good and landed some nice shots to the chin of Jones. However, Jones would pick up the pace in the second round and execute one of the greatest submissions of all time.
In the second round Jones sent Machida to the canvas with a hard left hand. Machida instantly popped up but Jones caught him in an unorthodox standing guillotine. Perhaps because Jones’ guillotine was unorthodox Machida didn’t seem to know how to defend it. He froze, didn’t tap and quickly went unconscious. To the shock of all Jones released the choke and Machida crumpled to the ground like a wet dish towel. No matter how many times you see a fighter fall to the canvas in a heap it is still a bit shocking. Jones made one hell of a statement that day. RIP to some of Machida’s brain cells.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Renzo Gracie – Pride 10
Sakuraba is one of the true legends of MMA. People will remember him for his wins over multiple members of the Gracie clan. With victories over Royce, Renzo, Royler and Ryan Gracie he was given the ominous, but appropriate, nickname: “The Gracie Killer.” Renzo Gracie entered his bout against The Gracie Killer carrying the weight of the Gracie reputation on his shoulders. Fans around the World wondered if Renzo would be able to avenge the losses suffered by his family or if Sakuraba would collect yet another Gracie scalp for the mantel.
The Sakuraba vs Renzo fight took place at Pride 10 in one of the most anticipated matchups in Pride history. The stage was set: elite grappler vs elite grappler. Who would walk out of the ring as the king of Japan? To the surprise of many Sakuraba dominated Renzo and finished the fight with a bone breaking kimura. As Biggie said, “Renzo heard the snap, still refused to tap buuuuut at least he didn’t take a nap baby baaaaaby.”
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum – Strikeforce
Werdum’s great victory over the Pride legend Fedor Emelianenko is, arguably, the best example of the efficacy of the triangle armbar combination. Coming into this bout Fedor was on a twenty seven fight win streak. Many considered Fedor the greatest fighter of all time. Could Werdum beat the man, the myth, the legend? Or would Werdum end up as just another Fedor victim whimpering about what could have been?
Fedor started the fight strong by winning the early exchanges and knocking Werdum down with a heavy right hand. The Russian bear quickly took the opportunity to jump in and finish the job with a bit of his brutal ground and pound. However, Werdum purportedly whispered in his ear, “Uhhhhh hold up there big bear I’ve got a little something for your azzzzzzz” and with the flick of his hips he caught Fedor in a triangle armbar dilemma which forced him to tap for this first time in his career.
Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen – UFC 148
Those watching this fight live will never forget it. Chael P. Sonnen the gangstaaaa from West Linn, Oregon completely dominated Silva for twenty four and a half minutes. Only in the final thirty seconds did Silva manage to throw up a Hail Mary triangle/armbar to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history. If Ol’ Chael would have spent less time being a gangsta on the streets of West Linn and more time drilling his triangle defenses he would have been champion of the world…but I guess that’s just not what gangsters do is it Mark Coleman?
For the whole fight Sonnen used his superior wrestling to make Silva look like a gangly amateur who only got into the ring because he had compromising pictures of Dana in a hot top with Mexican midget strippers. With only thirty seconds left on the clock we were all expecting to see the smooth talking Chael P. crowned the middleweight champ of the world.
Alas, it was not meant to be. Silva found a way to shoot up a nasty triangle/armbar. Against all odds Silva tapped Sonnen with just seconds left on the clock to send Sonnen to the proverbial gangsta’s paradise.
Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock I – UFC 1
In the opening round of UFC 1 Royce Gracie easily submitted the one gloved boxer Art Jimmerson (Art thought he would kill someone if he hit them without a glove on). Yet, many believed the much bigger, more impressively built, Ken Shamrock would crush Royce in their second round match.
Despite being the smaller fighter Royce only needed :57 seconds to sink in a sleeve choke and submit the much bigger Shamrock. Many watching the fight had no idea what had happened. It is no exaggeration to say Royce shocked the world by winning UFC 1. Few understood how it was possible for a smaller man to easily defeat much larger rivals. Welcome to the world of jiu jitsu suckaaaaas!
With the win over Shamrock Royce fulfilled the Gracie family mission to show the world the power of jiu jitsu. From that point onward martial arts would never be the same.