The 411 MMA Year-End Awards 1.10.14: Part Five – The Best Submissions of 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 01.10.2014
From Anthony Pettis’ armbar on Benson Henderson and Rose Namajunas’ flying armbar on Kathina Catron to Josh Burkman’s guillotine choke on Jon Fitch and more, the 411 staff continues their year-end awards by breaking down the top 5 submissions of 2013!
Welcome back to the MMA Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic and all the writers here on 411 MMA will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people's list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…
1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
5th - 1
At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It's highly non-official and final, like WAMMA. What we are going to do over the next few weeks is run the column twice a week to crown our best of 2012. From best and worst fight to best fighter and KO of the year, the staff will come together to share out best. Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.
The Best Submissions of 2013!
5. Jacare Souza Kimura of Ed Herman
4. Chael Sonnen Guillotine Choke of Shogun Rua
3. Fabricio Werdum Armbar of Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera
2. Urijah Faber Guillotine Choke of Michael McDonald
1. Rousimar Palhares Heel Hook of Mike Pierce - Just kidding
1. Anthony Pettis Armbar of Benson Henderson - Showtime Pettis proved to be Benson Henderson's kryptonite as he earned his second victory over Bendo at UFC 164. Most watching did not even realize how deep Pettis had the armbar locked in, including referee Herb Dean, as Henderson's arm popped and Pettis released the hold following a verbal submission. This submission had technique, was surprising, as well as a great display of sportsmanship.
5. Chael Sonnen Guillotine Choke on Mauricio Rua UFC Fight Night 26
4. Joe Warren Inverted Triangle on Nick Kirk - Bellator 101
3. Fabricio Werdum Armbar on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - UFC on Fuel TV 10
2. Urijah Faber Guillotine Choke on Michael McDonald - UFC on Fox 9
1. Anthony Pettis Armbar on Ben Henderson - UFC 164 - This fight gets the vote for me mainly because it was such a shocking finish. I think many believed that Pettis was good enough to beat Henderson, but the least expected finish of all in their historic rematch for the UFC title was a submission. Henderson had only been submitted once earlier in his career before he was signed by ZUFFA. In WEC and UFC, he had established himself as being all but unsubmittable against fighters on paper who had better grappling and BJJ credentials than Pettis. While Pettis did have some submission wins, he was commonly seen as a striker. No one had submitted or finished Henderson in over six years. The armbar was sick and Henderson tapped out verbally, giving Pettis the UFC title and his second win over Henderson in a title bout.
5. Chael Sonnen guillotine choke on Shogun Rua - UFC Fight Night 26
4. Rousimar Palhares heel hook on Mike Pierce - UFC Fight Night 29
3. Jacare Souza kimura on Ed Herman - Strikeforce Marquardt vs. Saffiedine
2. Fabricio Werdum armbar on Minotauro Nogueira - UFC on Fuel TV 10
1. Anthony Pettis armbar on Benson Henderson - UFC 164 - This fight gets my vote for all the right reasons. First of all, it was a somewhat shocking conclusion to the fight as Benson Henderson had established a reputation of being unsubmittable during his Zuffa tenure. Pettis also had great technique, he had the arm for a while and tried attacking to the shoulder, which baited Henderson to move to one side, which led to the armbar finish. It was a really lovely piece of submission work by Pettis from a technical standpoint as well as winning him the UFC lightweight title.
5. Urijah Faber - Standing Rear Naked Choke vs. Ivan Menjivar, UFC 157
4. Fabricio Werdum - Armbar vs. Minotauro Nogueira - UFC on Fuel 10
3. Josh Burkman - Guillotine Choke vs. Jon Fitch - WSOF 3
2. Kenny Robertson - Stump Puller vs. Brock Jardine - UFC 157
1. Rose Namajunas - Flying Armbar vs. Kathina Catron - Invicta FC 5 - As soon as the fight began, they brawled. Catron pulled Namajunas in close, wanting to dirty box and land a combination of strikes. Instead, Rose leapt into the air for the flying armbar and pulled it off to perfection as Kathina tapped out. It took not even 15-seconds from start to finish and she scored her second consecutive submission of the night in Invicta (in her second pro bout, TOO!).
5. Rousimar Palhares breaks Mike' Pierces ankle and his career simultaneously
4. Kenny Robertson invents a new way for pain
3. Rose Namajuna's 12 second flying armbar in her 2nd pro fight
2. Urijah Faber Jungle Jims all up, around and over en route to choking Ivan Menjivar
1. Josh Burkman Vs Jon Fitch Chokes the Unchokeable - Though I wanted to put Kenny down here for ingenuity alone these other three to me squeaked just ahead. For my number one it goes to of all things a guillotine choke the one easiest to apply technique in MMA. Why it still remains number one is because of the showmanship of it all. First Jon Fitch was known to be unsubmittable and yet he loses here in under a minute. Also this was a bout everybody picked him to win and he would rule over the WSOF in spite of the UFC rejecting him after all these years but alas. 3rdly just the "Fuck yeah" attitude that was Josh Burkman cranking, KOing, rolling over standing up and letting people know he was to be spoiler then Steve Carl happened. Memorable indeed and that's why its number one.
My other 4 though are just as memorable as they are unique. Urijah Faber playing around on Ivan Menjivar like he was a jungle gym was like out of a movie, 12 SECONDS, crazy inventiveness in spite of proper execution and scandal. Nuff said.
5. Kenny Robertson - Suloev Stretch versus Brock Jardine (UFC 157)
4. Josh Burkman - Guillotine choke versus Jon Fitch (WSOF 3)
3. Urijah Faber - Standing rear naked choke versus Ivan Menjivar (UFC 157)
2. Anthony Pettis - Armbar versus Benson Henderson (UFC 164)
1. Rose Namajunas - Flying armbar versus Kathina Catron (Invicta 5) - In the grand scheme of things, Pettis' slick and unexpected armbar victory over Henderson and Burkman's dramatic guillotine win over Fitch - both to capture world championships - were more important in 2013. However, judging on the beauty and technique of the submission alone, nothing tops Namajunas' 12 second win over Catron in Invicta 5. The sheer audacity and confidence in your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills to even attempt a flying armbar is one thing but to pull it off as fluidly as Namajunas did in April is something quite spectacular. Rose will bring her submission chops to a wider audience in 2014 as part of the UFC's 115lbs title tournament on The Ultimate Fighter 20. She'll have some job topping this highlight reel moment.
5. Kenny Robertson, Kneebar/Suloev Stretch/Kickstand/Whatever the hell it's called vs. Brock Jardine, UFC 157
4. Uriah Faber, Rear naked choke vs. Ivan Menjivar, UFC 157
3. Josh Burkman, Guillotine choke vs. Jon Fitch, WSOF 3
2. Rose Namajunas, Flying Armbar vs. Kathina Catron, Invicta 5
1. Anthony Pettis - Armbar vs. Benson Henderson, UFC 164 It was definitely hard to pick between this and Thug Rose's flying armbar. I'll go with the Pettis armbar because 1) It was a bit of a come-from-behind victory as Benson was controlling from the clinch before the fight hit the ground and Pettis pulled off the submission out of nowhere (the flying armbar was the first thing Rose did and ended the fight in 12 seconds), and 2) he did it against a UFC Champion, thus becoming the new UFC Champion. There is no sweeter submission victory than one that makes you the undisputed best lightweight in the world at the same time. It was crazy how fast Pettis cinched it up. All Ben could do once it was locked in was yell "TAP!" since both his arms were tied up in the submission. Maybe Rose will become a UFC champion in 2014 but, for now, I must concede to Mr. Showtime. Congrats to Pettis and here is to, hopefully, a more active 2014, by which I mean maybe he'll fight twice this year. One can wish.
5. Ronda Rousey, Armbar versus Miesha Tate, UFC 168
4. Kenny Robertson, Suloev Stretch versus Brock Jardine, UFC 157
3. Josh Burkman, RNC versus Jon Fitch, WSOF 3
2. Anthony Pettis, Armbar versus Benson Henderson, UFC 164
1. Rose Namajunas, Flying armbar versus Kathina Catron, Invicta 5 - Remember the first time you saw something inside an MMA cage/ring that left you speechless? If you watch enough fights and have followed the evolution of the sport, you've probably seen so many jaw-dropping finishes that you start to get desensitized to it. Still, though, every so often, something will happen during the course of a fight that gives even the most jaded MMA pause, and Rose Namajunas absorbing some very solid punches just before jumping up and over Kathina Catron and locking in a beautiful armbar was the best example of such a moment for me this year. I'm fully aware of my WMMA bias here, too, but I don't even care - I could seriously lose large chunks of time just watching the gif of this move.
5. Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald
4. Kenny Robertson vs. Brock Jardine
3. Josh Burkman vs. Jon Fitch
2. Fabricio Werdum vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
1. Anthony Pettis vs. Benson Henderson - Benson Henderson's defensive BJJ is legendary – even when faced with top class grapplers like Jim Miller and Mark Bocek, Henderson has been able to fend off everything thrown his way. Miller in particular fought tenaciously for a submission against the former UFC and WEC Lightweight Champion, only to be denied time and time again – and some suggested Henderson simply couldn't, or wouldn't, be submitted due to his incredibly dexterous, rubber-like limbs (‘Bendo', anyone?); an overblown suggestion, of course, but did anyone pick Hendo to drop the title due to an Anthony Pettis armbar? Well that's exactly what happened, and while Pettis' lethal striking (in particular his terrifying arsenal of body and leg kicks) played a very large part in his ability to get Henderson where he wanted him, he still had to lock on a hold and force Henderson to submit. Well, Pettis did it, and though he is actually only the SECOND person to submit Benson (not the first; that accolade goes to Rocky Johnson – no, not The Rock's dad...), he's the first to do so on a major stage with all the marbles on the line. A brilliant performance from the new UFC Lightweight Champion.