Best of 2009: Submissions

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Best of 2009: Submissions

Flash knockouts may get the glory, but to me, there is nothing more awe-inspiring than a beautiful submission.  To forcefully put your opponent in a position where he must surrender or risk unconsciousness, broken limbs or agonizing pain is a feat that few sports can rival.  2009 was not exactly a banner year for spectacular submissions, but there were a few that stood out from the pack.  As I said before, submissions in high profile fights are on the same level as any other event to me.  All that matters is that what happened is exceptional.  Creativity gets bonus points.

As before, if a video was easily accessible, it will be posted.  If not, I hope you have a healthy imagination.

Toby Imada’s inverted triangle against Jorge Masuidal – Bellator 5

Yes, I’ve already thanked the world for this move, but this is submission of the year in my eyes.  Toby Imada literally pulled this one out of his ass when Jorge Masuidal was about to slam him after picking him up.  The inverted triangle is probably the rarest submission in all of MMA (at least for now), and I’m pretty sure this was the first time it was ever seen on a professional level.  Choking an opponent into unconsciousness while hanging upside down is quite a feat.  Imada was rewarded with the World MMA Submission of the year for his performance.

Demian Maia’s triangle of Chael Sonnen – UFC 95

Chael Sonnen is an extremely accomplished mixed martial artist.  To say that Demian Maia absolutely tooled him in their bout at UFC 95 would be an understatement.  In a display of technical jiu jitsu brilliance, Maia tossed Sonnen (who was an esteemed and very strong wrestler) to the ground and immediately landed on top of him in the triangle position.  It was as slick a maneuver as you’ll ever see.  Sadly, UFC videos are hard to find on youtube, so you’ll have to settle for the picture.

Joe Lauzon’s bloody armbar against Jeremy Stephens – Ultimate Fight Night 17: Lauzon vs Stephens


This headlining matchup was a beauty.  Lauzon had the clear grappling advantage in this fight, but about halfway through the second round he was reversed by Stephens.  Stephens landed a couple solid shots to Lauzon’s head which opened up a nasty cut.  Despite all the blood pouring out of his head, Lauzon swept Stephens, got the mount and slapped on an armbar and gator rolled with it until Stephens was forced to tap.  It was spectacular to see, the picture should say it all.

Seth Dikun’s flying triangle against Rolando Perez – WEC 41: Brown vs Faber II

Boy this is one I really wish I had a video of because the picture simply doesn’t do it justice.  Dikun and Perez were in the middle of a heated battle when Dikun literally jumped on Perez’s head, wrapped his legs around his neck, dragged him to the ground and locked on a triangle.  A picture may say a thousand words, but a video of this, that would say about a million.

Terry Etim’s D’arce choke against Justin Bucholz – UFC 99

Named after Joe D’Arce, the D’Arce choke is a rarely used arm triangle submission.  Terry Etim had a rough first round against Justin Buchholz at UFC 99, but the second was all his.  After some solid stand-up, he got the fight to the ground and the fight was all over by that point.  This move is so rarely used that gave it submission of the year (only for UFC fights though).

DeMarques Johnson’s comeback triangle vs Edgar Garcia – UFC 107

This was not only one of the best submissions of 2009, but one of the most exciting fights.  DeMarques Johnson was getting his ass kicked early.  Edgar Garcia nearly pulled off a submission of the year candidate himself with a Peruvian necktie attempt early in the first round but Johnson gutted it out.  A minute later Garcia rocked Johnson standing but when Johnson fell to the ground, he threw a tremendous upkick.  The upkick dazed Garcia, who fell face first right into a triangle.

Brad Pickett’s Peruvian Necktie vs Kyle Dietz – WEC 45

This right here is the reason I don’t make these lists until New Years, occurring just 12 days before the beginning of 2010.  As the commentator stated, Brad Pickett won this fight by way of Peru.  The Peruvian necktie is another very rare submission (this was only the second time I’ve ever seen it in MMA competition).  Brad Pickett was winning this fight pretty handily with his takedowns and ground and pound, but as you can see on the video, he didn’t want a boring decision.  He went for the highlight reel finish and he succeeded mightily.

Masakazu Imunari fantastic submission of Justin Cruz – DEEP – Cage Impact

Masakazu Imunari is a Japanese fighter known for his submissions, and boy did he pull off a beauty against Justin Cruz.  Cruz stupidly went for a takedown against the submission expert and in a matter of seconds, Imunari had him in an omaplata shoulder lock.  Once that was in place, he leaned over and grabbed Cruz’s head and pulled it back in a viscous neck crank.  Imunari took advantage of the opening and then went for the rear naked choke, all-the-while never releasing his omaplata.  It was amazing, definitely check that one out.

Jake Shields guillotines Robbie Lawler – Strikeforce: Lawler vs Shields

This was a big fight, obviously, the Strikeforce event was named after it.  It lived up to the hype with one of the best submissions of 2009.  Robbie Lawler was the bigger fighter but against the fence he stuck out his neck a little too far and Jake Shields grabbed ahold of his neck, jumped into guard and took it to the ground.  Ever vigilant, Lawler stood back up and just when you thought he was about to slam Shields to kingdom come, the submission pulled through and Lawler was forced to tap out or go unconscious.  So much suspense!

Frank Mir talks the talk and walks the walk vs Cheick Kongo – UFC 107

Yes, I know the video has a couple advertisements and they are annoying, but at least it’s available.  Going into this fight, Frank Mir talked a TON of shit about Cheick Kongo.  He said he had no ground game and that he was going to submit him, and he did just that.  Mir rocked Kongo with the first punch he threw of the night and when Kongo grabbed one of Mir’s legs for balance, Mir slapped on a one arm guillotine choke.  Kongo tapped out of sight of the referee so the fight was stopped when he went unconscious.  DeMarques Johnson prevented this from being submission of the night, but it was still good enough to make this list.

Well there you have it, these are my top 10 submissions of the 2009.  Am I 100% correct?  Probably not.  I did my best to research the best of all the promotions so my list was pretty diverse.  Think I missed something?  Let me know via comments.

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