While inevitable, it’s still kind of tragic that we’ve reached a stage in MMA where everyone is at least good enough not to be submissive. It’s not like punching, where no amount of technical acumen can completely protect you from a knockout; the cool, low-percentage submissions were always going to get rarer and rarer over the years. Modern MMA BJJ has whittled down unnecessary items to a handful of reliable finishing tools, namely front chokes and the immortal RNC. The days of “anyone can submit from anywhere” are over, as the risk/reward ratio has become too unbalanced.
Some people, however, have managed to recapture a bit of the old magic. Here are MMA Mania’s 2022 submissions.
5. Jiri Prochazka at the Buzzer
There were a number of conventional submission finishes that deserved some consideration for the circumstances surrounding them. Matt Schnell, Douglas Silva de Andrade and Paul Craig all hit the clutch behind the finishes, with Schnell in particular being incredibly dramatic.
In the end, however, I had to go with Prochazka. Hitting a last-minute sub on arguably the best jiu-jitsu player in the Light Heavyweight division after 24 minutes of absolute hell deserves some credit.
4. Jessica Andrade puts the pressure on
Standing arm triangles tend to belong to the omoplata school of “yeah, that’s not going anywhere”. It’s definitely not easy to suffocate someone when you have no control over their body.
Turns out the solution is just to really squeeze, really difficult. Jessica Andrade has always been an absolute tank, but that was something else, especially against another very capable ground performer and physical monster in Amanda Lemos.
3. Zhang Weili serves the special
There’s a lot to be said for Carla Esparza, but there’s no denying that she’s a phenomenal wrestler. His top-notch wrestling and control has been ruining the days of the UFC’s top strawweights for eight years now, and his only submission loss came to 20-0 legend Megumi Fujii in Esparza’s fourth pro fight.
Zhang Weili didn’t just pat her, she did it from the crucifix with one of RNC’s rarest forms: the Kadowaki Special. Not bad for a knockout artist.
2. Oliver Enkamp gets buggy-ish
One of the “new things” in submission grappling is the buggy choke, one of the very few offensive options available to you in bottom control. He saw mixed results in MMA; there are footage of a guy getting run over in the past while trying to do it and another destroying his arm.
At Bellator 281, UFC veteran Oliver Enkamp hit something the announcers called a buggy choke on Mark Lemminger, turning an unfavorable position into a finish out of nowhere. The truth is perhaps more impressive: it was our old friend the inverted triangle, who we haven’t seen much since Liam McGeary’s heyday.
1. Stevie Ray finishes “Showtime”
Maybe now UFC announcers will stop referencing Ivan Salaverry vs. Tony Fryklund every time someone gets a body triangle. Stevie Ray nearly squeezed Anthony Pettis’ organs out of his chest, and for his opportunism and creativity, he earns the top spot on this list.
What was the best UFC/MMA submission of 2022?
Jiri Prochazka’s Naked Rear Choke
Jessica Andrade Standing Arm Triangle
Special Kadowaki by Zhang Weili
Oliver Enkamp’s inverted triangle
Stevie Ray Body Triangle
Other (let us know in the comments!)
0 votes in total
- Matt Schnell (rear naked choke) Sumudaerji
- Douglas Silva de Andrade (naked rear choke) Sergey Morozov
- Paul Craig (triangular choke) Nikita Krylov
- Aleksei Oleinik (kesa gatame) Jared Vanderaa
Top Submissions 2022 | Best KOs 2022 | Best Fights 2022 | Best Fighters 2022 | Top Events 2022