Every BJJ enthusiast loves it when a fight ends in a sub. Witnessing the art you practice working in a fight will make you punch your mate in the arm and yell, “YES! I knew he was going to do that! Coach makes us do it all the time in training.”
While there have been quite a few submission victories over the years, there are a few that stand out over the rest as history writing, jump out of your seat, swear at the sky and kick your mate in the shin type acts of inspiration.
And what do you know, below I’ve listed 5(ish) of the ones I consider the best submissions in MMA history so far.
5 Times When Jiu Jitsu Won the Fight (And Our Hearts) in MMA
1. Demian Maia v The World
Maia has hands down the best Jiu Jitsu in MMA today. And if you say you can easily pick one of his recent fights as the clear stand out, I would call you a liar and demand pistols at dawn between the two of us – how dare you, how bloody dare you.
From his first round dismantlement of Carlos Condit, to his 3 round horsey ride on the back of Masvidal, all the way to the grinding and oxygen killing finish of the immortal Matt Brown, Demian Maia has established clear intent in his attack and approach of grappling in MMA.
So much so that even the casual fan can turn to his mate, 6 beers deep, and say - with accuracy - “Watch this, gonna take his back and choke ‘em, any money.” – Wow! How did you do know that, Josh Ya Mad Dog? It’s like your psychic or something!
2. Anderson Silva v Chael Sonnen
Early in the fight, It definitely looked as if Silva boarded an Uber to Queer Street after eating a solid left from Sonnen, who proceeded to continue battering Silva’s face like it was on fire.
(Image courtesy of Esther LIn)
If you were lucky enough to watch this fight as it went down, I guaranteeeeeeeeeee you screamed “NO WAY! GET F&$KED! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!” when Silva pulled a dream shattering triangle/armbar out of his arse in the final two minutes of the 5th round, securing his title and sending Sonnen home like the rest of us – bewildered, laughing our tits off and glad we watched it (ok, maybe not for Sonnen).
3. Minotauro Nogueira v Dave Herman
Pleaaaaaase! Tell me you saw this one!
Herman's arrogant pre fight trash talk motivated Jiu Jitsu nerds around the world to stand up after the fight and yell “Eat shit Herman ya Dick Head!”
For those of you unaware, before the fight American mixed martial artist and anxious department store mannequin look alike Dave Herman had some choice words to say about BJJ and its effectiveness in the real world; stating, “…my opponent’s a Jiu Jitsu Black Belt. I don’t even think Jiu Jitsu really works.”
(Image courtesy of eBaum's world)
Herman’s words would become more memorable than his actual career, as MMA legend Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira proceeded to armbar the shit out of him from the mount. A position where it would have been much safer to punch his way to victory. But, you know, Nogueira had a point to prove.
4. Nick Diaz v Evangelista Santos
In a fight where both fighters aimed to force feed the other their teeth, it was Evangelista who would take down Diaz after failing a wheel kick in close range.
This didn’t quite work out for him, as a Diaz brother fighting from his back is like a Diaz brother rolling a joint - bloody professional!
(Image sourced from MMA Mania)
This was one of Diaz’s most memorable finishes as he secured an armbar from closed guard, spinning underneath to move the sub into a top position, where he could finish without the threat of being slammed on his head – Nice one Nick, well played.
5. Fabricío Werdum v Fedor Emelianenko
This was the fight that would bring Fedor Emelianenko’s near 10 year unbeaten streak to an end. And it was good old “I just farted face” Ferbrício Werdum who’d be the man to do it.
After being dropped by a great red uppercut straight from Saint Petersburg, Werdum found himself flat on his back with the destroyer, that was Fedor at the time, on top rushing to finish what he started.
(Image sourced from Sherdog Forums)
However, Werdum slapped on an armbar, which Fedor managed to escape, only to become overzealous with his hammer fists in the ensuing scramble; succumbing to the triangle/armbar that would eventually force him to tap and shock the entire world, even Werdum.