The UFC’s 25th anniversary is on, and what better way to continue this celebration than by looking back at some of the most memorable submissions ever seen in the Octagon? Today, it’s 25 through 21, on the way to number one…
25 - Murilo Bustamante vs Matt Lindland
We should probably give Murilo Bustamante two spots on this list, considering that he submitted Matt Lindland twice in the same bout. And while Bustamante’s armbar finish was disallowed because Lindland claimed that he didn’t tap, in the third round the middleweight champ did finally end things with a guillotine choke.
24 - Claudio Puelles vs Felipe Silva
Highly-touted Claudio Puelles was upset in the TUF LATAM 3 finals in 2016, and nearly two years later, he was on his way to another crushing defeat against Brazilian banger Felipe Silva in May 2018 before pulling off a miracle kneebar that ended the bout at 2:23 of the third round. And while it may not have been cutting it as close as the next finish on this list, there was no shortage of drama in this one for the prospect from Peru.
23 - Paul Craig vs Magomed Ankalaev
Scotland’s Paul Craig was moments away from retirement as Magomed Ankalaev put him on the canvas, seemingly about to secure his first UFC win at Craig’s expense. But in the miracle comeback of all miracle comebacks, Craig threw up a triangle choke and forced Ankalaev to tap out. The time of the victory, which earned Craig a Performance of the Night bonus and a new UFC contract? 4:59 of round three.
22 - Aleksei Oleinik vs Viktor Pesta
How can the first Ezekiel choke submission in UFC history not get recognized here? So there’s that, but even if it wasn’t the first, Aleksei Oleinik’s finish of Viktor Pesta was so sublime and so surprising. Mounted by Pesta, it looked like Oleinik was about to be in for a world of pain, but the submission master dubbed “The Boa Constrictor” calmly found his way to sink in the choke, and it was game over as Pesta tapped out at 2:57 of the first round.
21 - Josh Barnett vs Ben Rothwell
It may look like a guillotine choke to the rest of us, but Ben Rothwell describes his go-to submission as a gogo choke, and he secured it to perfection against Josh Barnett in their highly anticipated showdown, finishing a former UFC heavyweight champion whose only previous submission losses were due to strikes and injury against Mirko Cro Cop.