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 20 through 16, on the way to number one…
20. Roger Huerta vs Clay Guida
Down on all three scorecards entering the final round, Roger Huerta turned the tables on Clay Guida in an amazing show of heart as well as skill, hurting his foe first with a knee and then finishing him off with an improbable rear naked choke that made the fans at The Palms in Las Vegas erupt.
19. Charles Oliveira vs Hatsu Hioki
There are certain bouts that you show to folks who say they like fighting, but just not “that ground stuff.” The matchup between jiu-jitsu black belts Charles Oliveira and Hatsu Hioki is one of those bouts. Compelling and action-packed from start to finish, this was high-level MMA grappling at its finest. When it was over, Oliveira became the first man to submit Hioki, and whether you call it a guillotine, an anaconda, a D’arce, or any modification of those, it was a thing of beauty in a fight you wish they could have restarted and continued.
18. Forrest Griffin vs “Shogun” Rua
Sometimes the best submissions aren’t ones that are memorable for spectacular technique or the “wow” factor, but ones that live on for what they meant at that particular moment in time. When Forrest Griffin closed the show on heavily favored PRIDE import “Shogun” Rua with a rear naked choke in the final minute, it was an exclamation mark on a result no one saw coming, especially Rua, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
17. Frank Mir vs Tim Sylvia
Remember the way a prime Mike Tyson approached his fights when he was the heavyweight boxing champion? Well, Frank Mir attacked submissions the way Tyson sought knockouts. He wanted to take an arm or leg home, and he almost got his wish against Tim Sylvia when he broke his opponent’s arm with an armbar to earn the UFC heavyweight crown in 2004.
16. Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche
As soon as Ronda Rousey turned pro, every opponent she faced knew that they were going to have to deal with an armbar attempt sooner or later, usually sooner. Liz Carmouche was no different, and part of her preparation for the UFC 157 bout against the women’s bantamweight champ involved defending random armbar attempts by her teammates at every possible moment. Yet when Rousey made her move on Carmouche after surviving a rear naked choke attempt moments earlier, the Marine Corps veteran got caught and finished by the armbar. If there was a better consistently deadly finishing move in all of combat sports, I’d like to know about it.