Fight fans want to see fights get finished. Even though fights that go to the scorecards can be entertaining and fun to watch, seeing a fight get stopped before the final bell is what it is all about. While knockouts generally get all of the attention on highlight reels, there is something truly special about submissions.

Submissions are what MMA was built on; Royce Gracie submitting three opponents in five minutes is what first captured the imagination of fight fans. Watching how the skill and expertise of the submission game could level the playing field against much larger opponents is what got fans watching.

There have been many great submission over the years, but these are greatest of them all.

#10 – DREAM 4, Shinya Aoki vs. Katsuhiko Nagata

You know you’ve done something truly spectacular when you pull off a move and later that technique is named after you. That is exactly what Aoki did at DREAM 4 when he defeated Nagata via a mounted gogoplata; the move was later dubbed “the Aoki-plata”.

#9 – UFC 4, Royce Gracie vs. Dan Severn

Heading into UFC 4, Gracie had never been defeated inside the Octagon and he had won the first two UFC tournaments. In his third match of the evening, for the UFC 4 tournament championship, Gracie found himself under Severn for the better part of 15 minutes but ultimately locked in a triangle choke to end the fight.

#8 – UFC 140, Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Mir and Nogueira first crossed paths at UFC 92 with Mir winning by way of TKO. While the victory was impressive, many fans felt that it was a paper victory because of Nogueira’s health issues heading into the bout. All of that talk was erased at UFC 140 when the two met again. Midway through the first round, after being dropped by a punch, Mir slapped on a kimura and snapped the Pride legend’s arm when he refused to tap.

#7 – Pride Final Conflict 2003, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Mirko Filipovic

At Pride Final Conflict 2003, Nogueira and Filipovic battled it out for the interim Pride heavyweight title. The first round was controlled by Filipovic’s superior striking and masterful takedown defense. Filipovic battered Nogueira until Nogueira was able to get the fight to the mat and submit the kickboxer with an armbar.

#6 – Pride 10, Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Renzo Gracie

Heading into Pride 10 Sakuraba had already earned the “Gracie Hunter” moniker stopping both Royler and Royce Gracie. Sakuraba’s legend only grew when he defeated Renzo via second round kimura; off course Renzo didn’t tap, instead electing to have his arm broken by the Japanese star.

#5 – Bellator 5, Toby Imada vs. Jorge Masvidal

In 2009, Bellator was an emerging MMA promotion looking to gain ground on its more established competitors. At Bellator 5, in the second bout of the lightweight tournament semifinals, Imada finished Masvidal with an amazing inverted triangle choke to advance to the tournament finals. Imada’s submission is what put Bellator on the map.

#4 – UFC Fight Night 24, Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung

The UFC is over 20 years old now and has promoted thousands of fights, but in all that time there has only ever been one win by way of twister. Jung is the only fighter to ever pull the move off in UFC competition and it will likely stay that way for a long time.

#3 – Pride Shockwave 2004, Anderson Silva vs. Ryo Chonan

Before he was the greatest fighter of all-time, Silva was a talented young fighter trying to make a name for himself in the sport. Heading into Pride Shockwave 2004, Silva was 14-2 with nine finishes but he was completely surprised and not prepared for Chonan’s flying scissor heel hook in the third round.

#2 – UFC 117, Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

Nearly six years after being submitted in spectacular fashion, Silva got a spectacular submission finish of his own. At UFC 117, the then-middleweight champion was being thoroughly dominated by Sonnen; Sonnen was taking the champion down at will and battering him with ground and pound. Heading into the fifth and final round with the win well in hand on the judges’ scorecards, Sonnen again took the champion to the mat and began to assault him with strikes but then out of nowhere Silva slapped on a triangle armbar from the bottom to submit Sonnen and retain his title.

#1 – Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum

On June 26, 2010, the unthinkable happened when MMA legend Emelianenko met grappling powerhouse Werdum in the Strikeforce cage. Heading into the bout, Emelianenko hadn’t lost in nearly a decade and was widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all time, but then early in the first round, Emelianenko made the mistake of going into Werdum’s guard. It wasn’t long before Werdum had a triangle armbar locked in and the MMA legend was tapping out.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report,, and RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.