There are a lot of ways to submit your opponent in an MMA bout. The most common methods of coaxing out the tap include rear-naked chokes, guillotine chokes, arm-triangle chokes, arm bars, and leg locks. This, of course, is not where the list ends.
The jiu-jitsu armoury is packed to the edges with potentially fight-ending weapons, many of which we rarely see in MMA.
With that said, here are five of the rarest submissions in MMA.
5. The Von Flue Choke
The Von Flue choke is a defense against a guillotine choke, which, as previously stated, is a widely used submission in MMA. To apply this choke, a fighter advances into side-control, while their opponent’s guillotine attempt is still engaged. From there, the fighter applies an underhook to their opponent’s head, and drives their shoulder into their opponent’s neck, dumping their bodyweight onto the carotid artery and blocking blood flow.
The Von Flue was named after Jason Von Flue, who used it to defeat Alex Karalexis at Ultimate Fight Night 3 in 2006. The Von Flue’s most famous user, however, is current UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux, who has produced three of the five Von Flue finishes in UFC history.
4. The Calf-Slicer
Of all the submissions on this list, the calf-slicer probably has the most intimidating name, and really, it’s probably the most painful looking of the bunch too.
To apply a calf-slicer, a fighter inserts his leg behind his opponent’s, using it as a fulcrum to painfully overextend the knee and brutalize the muscles in the calf and thigh.
For a great example of a calf-slicer being used in MMA, check out Charles Oliveira’s 2012 bout with Eric Wisely. In this fight, Oliveira quickly got into position and jammed his leg between Wisely’s thigh and calf. From there, it was really just a matter of time. Wisely was quickly wincing in pain, furiously tapping in a desperate effort to end the pain, and the fight.
3. The Gogoplata
The Gogoplata might have a funny-sounding name, but getting caught in one is the furthest thing from funny.
This neck-crushing choke is typically applied from the guard position – that is, it’s generally dished out by the fighter on the bottom. From this position, the shin is pressed against the front of the opponent’s neck, while the other leg and arm are used to push down on the fighter’s head from behind. In the most brutal cases, this choke looks capable of popping a fighter’s head clean off.
The most famous gogoplata in MMA came courtesy of fan favorite Nick Diaz, who used the choke to beat Takanori Gomi in the second-round of a fight at Pride 33. Regrettably, the result of this fight was overturned when Diaz tested positive for marijuana.
2. The Ezekiel Choke
The main reason that the Ezekiel choke is so rare in MMA is that it’s much easier to perform on an opponent wearing a gi – the traditional jiu jitsu kimono. That said, it does sometimes occur in MMA competition.
The most recent and arguably most impressive iteration of the Ezekiel choke in MMA occurred in early 2017, when Russia’s Oleksiy Oliynyk used it to take out Viktor Pesta. Though Pesta seemed to be in control of the fight, having secured mount, Oliynyk then craftily placed the blade of his forearm across Pesta’s neck, applied pressure, and presto magic, forced the tap.
1. The Twister
The Twister might be the most aptly named submission out there. When applied, this attack twists the victim’s body like a piece of fusilli pasta.
To perform this submission, the attacker locks up his opponent’s legs with his own legs, then uses his arms to twist his opponent’s neck in the opposite direction. The result is a painful torque of the spine, and generally speaking, a quick tap.
The most famous example of a Twister being used in MMA occurred in 2011, when “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung stepped into the cage for a rematch with Leonard Garcia. Though the pair’s first encounter was incredibly close, this second battle was not. As the seconds disappeared in the second round, the undead superstar took Garcia’s back, locked up his legs, engaged his neck, and torqued. The tap came seconds later.
This win earned the Korean Zombie not only Submission of the Night honours, but also the Submission of the Year award at the 2011 World MMA Awards.