Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2016. There will be a total of eight different categories you’ll be asked to vote on. For the sake of simplicity we’re going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I’m sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let’s just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it’s because I’ve used the same one for six years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
It’s pretty simple. I’ll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it’s deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won’t like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get onto the first poll – the best submission of 2016. There have been some excellent subs all over the MMA landscape this year, and getting the list down is very difficult. But I did, and here it is.
Note – Normally I’d have more than six here, but these six are so far ahead of everything else that I don’t think any others are necessary.
Demian Maia chokes out Carlos Condit, UFC on Fox 21 – It’s not so much the actual finish. It’s the true mastery involved in the whole process. How did he get to Condit’s back? How did he bait Condit into hand-fighting instead of working to break the body triangle? Condit is a wizard on the ground too, and Maia absolutely schooled him with the rear naked choke finish – in less than two minutes.
Mackenzie Dern tangles up Montana Stewart, Legacy FC 61 – Dern is a very accomplished grappler. This isn’t a secret. But what she did on this night was sort of terrifying. After securing an omoplata, she managed to lock on a rear naked choke – while still having the omoplata. Here, check it for yourself. I’ve never seen anything like this.
Nate Diaz finishes Conor McGregor, UFC 196 – Was it the prettiest submission you’ll ever see? No, not really. It was your standard rear naked choke finish. But the enormity of the fight and all of the coverage made it one of the biggest moments of the year. The unbreakable Conor McGregor tapped out.
Thiago Moises uses an insane elevator armbar on Dave Castillo, RFA 35 – You probably don’t know the names. You might not follow RFA. But this submission is a sight to behold, and you simply must check this video out.
Ben Rothwell stops Josh Barnett with a gogo choke, UFC on Fox 18 – Josh Barnett is one of the best submission artists in the world. He’d never been truly submitted in his 19-year MMA career. Ben Rothwell wasn’t exactly known for his submission game, other than a gogo choke on Matt Mitrione. Then, out of nowhere, Rothwell tapped Barnett with the same move late in the second round. It was utterly unbelievable. I still have trouble processing that it really happened, but it did.
Miesha Tate makes Holly Holm tap in the fifth round, UFC 196 – Tate was most likely behind on the scorecards going into the final round of her title fight with Holm. With just a couple of minutes left, she deftly got behind Holm, took her down, and looked to lock up a choke. Holm tried and tried to get out, but eventually she passed out and Tate was a champion. With 90 seconds left on the clock.
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