ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

If mixed martial arts could be represented in a Yin Yang, the savagery of a brutal knockout would be balanced with the finesse of a beautiful submission. MMA has recorded some historical taps and every week the number grows. Demian Maia seems to add to it every time he fights.

A list of the top submissions is amorphous and changes with new inductees and subjectivity, but that doesn't stop us from compiling them. Hold on to your ACL, these are 10 of the most ridiculous submissions in MMA.

10. Thiago Moisés - Helicopter Armbar

Earlier this year, Thiago Moisés put everyone on notice by performing a lock already on many people's "Submission of the Year" short lists. Moisés lifted David Castillo up from spider guard and flipped him like a flapjack into an action movie armbar. This submission not only got Moisés some recognition, but also won him the Resurrection Fighting Alliance lightweight title.

9. Nate Diaz - Double Bird Triangle

When Nate Diaz wrapped up Kurt Pellegrino in a triangle choke, he couldn't just leave it at that. He no-handed that submission like a kid showing off their bike riding to their parents and flipped off the world. It's what made his triangle automatically better than any other. Diaz spoke to Esquire about the moment below.

"When I locked that down, I knew it was there. I could feel it. I train a lot, I train hard every day. I know when someone's in that deep, they're not getting out. I was pretty confident, I was like, 'He's not getting out.'"

8. Nick Diaz - Gogoplata

If Nate is nearby, Nick Diaz won't be too far behind. Diaz put on one of his best performances against PRIDE's Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi. At the time, Gomi was one of the top fighters on the planet. Diaz got hit by some Hadoukens, but eventually wore Gomi down with suffocating boxing and submitted him in spectacular fashion. It was the second ever fight won by gogoplata in the history of PRIDE. Check out the classic post-fight interview.

7. Korean Zombie - The Twister

Chan Sung Jung confused a lot of people when he tied up Leonard Garcia like a pretzel and torqued his neck. Luckily, there was a replay and 10th Planet black belt Joe Rogan to explain it. This was the first ever twister submission in the UFC. Needless to say, Eddie Bravo was pretty stoked about it as well when he spoke to MMA Fighting.

"When Korean Zombie pulled off the twister and said he'd learned it from my YouTube videos, man, I was on cloud nine that night. I ate six chocolate chip cookies with milk that night as I sat there reading all my Twitters. I thought, you know what? I'm celebrating. So I went to Subway and got six chocolate chip cookies."

6. Olivier Fontaine - Flying Spinning Armbar

You probably have never heard of Olivier Fontaine. He never fought in the UFC or held any championships, but he sure did pull off an armbar that looks like it was choreographed by John Woo. I bet after Sofiane Benchora caught that kick he never expected a hurricanrana. Fontaine must've been a luchador in a past life.

5. Frank Mir - Forearm Shattering Armbar

This fight between Frank Mir and Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 ended in controversy. The crowd was mad because Sylvia didn't tap. Now, what they didn't see is that Mir straight bent Sylvia's forearm into the angle of a crazy straw. Herb Dean saw it though and it freaked him out. Mir was thug life about it though and vowed if it is broken arms they want then broken arms they'll get.

4. Shinya Aoki - Arm Breaking Hammerlock

At Dynamite!! 2009, DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki fought Sengoku Lightweight Champion Mizuto Hirota and all hell broke loose. Aoki tore Hirota's arm in half while possessed by a "force". If the gnarly submission wasn't enough, he gave Hirota the old Diaz salute and flew around the ring like a plane. Aoki sounded a lot like Frank Mir below in a quote from Bleacher Report.

"He was very disrespectful to me before the fight. When I had his arm, he had a chance to tap and he chose not to. I'm not going to give up the submission just because my opponent is too arrogant to not tap. So I broke his arm."

3. Ryo Chonan - Flying Scissor Heel Hook

A couple of years before Anderson Silva made his UFC debut, he hadn't amassed his legendary status yet. However, going into PRIDE Shockwave 2004, Ryo Chonan was still a huge underdog compared to the rising phenom. The fact that Chonan even won was unexpected, but his flying scissor heel hook submission victory was incredible.

2. Chris Lytle - Reverse Triangle and Straight Armbar

Sometimes just one submission isn't good enough. Chris Lytle didn't think it was at UFC 73 when he locked up two at the same time on Jason Gilliam. It's honestly a great strategy if you can pull it off. Gilliam was probably distracted with getting choked he didn't think about his arm. Either way, Lytle was humble about it speaking to MMA Junkie.

"Those (submissions) were just kind of luck I guess,I'm not very good on the ground. I'm a boxer, pure and simple. [...] If they're going to give me a submission, I'm going to take it. I tried to do two at once to make sure it worked out, so I was happy with it."

1. Jon Jones - Standing Guillotine

It may not be a flying, spinning submission or resemble anything out of the newest X-Men movie, but it doesn't make it any less ridiculous. For his second UFC Light Heavyweight title defense, Jon Jones faced his toughest opponent yet against legendary Lyoto Machida. Jones ended up handing Machida his first submission loss ever with a wicked standing guillotine. Jones choked him out and let his limp body drop straight to the canvas and simply walked away.

Cold blooded.


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