Just when you thought it was safe to watch an arm-bar once again, Ronda Rousey showed us the devastating side of the hold as she gave MMA fans a moment to remember at last weekend’s Strikeforce show.
In a somewhat gruesome scene that rivalled Frank Mir’s bone crunching kimura on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for squeamishness, Rousey appeared to have snapped the elbow of her opponent Miesha Tate.
After Nogueira regrettably reminded us that we should probably tap when on the cusp of potential disfigurement, it was reasonable to assume that fighters in the MMA community would take note. Perhaps they would swallow their pride a lot quicker if they found themselves in a familiar predicament.
Tate, it seems, did not get the memo.
The finish had fight fans debating whether the graphic nature of the finish was a good advertisement for women’s MMA. It’s one thing when it happens to a male gladiator like Nogueira, but the sight of Tate’s elbow facing the opposite direction was something some fight fans had trouble digesting.
Rousey’s appliance of the hold is either sickening or beautiful, depending on your love for jiu-jitsu and the strength of your gag reflex, but in homage to the new Strikeforce Women’s bantamweight champion, here’s four more bone-crunching submissions from recent years that will leave you squirming.
Frank Mir v Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: UFC 140
Frank Mir could be on this list twice. He nearly ripped Tim Sylvia’s arm right out of its socket at UFC 48 when he lifted the UFC heavyweight title.
Earning his black belt in BJJ with the fight stopping hold, along with the UFC title, Mir broke Slyvia’s right arm in four places, just 50 seconds into round one when Herb Dean stopped the fight upon noticing that Sylvia’s arm was contorted.
If anyone ever doubted Mir’s black belt credentials after this, he reminded fight fans of his dangerous ground game skills when he fought Big Nog for the second time in December 2011 at what was a brutal UFC card, featuring several nasty finishes.
After being tagged with a flurry of punches from Nogueira, Mir somehow rolled into the right position, instinctively grabbing the right arm of his opponent. Putting all of his body weight on Big Nog from the top, Mir gave Herb Dean another up close and personal display of his handy work.
Inhaling and taking one large breath, Mir knew the only way he could finish the fight and make legendary BJJ practioner Nogueira tap was to snap a bone. Cool, calm and collected, that is exactly what he did as he exhaled and locked in the hold.
The moment of impact, followed by the footage of Nogueira lying helpless on the canvas, witnessing the wreckage of his own arm was one that will never be forgotten by those who have seen the clip.
With two gruesome finishes on his resume, don’t ever be surprised if Mir goes for a trilogy of bone-breakers.
Shinya Aoki v Mizutu Hirota: Dynamite! 2009
For graphic reasons, this makes the list for two reasons. One; the moment when Aoki pops Hirota’s arm in a merciless arm-bar and two, the post-fight heinous antics of Aoki as seconds after breaking his opponent’s arm, he ungraciously shows no remorse and instead, gets in Hirota’s face and gives him the middle finger.
Whereas the technique used for the arm-bar was technically sound and classy in its execution, the celebration post fight was far from it as Aoki’s one finger salute was so badly timed, it makes Nick Diaz – another fan of the gesture – look like a saint.
A grandmaster of submissions, Aoki’s hammerlock at 1.17 into his first round fight with Hirota is always remembered in tandem with his actions after it as he not only flipped the bird at Hirota, but also to all in attendance in Saitama, Japan.
Unmistakable in multi-coloured pants, Aoki mounted the back of his opponent near the ropes and wrapped Hirota’s right arm around his own back. As he reigned down with hammerfists, his attentions then turned to a hammerlock and it proved to be a wise decision as Aoki flipped Hirota on his back and continued to apply the pressure.
Again, the video is still not for the faint-hearted as you can see the carnage as Aoki wrenches one last time before snapping the arm. Initially, Aoki showed absolutely no regrets or remorse for his actions, but would later apologize for giving Hirota the one-finger salute.
Kazushi Sakuraba v Renzo Gracie: Pride 10
“The Gracie Hunter”, as Sakuraba was dubbed by the Japanese media had already defeated Royler and Royce Gracie before Renzo took the ring to try and avenge his family’s name.
Bad move as Renzo’s quest ended in the worst way possible when he let pride get in the way of defeat, stubbornly refusing to tap to Sakuraba’s deep kimura just seconds before the end of their closely fought encounter at Pride 10.
With time ticking away, Gracie found himself in a precarious position as his opponent wrestled him to the floor using Gracie’s arm as leverage.
Like the other members of his family before him, Renzo refused to tap in what proved to be a costly decision as Sakuraba mangled Gracie’s elbow, giving the referee no choice but to call for the bell, before he took a hold of the deformed arm of Gracie, in what is a horror show moment.
Though, with Gracie as his last name, did you really expect him to tap? Sakuraba certainly knew this and finished the fight the only way he knew that he could.
Steve Cantwell v Razak Al-Hassan: UFC Fight for the Troops, December 2008
Former WEC Lightheavyweight Champion Steve Cantwell gave United States troops in attendance a moment they would even find hard to stomach when he islocated Al-Hassan’s elbow with a savage arm-bar.
As combat sports injuries go, this is up there with the worst of them to witness as Cantwell, with perfect form snaps the left arm of Al-Hassan before referee Mario Yamasaki jumps in to call a stop to the contest.
Wrestling Al-Hassan to the ground, Cantwell goes about his business, applying a classic style arm-bar, sitting on the torso of his rival before wrenching the arm back. A gallant effort by Al-Hassan yields no reward for him as the former WEC champion keeps his grasp on Al-Hassan’s arm.
With no sign of a tap coming from his opponent, Cantwell goes for the jugular and further contorts the arm of Al-Hassan, forcing it to snap and bringing an end to the fight. However, the win seems to have cursed Cantwell – he has gone 0-5 in the Octagon since.