MMA saw some incredible submissions in 2015, but which was the best? We run through the five nominees for ‘Submission of the Year’.
Ronda Rousey (vs. Cat Zingano, UFC 184)
When Ronda Rousey knocked out Alexis Davis in just 16 seconds at UFC 175, fans were sure they would never see such a quick finish in a UFC championship fight again. But, in February of 2015, Rousey proved everyone wrong.
At UFC 184, Rousey defeated Cat Zingano via inverted armbar in an unbelievable 14 seconds to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title. Zingano was widely regarded as Rousey’s most dangerous opponent up until that point, being undefeated like the defending champ. But Rousey’s athleticism and extraordinary grappling prowess proved too much for the challenger and, when Ronda countered Cat’s flying knee attempt with a bizarre cartwheel takedown straight into an armbar, we saw not only one of the quickest submissions in MMA history but also one of the most technically impressive.
Marcos Galvao (vs. Joe Warren, Bellator 135)
After putting together a run of three wins, Marcos Galvao challenged Joe Warren for the Bellator bantamweight championship last March.
After coming up short in his first Bellator title attempt, against Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 89 when he lost via knockout, Brazilian challenger Galvao was determined not to allow history to repeat itself. And, in the second round of his championship fight with Warren, Galvao achieved his goal with a slick kneebar submission. Warren protested the finish as he did not tap but instead yelled in pain, causing referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy to call a stop to the contest due to verbal submission. However, upon review, there can be no doubt Galvao would have only done more damage with his expertly executed move.
Fabricio Werdum (vs. Cain Velasquez, UFC 188)
After one of the most impressive resurgences we’ve ever seen in MMA, Fabricio Werdum finally got his UFC heavyweight title shot against Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 in Mexico.
With Velasquez coming into the fight off a layoff of almost two years, and with Werdum having looked better and better in every fight of his 5-0 run leading up to the bout, Fabricio wasn’t exactly being counted out against the previously dominant champ. And Werdum did his supporters proud when he submitted Cain in the third round with an effortless guillotine in response a Velasquez takedown attempt. The title win was the most impressive performance in a run of impressive performances from Werdum and a perfect exhibition of his high level Brazilian jiu-jitsu game.
Liam McGeary (vs. Tito Ortiz, Bellator: Dynamite)
Liam McGeary became the first ever British Bellator champion in early 2015, and when he defended the belt against Tito Ortiz in the main event of the biggest Bellator event of 2015 the manner in which he did it couldn’t have been smoother.
McGeary had already proven himself as a dangerous striker en route to winning the Bellator title, but showed he is also extremely dangerous off his back when he beat Emanuel Newton last February to capture the 205lb title. He reaffirmed his submission skills against former UFC champ Ortiz with an inverted triangle, executed while Ortiz was in side control – a seemingly dominant position.
McGeary is now expected to defend his belt against high level wrestler Phil Davis at some point this year. Davis may possess some powerful wrestling ability but, with his submission game, McGeary may not be as concerned about being taken down as many of Davis’ previous opponents.
Tony Ferguson (vs. Edson Barboza, TUF 22 Finale)
Ferguson looked outstanding in his 6-0 run leading up to his December fight against fellow top contender Edson Barboza, and he capped his year off in truly spectacular fashion. Not only did his fight with Barboza earn a World MMA Awards nomination, but he also bagged two bonuses for ‘Performance of the Night’ and ‘Fight of the Night’.
Ferguson may not have gotten what he wanted in a title shot against UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos after his D’arce choke win over Edson Barboza, but a ‘Submission of the Year’ nomination would surely be a satisfying consolation prize.