The 5 most shocking UFC submissions of all time

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Danny Howard

May 5th, 2021

In the UFC, there is nothing more breathtaking than an incredible submission. Be it locks, chokes, or twists, these stunning holds have led to many legendary moments in the octagon.

Join us now as look at five of the most shocking submissions in UFC history.

5. Frank Mir kneecaps Brock Lesnar’s MMA debut

When Brock Lesnar made his MMA debut at UFC 81 in 2008, it was clear the promotion wanted him to make a statement at the expense of a presumably fading star, but Mir was having none of it. Instead of playing the sacrificial lamb, Mir managed to survive Lesnar’s onslaught long enough to find an opening to trap the future heavyweight champion in a kneebar. Lesnar tapped out, giving Mir the shocking upset win and spoiling Lesnar’s big night.

4. Nate Diaz chokes out the Notorious One

Conor McGregor was at his peak at UFC 196 in 2016 ahead of launching into his legendary rivalry with Diaz, who was a considerable underdog even though McGregor was moving to welterweight to fight him. Diaz displayed his trademark toughness, and gave McGregor all he could handle in their violent brawl. In the second round, Diaz was able to trap McGregor in a rear-naked choke which prompted the Notorious One to promptly tap out, earning Diaz the signature win of his career.

3. Jon Jones’ savage submission of Lyoto Machida

The guillotine choke is an effective submission hold, but nobody used it to the degree of severity like Jones did when he locked Machida in it at UFC 140 in 2011. During their contest, Jones backed Machida up against the cage when he applied the hold and held on so tight that when the referee came in to break the hold, Machida fell to the ground like an oversized potato sack.

2. The Korean Zombie's Twister

Chan Sung Jung, better known as The Korean Zombie, pulled off one of the rarest submissions in UFC history in his rematch with Leonard Garcia in 2011. The twister is a complex side-guillotine that looks as tough as it feels, but when Jung and Garcia started scrambling on the mat, Jung somehow went through the entire encyclopedia of submissions and decided to use one rarely seen in the UFC. It would be almost a decade before we’d see the hold used again.

1. Silva's Hail Mary triangle choke

We all know the story of the first Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen bout at UFC 117 in 2010, but no matter how many times it gets told, the finish never gets old. Sonnen was putting on the performance of his career, dominating Silva at every turn and was moments away from ending one of the most storied runs in UFC history. With time running out and Sonnen unrelenting in his attack, Silva had to find a way to win on his back, and he somehow managed to lock in a triangle choke for the dramatic finish.