ONE Championship is home to some of the best submission artists in all of martial arts.
These men and women would feel at home and excel in pure grappling competitions, but when they turn their hand to mixed martial arts, they can seem to be unstoppable when a match-up goes horizontal.
The Home Of Martial Arts’ ground specialists primarily come from a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu base, which highlights their skill through one of the core principles of martial arts – technique takes precedence over strength and brute force.
ONE’s masters of the mat use their skills to dictate position, break down their opponents’ defenses, and eventually hone in on a bout-ending maneuver.
Out of all the outstanding masters of joint locks and chokes on the roster, these are the seven most sensational submission magicians on the global stage.
Brazil’s Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes hails from the home of BJJ, where he started to train to get away from a life on the streets.
The ONE Flyweight World Champion quickly found that he had an aptitude for “the gentle art,” and became a multiple-time state champion in his native Brasilia.
The skills he learned in his homeland set him up for huge success on the international stage in mixed martial arts – he is the only athlete in ONE Championship history to enjoy three World Title reigns.
His penchant for attacking the neck and choking his rivals has taken him to the top of the flyweight division, where he has submitted six of his rivals with a variety of chokes, including Danny “The King” Kingad and Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio.
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Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is the only athlete on this list that is not a BJJ black belt, but his grappling skills would be a match for any opponent in the world.
Johnson is a brown belt in the traditional form of the discipline, but only because he has focused so much of his time on his no-gi game for mixed martial arts. It has paid off, as he has won 12 of his 28 victories via submission with his blend of BJJ, wrestling and catch wrestling.
His offensive style means he can attack at any point and from any position, which he showed when he ensnared Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in a guillotine choke in his promotional debut at ONE: A NEW ERA.
“Tarzan” has a 100 percent finishing rate in his career, and 10 of his 13 wins have come via submission.
His ground attacks are constant, and he is not afraid to attack with innovative techniques that create highlights that are seen around the world. The two reverse-triangle keylock submissions he has landed in The Home Of Martial Arts are a testament to his creativity.
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Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon is one of the most renowned submission grapplers on the planet. As part of the Danaher Death Squad, the 27-year-old American and his team revolutionized the no-gi game with their focus on heel hook attacks.
The multiple-time BJJ World Champion first tasted success in the Circle when he submitted Shinya Aoki in a grappling super-match, but he has since become a full-time mixed martial arts professional, and he has used his acumen on the mat to race to a perfect 5-0 slate.
“The Lion Killer” has submitted three of his five opponents so far, with the most memorable being his slick leg lock entry and finish over Yoshiki Nakahara at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON.
Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki will likely go down as the greatest submission artist in mixed martial arts history.
The BJJ and judo black belt achieved 27 of 43 career victories by tapout, using everything from rear-naked chokes and armbars to gogoplatas and twisters.
He has consistently done it at the top level, too. Three of his four victories in ONE World Title bouts have come by way of submission – against Eduard Folayang, Kotetsu Boku, and Kamal Shalorus.
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No women’s athlete has been more dominant in The Home Of Martial Arts than “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, who relied on her prodigious submission skills to finish six of her opponents.
The Singaporean superstar forced her first five opponents to tapout to a variety of techniques – including a rarely-seen twister – and later added a sixth in her World Title defense against Istela Nunes.
Lee grew up in martial arts and earned a black belt under her father, Ken Lee. That lifetime of experience has been crucial for her mixed martial arts success – and scoring the second-most submissions in ONE history.
No man has won more bouts by tapout in the world’s largest martial arts organization than Marat “Cobra” Gafurov. The Russian has seven submissions, and the lion’s share of them have come with his favored rear-naked choke.
Gafurov has cross-trained in wrestling and sambo, but the base of his style is BJJ, and it has honed him into a prolific finisher from the back.
He scored an incredible six rear-naked choke wins in a row against the likes of Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, Ev “E.T.” Ting and Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa – a feat that is unlikely to be repeated by another ONE athlete.