Many of ONE Championship’s elite grapplers showcased their skills in the last quarter of 2018 as some slick stoppages made the headlines.
The final six events of the year – which began in Bangkok on 6 October and ended in Malaysia on 7 December – produced dozens of exciting finishes, including 18 via submission.
The masterfully applied chokes and joint locks thrilled fans inside Asia’s arenas and set their architects up for big things in 2019.
Here are four of the best from the past few months.
Aoki Chokes Ting In Less Than A Minute
Shinya Aoki's performance was ___ !Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, October 7, 2018
Ting wanted to stay out of the grappling exchanges with the BJJ black belt in Bangkok, Thailand, and many would have backed him to do so. The Malaysian was on a tear and had only been finished once in the previous six and a half years.
However, he found himself on his back quickly courtesy of a well-timed double-leg takedown from his Japanese foe.
Ting held on to Aoki’s neck as they hit the canvas, but “Tobikan Judan” knew that if he passed the guard, his rival’s guillotine grip would be useless.
Aoki stepped through to the mount and forced his right arm tightly around Ting’s neck while he buried his head into his opponent’s opposite armpit – knowing Ting’s reluctance to let go could be used against him.
The man from Tokyo slid across to side control, then used his grip around the neck and Ting’s own right arm to squeeze tightly on the carotid artery and finish the contest in a flash.
Imanari’s Guard Mastery Entangles Rahman
Japanese legend Masakazu Imanari ends it QUICK with a slick armbar on Radeem Rahman at 1:23 of Round 1! Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, October 26, 2018
Radeem Rahman knew he wanted to stay out of the 42-year-old’s grasp at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS, but Imanari feinted with a takedown attempt and pulled guard in trademark rolling style to bring the Singaporean into his world.
“Ashikan Judan” immediately worked a high guard into an omoplata, but Rahman defended the initial attempt well. However, the experienced Japanese athlete quickly transitioned to another attack.
Just as it looked like the Singaporean had turned in to negate the omoplata, Imanari switched his hips and threw his left leg in front of Rahman’s head to secure an armbar that forced a swift tap.
He knew what Imanari wanted to do, but the veteran is so crafty, there was little he could do to stop it.
Wada Snatches Sudden Choke
Tatsumitsu Wada locks in a deep rear naked choke to force the tap from Eugene Toquero at 0:52 of Round 1! Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, November 17, 2018
Another Japanese ground specialist added an impressive first-round submission victory to his resume in his sophomore ONE showing. Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada needed just 52 seconds to end Eugene Toquero’s night early at ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM.
Renowned striker Toquero was reluctant to engage with his foe, and when he did, he paid the price. The Filipino over-extended on a left hook, which allowed “The Sweeper” to jump on his back in the blink of an eye.
Wada immediately established a seatbelt grip and dragged Toquero to the mat – with his right leg deep across his hips. The athlete from Tokyo grapevined his left leg behind the Muay Thai stylist’s left knee to prevent any chance of an escape and then slid his right arm under the neck for the rear-naked choke.
It was as good as over at that point. Wada grabbed his own bicep and hid his left hand behind Toquero’s head, meaning there was no way to defend when he applied the squeeze. The tap came quickly afterward.
Wada had hinted at his grappling greatness in his debut in The Home Of Martial Arts a few months earlier, but fans truly got to see how special he can be on the mat in his second contest.
Bigdash Doubles Up On Niimura
Vitaly Bigdash locks in a STUNNING submission to force the tap from Yuki Niimura at 4:24 of Round 1!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, December 7, 2018
Vitaly Bigdash picked up his fifth – and arguably his best – career submission at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A two-pronged attack put ONE debutant Yuki “Yu-King” Niimura in all kinds of trouble and forced him to tap.
Bigdash took the Japanese striker down early in the first round of their contest and continually looked for openings to attack. With 90 seconds remaining in the period, he attempted to take his opponent’s back, but “Yu-King” did his best to shake the Russian off.
Niimura could not free himself, however. Instead, he put himself in a more precarious position. Bigdash threw his right leg over his opponent’s right shoulder, and locked up a reverse triangle choke by cinching his foot behind his left knee.
The choke was tight enough, but Bigdash then found a way to isolate Niimura’s left arm to attack on two fronts. He extended the limb and applied pressure with his hips for a straight armbar which, combined with the squeeze, was enough to force the tap and return him to the winner’s circle.
If fans needed any reminder why the former ONE Middleweight World Champion is still one of the division’s most dangerous martial artists, they got it.