Features

The Best World Title Submissions In ONE Championship History

Apr 8, 2020

Some of the greatest submission specialists on the planet have competed for ONE Championship’s coveted World Titles and showcased their spectacular grappling prowess when it mattered the most.

In front of sold-out crowds in arenas all throughout Asia, they earned World Championship gold with their ability to control, and subdue, their rivals on the canvas.

That is not easy to do – especially against elite opposition on the global stage. It requires skill, patience, and composure, which are just three of the many traits that define a true World Champion.

Now, go division-by-division and take a closer look at the best World Title submission victories in ONE Championship history.

The Best ONE Light Heavyweight World Title Submission

Roger Gracie is one of the most decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners of all time, and he brought his astonishing skill to the Circle for the inaugural ONE Light Heavyweight World Title bout at ONE: ASCENT TO POWER in May 2016.

Nearly a minute into the opening stanza, Gracie tripped his then-undefeated foe, Michal Pasternak, to the canvas and quickly passed to full mount — his trademark position. Pasternak tried to escape and turned his back, but the London-based grappler saw his opportunity.

He slipped his left arm around the Polish athlete’s head and cinched in a head-and-arm grip. From there, Gracie slipped off to side control, locked in the arm-triangle choke, applied the crushing squeeze, and put his opponent to sleep within seconds.

Gracie earned the highlight-reel finish in the first round and left the Singapore Indoor Stadium as the first-ever ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion.

The Best ONE Welterweight World Title Submission

Former American Olympic wrestler Ben “Funky” Askren utilized his phenomenal grappling expertise just seconds into his ONE Welterweight World Title defense at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in Singapore back in May 2017.

Early in the first round, the defending champion took then-undefeated Malaysian sensation Agilan “Alligator” Thani down to the canvas and set to work with his smothering wrestling game.

Thani looked to earn a brief respite as he scrambled back to his feet, but the American brought him straight back to the mat and landed with his head under the Kuala Lumpur native’s right armpit.

Askren threaded his right arm under “Alligator’s” head and took a strong palm-to-palm grip. Then, he swiftly cut through Thani’s half guard and angled off to side control to complete the arm-triangle submission.

The Best ONE Lightweight World Title Submission 

In a battle of martial arts icons, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki squared off against then-ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang for a second time at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2019.

The main event clash was a rematch that had been two and a half years in the making, and the Japanese legend was determined to earn some redemption in front of his home crowd.

Just moments into the opening frame, Aoki barreled his rival to the mat. Folayang made the tactical error of trying to brace off “Tobikan Judan’s” face, which allowed the local hero to slip past his elbow and straight into an arm-triangle attack.

Aoki freed his legs, lowered his center of gravity to add pressure to his choke, and then put “Landslide” to sleep to reclaim the lightweight crown.

The Best ONE Featherweight World Title Submission

We’re in for a masterpiece grappling showcase in Jakarta!

We’re in for a masterpiece grappling showcase in Jakarta!Jakarta | 20 January | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 main-card bouts LIVE | PPV: Official Livestream at oneppv.com | Tickets: bit.ly/onecourage18

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 19, 2018

A year after their first contest, Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa secured back-to-back wins to earn a rematch with reigning champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov for the ONE Featherweight World Title at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in Singapore back in November 2016.

The Mongolian hero looked composed in the stand-up exchanges during the opening round, but Gafurov capitalized on a slip to take control on the ground.

“Tungaa” desperately tried to survive and fended off some attacks, but when “Cobra” forced him to turn his back after some heavy ground and pound from the mount position, it was the beginning of the end.

Gafurov slid his right arm under the neck, went palm-to-palm, and put on the squeeze to claim his record-breaking sixth consecutive rear-naked choke victory.

The Best ONE Bantamweight World Title Submission

"The Flash" lights up Macao with a stunning finish.

Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes kept up his stranglehold on the division when he dispatched Andrew Leone in under two minutes at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS in Macau back in August 2017.

The Brazilian pressed Leone to the Circle Wall and then dropped him with a hard knee to the body. He immediately swarmed with punches, but somehow the American survived.

Fernandes then opted to go a different route. He quickly locked in a rear-naked choke and forced the tap – in 107 seconds, no less – to retain the bantamweight crown.

The Best ONE Flyweight World Title Submission

Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes has been the most dominant force in the flyweight division since its inception. In fact, he has six wins in ONE Flyweight World Title contests.

The Brazilian picked up one of those victories when he submitted then-unbeaten Filipino prodigy Danny “The King” Kingad on his home turf at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD in November 2017. 

After a feeling-out process, the ONE Flyweight World Champion countered the Filipino’s low kick and rushed him to the canvas. The BJJ black belt looked to dictate the position, and when Kingad burst up to his knees in an effort to begin his escape, “Mikinho” was well prepared.

Moraes moved quickly to the Team Lakay man’s back, locked up a tight body-triangle, and then sunk in a rear-naked choke to ruin “The King’s” spotless record and retain his belt.

The Best ONE Strawweight World Title Submission

In November 2019, ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and his compatriot Rene “The Challenger” Catalan squared off in an all-Filipino battle for the belt at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE in Manila.

The division’s reigning king stuffed Catalan’s takedown attempt early in the second frame, and then he turned his countryman over to land in top position. He managed to untangle his leg from “The Challenger’s” half guard and moved to side control.

Pacio buried his head in his rival’s armpit, and stepped over to mount and secured the head-and-arm position. With his grips right where he wanted them, “The Passion” dropped off to side control and throttled the challenger until he succumbed to the arm-triangle choke.

The Best ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title Submission

ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee added to her extensive list of submission finishes when she choked out Brazilian challenger Istela Nunes at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in her native Singapore back in May 2017.

Nunes tried to use her Muay Thai repertoire to keep the local hero at bay in round two, but “Unstoppable” caught a kick and tumbled her to the ground.

As the Brazilian tried to clamber back up, Lee latched on to a front headlock and set up the anaconda choke position. Nunes resisted several snap-down attempts, but “Unstoppable” changed tack to trip her opponent to the mat.

Lee was in a strong position to attack with the choke straight away. Nunes did her best to fend it off, but the reigning atomweight queen kept up the pressure and eventually forced her foe to wave the white flag.

What made this victory even more impressive was the fact that the Singaporean was diagnosed with pneumonia one week out from event night. Regardless, Lee still won and proved that she truly is “Unstoppable.”

Read more: The Best World Title Knockouts In ONE Championship History