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The Most Effective Submissions In ONE Championship History

Mar 21, 2020

Have you ever wondered the best way to finish a mixed martial arts bout on the ground?

Athletes from all kinds of grappling arts – including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, judo, and sambo – specialize in stopping contests by getting their opponents to tap out, and have figured out which techniques are best for getting the job done at the highest level in ONE Championship.

A look at the submissions most frequently used to finish matches will show you the go-to moves for a lot of these elite competitors.

=10 Reverse Triangle Americana (2 Finishes)

ONE man is responsible for bringing this innovative double-threat attack into joint-10th position – Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton.

The Costa Rican BJJ black belt submitted Anvar Alizhanov and Kota “Kong” Shimoishi with his reverse triangle Americana, which combines a tight triangle choke from the back with a painful shoulder lock.

=10 Anaconda Choke (2 Finishes)

Any athlete who can apply the anaconda choke will have a great chance of finishing their opponent. Like the snake it is named after, it has a tight squeeze and is made effective by constricting blood in the carotid arteries.

However, it is not that common in the Circle because it requires a high-level grappler to first lock up their opponent’s head and arm with their figure-four grip, and then control their legs to stop them escaping.

It is no surprise to see “Unstoppable” Angela Lee is one competitor who got the job done as she used this move to retain her ONE Atomweight World Title against Istela Nunes at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES. Chinese choke specialist “The Stalker” Xie Bin also earned a win with it over Hisyam “Zaphyrus” Samsudin at ONE: HEART OF THE LION.

#9 Heel Hook (6 Finishes)

The heel hook is the only leg lock that features in the top 10, as it takes a true expert to subdue and submit an opponent by sacrificing defense to attack their lower limbs.

Though its name references where the attacker grips their rival’s leg, it actually targets the knee, and there are few better athletes at executing this technique in the history of mixed martial arts as the aptly-named “Ashikan Judan” (master of leg locks), Masakazu Imanari.

The Japanese icon has submitted “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il and Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon with his signature move in the Circle.

#8 Kimura (8 Finishes)

The Kimura is a classic shoulder lock that can be learned by a BJJ novice, but it takes a particularly strong or crafty competitor to pull it off on the global stage.

Few well-trained athletes will allow their arm to be isolated in a figure-four grip easily, but an athlete like Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes had the grappling mastery to maneuver into position, and before Kevin Belingon realized he was in danger at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS, he was tapping.

Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang showed a seasoned competitor can also be caught when his unorthodox approach bamboozled Pongsiri “Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit at ONE: FIRE & FURY and left him vulnerable to the finish.

#7 Americana (10 Finishes)

The Americana is a close relative of the Kimura, and slightly more common on the global stage.

That is due in large part to one athlete – Ayaka Miura. The Japanese judoka has claimed all three of her wins in ONE with her trademark submission from the scarf-hold position.

=5 D’Arce Choke (11 Finishes)

These next submissions are tied for 5th, so they take up the next two spots.

Whether you call this the D’Arce choke or brabo choke, its effect is the same. Similar to the anaconda choke, it is a powerful head-and-arm attack that is sure to render a tap or unconsciousness – whichever comes first.

“The Stalker” Xie Bin has made this something of a calling card with a pair of wins in the world’s largest martial arts organization, while top middleweight contender Reinier “The Dutch Knight” De Ridder introduced himself to fans around the world with a picture-perfect example in his ONE debut.

=5 Triangle Choke (11 Finishes)

The triangle choke is a quintessential BJJ technique that allows an athlete to turn defense into attack in the blink of an eye.

A martial artist may be on their back, in what is usually seen to be an inferior position, but if they can stuff one of their rival’s arms, throw a leg over their shoulder, and create the triangle with their legs by locking their foot behind their opposite knee, the momentum of a bout can switch. Jihin “Shadowcat” Radzuan has done that twice in the Circle.

However, this move can also be achieved by an aggressor like Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, who has no problem jumping guard to try and trap some of his rivals in one of his signature submissions.

#4 Arm-Triangle Choke (18 Finishes)

The arm-triangle choke is a favorite of dominant top-position grapplers, who can generate an incredible squeeze to force a tap or turn out the lights of their rivals.

Aoki scored arguably the two most important arm-triangle finishes in ONE history when he earned a World Title shot by putting Ev “E.T.” Ting to sleep within a minute, and then won the belt by making Eduard “Landslide” Folayang wave the white flag in the first round.

#3 Armbar (36 Finishes)

The fact that the armbar is the only joint lock in the top five tells you they are a little harder to pull off, but there are so many ways to set up and pull this maneuver off, it is no surprise we have seen it so many times.

The all-time leading armbar artist in The Home Of Martial Arts is BJJ World Champion, Alex “Little Rock” Silva. The former ONE Strawweight World Champion has submitted five of his rivals with his favorite technique.

#2 Guillotine Choke (38 Finishes)

Unlike most of the submissions on this list, the guillotine choke can be achieved from a standing position, or as a counter to an aggressive wrestler who leaves their neck out in the open when they shoot in for a takedown.

Ev “E.T.” Ting leads the way with this move with three guillotine wins on his ONE résumé, but there was arguably no more important guillotine choke than the one Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes used to win the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Title in 2014.

#1 Rear-Naked Choke (145 Finishes)

By far the most effective submission in ONE is the rear-naked choke, which is the source of almost half of all the submission finishes.

In Brazil, home of BJJ, they call it the mata leão (lion killer) because of its strength. Most of its effectiveness comes from the positional dominance that is usually required to secure it. Getting to an opponent’s back can be a tall order, but the reward is the high-percentage availability of the finish.

There are a few competitors who have made cinching this submission look like a formality at times, however. The undisputed king of the rear-naked choke is former ONE Featherweight World Champion, Marat “Cobra” Gafurov, who hit an unparalleled streak of six victories with it.

Agilan “Alligator” Thani, Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian, and Hayato Suzuki all have a quartet of victories in the Circle using this method, but none have done so with as much on the line as Bibiano Fernandes. “The Flash” has won three World Title bouts with his rear-naked choke. Adriano Moraes also has a trio of wins with this technique, including two when gold was on the line. 

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