ONE Championship’s grappling specialists have thrilled the fans with their submission prowess all throughout 2019.
A knockout can transpire in a split second, but the competitors with expert skills on the mat have carefully orchestrated – and then executed – their finishes to achieve victory on the global stage.
Drawing from arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, and judo, these mixed martial artists took their pay-off from a lifetime of training to tap out their opponents when it mattered the most.
Take a look back at 10 of the finest pieces of submission brilliance in The Home Of Martial Arts this year.
#1 Eduard Folayang vs. Shinya Aoki
Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki’s dominant first-round victory over Eduard “Landslide” Folayang delivered on all fronts. He showed great skill under immense pressure and earned his redemption against the Team Lakay star.
The Tokyo native dispatched the Filipino in the main event at ONE: A NEW ERA — the promotion’s first-ever event in the Japanese capital — in March to win back the ONE Lightweight World Title he lost at the hands of his rival in November 2016.
It was vintage Aoki, as the hometown hero pushed Folayang to the fence and then dragged him to the mat. Here, “Tobikan Judan” was in his element, and he set to work on the finish from half-guard.
“Landslide” tried to frame away to create space to escape, but Aoki slipped his head into his opponent’s armpit to set up an arm-triangle choke.
He clasped his hands together and slid through to the mount position, where he applied a consistent, suffocating squeeze that rendered Folayang unconscious. Just like that, Aoki was back on top of the lightweight mountain.
#2 Demetrious Johnson vs. Yuya Wakamatsu
In his promotional debut at ONE: A NEW ERA, legendary flyweight competitor Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson defeated Japanese phenom Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in the quarterfinals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
The local favorite looked impressive in the opening stanza, as he landed hard strikes on the American. However, Johnson’s wrestling paid dividends in round two when he took “Little Piranha” down and dominated the positional game.
A frustrated Wakamatsu desperately tried to work back up to his feet, but “Mighty Mouse” captured his neck, drove in a pair of knees, and then cinched up a tight guillotine choke to claim the victory.
#3 Ayaka Miura vs. Samara Santos
Japanese strawweight contender Ayaka Miura closed the distance and scored a takedown in the opening seconds of her match with Samara “Marituba” Santos at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in August, and she got straight into her favorite scarfhold position.
The Brazilian hung tough and fended off every submission attempt to reach round two, but just seconds into the frame, she was taken down again and put into the exact same position.
This time, the Japanese grappler got the bite she needed. Miura trapped Santos’ left arm in-between her legs, and then she drove her hips forward to crank on a wince-inducing scarfhold Americana — just like she has done many times before. The tap quickly followed.
#4 Fan Rong vs. Reinier De Ridder
The Dutchman deployed his strategy in a matter of seconds, as he took “King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong to the canvas with a single leg takedown and then quickly passed his rival’s guard. He first looked for a kimura, but the Chinese athlete turned in to escape with an underhook.
This did not deter the Combat Brothers representative, however. De Ridder instantly threaded his right arm under the armpit and through to his left bicep, and then he fell to his back to apply a D’Arce choke. Thanks to the hulking Dutchman’s tight squeeze, Fan was unconscious within seconds.
#5 Itsuki Hirata vs. Rika Ishige
Fans watching ONE: CENTURY PART I witnessed a rare head scissors submission, as Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata finished Thai hero Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige with the inventive choke in front of her compatriots in the Japanese capital.
In the second round of their women’s atomweight contest, Hirata looked for a shoulder lock on her opposite number, but “Tiny Doll” worked to her knees and looked for a way out. Then, “Strong Heart Fighter” dived over the Thai’s back with a figure-four grip on her arm and turned her over.
The Japanese star wrenched Ishige’s arm free, and it looked like she was about to attack for a straight armlock. However, she quickly changed her plan.
Instead, she clenched her legs tightly around her adversary’s neck, pinched her thighs with tremendous power, and forced Ishige to tap out.
The Best Of The Rest
- #6 Masakazu Imanari vs. Kwon Won Il
- #7 Angela Lee vs. Xiong Jing Nan II
- #8 Alex Silva vs. Peng Xue Wen
- #9 Garry Tonon vs. Yoshiki Nakahara
- #10 Joshua Pacio vs. Rene Catalan
Read more: Top 10 Mixed Martial Arts Knockouts Of 2019