In a little under a decade, ONE Championship has been the stage for some of the most incredible submissions ever seen in mixed martial arts.
The diversity of styles of the organization’s athletes, their skill as grapplers, and creativity in the Circle have brought about some impressive and rarely-seen finishes at the highest level of their sport.
The result is that ONE has become renowned for being the home of the world’s most exciting martial arts action, where fans can almost guarantee they will see some electrifying finishing techniques from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, judo, wrestling, or another grappling discipline – alongside all the world-class striking.
Though there have been scores of highlight-reel submissions on the global stage, these are the top 20 that have been plucked from the archives for your viewing pleasure.
“Dagi” put the finishing touches on a demolition job of Yamada with a slick armbar. While the Japanese athlete desperately tried to avoid more damage, his Turkish rival smoothly transitioned through positions to get the submission.
#19 Yoshitaka Naito Vs. Joshua Pacio
Grappling 101 in a ONE Strawweight World Title match as “Nobita” took control, offered no window for escape, and locked up a rear-naked choke before his Filipino rival even knew it was a threat.
#18 Reece McLaren Vs. Gianni Subba
A seamless transition from Australia’s “Lightning” as he hit a takedown straight into mount, took the arm-triangle choke, switched to side control, and got the tap in the blink of an eye.
#17 Reinier De Ridder Vs. Fan Rong
“The Dutch Knight” set a trap in his ONE debut, and his Chinese opponent walked right into it. “King Kong Warrior” thought he had a way to escape a relentless ground attack, but he sat up straight into a deep D’Arce choke.
#16 Ayaka Miura Vs. Laura Balin
Scarf-hold submissions have become this Japanese rising star’s calling card, and she showed why in her ONE debut when she trapped a former ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title contender in her net and torqued with an Americana.
#15 Narantungalag Jadambaa Vs. Kotetsu Boku
Few featherweights on Earth can match “Tungaa” for sheer strength, and he showed why when his powerful squeeze put “No Face” to sleep.
#14 Mei Yamaguchi Vs. Kseniya Lachkova
“V.V.” hit her opponent with everything in her locker on her return to action in Japan at ONE: A NEW ERA, and sealed a late win with a perfect armbar. Lachkova did everything to hang on, but she had no choice but to tap.
#13 Masakazu Imanari Vs. Kwon Won Il
“Ashikan Judan” is known for his leg locks, and his rivals know they are coming, but they can rarely do anything to stop them. In February, the Japanese legend went straight for the finish and got it with a heel hook after just 53 seconds.
#12 Jenny Huang Vs. April Osenio
Just when it looked like her rival from Team Lakay had escaped a terminal position on the ground, “Lady GoGo” earned her nickname by snapping on the rarest of techniques – a gogoplata that had the Filipina desperately tapping for a reprieve.
Another scarf-hold submission, this time an armlock from Indonesia’s “Thathie,” who sent her home fans wild with this first-round finish last February.
#10 Marat Gafurov Vs. Narantungalag Jadambaa II
“Cobra’s” sixth consecutive rear-naked choke in a row was his most impressive – against a teak-tough former World Champion in the very first round to defend the ONE Featherweight World Title.
#9 Alex Silva Vs. Hayato Suzuki
Japan’s Suzuki is probably still wondering how “Little Rock” managed to go from extreme danger on his back to a bout-ending armbar in just a few seconds. The BJJ black belt elevated his rival, and then switched his hips to pull off an incredible technique.
#8 Angela Lee Vs. Natalie Hills
Of all the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion’s finishes, nothing beats the twister that made her a global sensation. “Unstoppable” grabbed this rarely-seen submission back in November 2015, and her life has not been the same since.
#7 Christian Lee Vs. Kazunori Yokota
The “Terminator Guillotine” pioneered by “The Warrior” was a feat of grappling power. Once he applied the tight, deep grip, there was no way this contest would end any other way than with a tap in the very first round.
#6 Garry Tonon Vs. Yoshiki Nakahara
As a multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, “The Lion Killer” has a claim to be the best grappler on the global stage, and he showed why with his best finish yet in his toughest test – a 55-second heel hook in May.
#5 Yusup Saadulaev Vs. Jordan Lucas
If there was ever a hold you would not want to find yourself in, it is this “Maestro choke” from one of Russia’s most advanced ground-game specialists. Saadulaev’s modified rear-naked choke had his Aussie rival tapping for dear life.
#4 Demetrious Johnson Vs. Yuya Wakamatsu
The world’s best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist can do it all, but his submission game is arguably his best asset. When “Mighty Mouse” locked up this power guillotine in his ONE debut, fans around the world knew there was no way “Little Piranha” would escape.
#3 Joshua Pacio Vs. Pongsiri Mitsatit
“The Passion” became a mixed martial arts innovator when he debuted his “Passion Lock” in Manila last year. It caught everyone inside the Mall Of Asia Arena by surprise, but made them go wild when it brought about a first-round finish.
#2 Ariel Sexton Vs. Kota Shimoishi
Only a grappler as great and as creative as “Tarzan” could have a signature move like this – and pull it off on multiple occasions in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
The BJJ black belt brought out his reverse-triangle Americana for the second time last year, and it was just as jaw-dropping as the first time, four years before.
#1 Shinya Aoki Vs. Eduard Folayang
The greatest submission specialist in mixed martial arts history struck again on the biggest stage of his career with a signature finish. The pressure was on “Tobikan Judan” at ONE’s first show in his homeland, in a rematch against the man who had taken his ONE Lightweight World Title away, and under the spotlight of the main event.
However, the Japanese hero did what he does best and smothered his old rival, passed into side control, and put “Landslide” to sleep with a picture-perfect arm-triangle choke.