I've gotten into a mildly heated debate on another site (that shall remain nameless...mostly because I'm embarrassed that I even go there) over submission of the year.
I give the nod to Pettis, and I found myself arguing with some folks who are on the side of Rose Namajunas.
I think what this essentially comes down to is style versus substance. Rose's armbar was great to watch, but in context, I don't find it nearly as impressive as the Pettis armbar.
One one hand, you have two very inexperienced fighters in a women's promotion with very little in the way of ramifications to the bout. On the other hand, you have the two best guys in the world (@ 155), on MMA's biggest stage, in one of the UFC's deepest divisions. Add on top of that, you're looking at an obscenely well-rounded and tough champion who had developed a serious aura of unsubmitability (yes, that's a word).
Style-wise, you have to admit that Rose's armbar does smash Pettis'. But in context, I find the Pettis armbar to be world's more impressive. The analogy I made is a simple, textbook leap...over a 9 foot pit of fire and spikes, versus a dazzling cartwheel flip...over some nice cool grass. Which is the jump of the year?
So as I said in the beginning, it really is a style versus substance debate and I suppose one could lean either way that they are naturally inclined, but the question that I pose here is this - is that debate in any way moot when you're talking about "...Of The Year"? Should these decisions be based purely on what is the most spectacular BLANK given the nature of these year-end awards? Or does the context still matter just as much here?