It seems that Mookie Alexander is too busy using his Barry White-like voice to seduce some ladies over on JDate and won't be able to handle the awards this time around. In his place, is...well, me. Contain your joy.
Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2014. There will be a total of eight different categories you'll be asked to vote on, though I might change some of them up from past years. For simplicity's sake we're going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I'm sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let's just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it's because I've used the same one for four years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
It's pretty simple. I'll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it's deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won't like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get onto the first poll - the best submission of 2014. There have been some excellent subs all over the MMA landscape this year, and getting the list down to 10 is very difficult. But I did, and this is what made the cut. Note - it appears 2014 was the year of the inverted triangle choke.
Charles Oliveira chokes out Hatsu Hioki, UFC Fight Night Auckland - Hioki may have had a rough UFC career before his June bout with Oliveira, but everyone that really knew him knew he wasn't going to get finished. He just wasn't. It had never happened before, and Do Bronx didn't seem like the guy to change that. But he was, and it was one of the nicest submissions you'll see in a bout that would win "grappling match of the year" if I cared enough to make such a category. (GIF)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier does mean stuff to Jake Lindsey, UFC Fight Night 54. It's in the books as an inverted triangle kimura, but it didn't look much like Rockhold/Boetsch. If fact, it doesn't even look like he needed the kimura. But the inverted triangle was a thing of beauty - it looked like he was stepping across the body to go for an armbar, but a quick transition once he got there led to the finishing position. Lindsey was completely stuck, and he knew it. Tappy time. (GIF)
Liam McGeary gets an inverted triangle choke on Kelly Anundson, Bellator 124 - Anundson was working hard for takedowns but it seemed that as soon as he got there, he had to deal with McGeary's submission attacks. Even with side control. McGeary just reached up with his long legs, wrapped up an inverted triangle choke, and Anundson was forced to tap. It took about 1.5 seconds, and showed exactly how deadly McGeary can be on the ground. (GIF)
Niklas Backstrom bulldog chokes Tom Niinimaki, UFC Fight Night Berlin - Hooks aren't necessary when you just get a guy in a headlock and squeeze on it until he gives up. (GIF)
Luke Rockhold styles on Tim Boetsch, UFC 172 - Rockhold had two great subs this year, but this one is the best. After locking up a cool inverted triangle, it seems that the former Strikeforce champ wasn't satisfied with waiting until that worked well enough for Boetsch to tap, so he grabbed an arm and kimura'd the crap out of that. I'm surprised he didn't somehow go for a foot lock at the same time somehow. If you haven't seen this one for some reason, you need to. Right now. DO IT DAMMIT. (GIF)
Eduardo Dantas RNCs Anthony Leone, Bellator 111 - It was right there, so he took it. Leone was trying to scoot through his leges but Dantas was aware of exactly what was happening and got the sub in about two seconds flat. The dance after the win was fun as well. (GIF)
Mitch Clarke gets D'Arce choke vs. Al Iaquinta, UFC 173 - I'm still not sure how Clarke did this, but he managed to lock up a D'Arce with his back to the cage. It honestly didn't look that dangerous, but then Clarke rolled him over. Iaquinta had a quizzical look on his face for a second, and then his face froze that way - because he was unconscious. Definitely one of the most dramatic endings of the year. (GIF)
Ben Saunders gets the UFC's first omoplata finish on Chris Heatherly, UFC Fight Night 49 - Ben's our boy here at BE, but this sub being included has nothing to do with favortism - it's one of the most legit finishes you'll ever see. And other than one in Strikeforce, it's the first omoplata fight-ender you've seen in the major leagues. After locking it up, Saunders cranked and cranked until Heatherly was forced to tap out in major pain. (GIF)
Raquel Pennington bulldog chokes Ashlee Evans-Smith at the bell, UFC 181 - This one is sort of similar to the Backstrom sub, but it was more dramatic to me. A bloody Pennington just held on and squeezed as the seconds counted down on the round. Once the horn went, FS1 went straight to commercial and fans had no idea if the fight was over or not. Well, it was - Evans-Smith was completely unconscious, and when Pennington released her, Ashlee's head just thudded onto the mat. And it was awesome. (GIF)
Joseph Benavidez guillotines Tim Elliott, UFC 172 - Elliott came out and took it straight to Benavidez, which seemed to catch him by surprise. After a good grappling match and some frantic action, Joe B showed off his submission chops by catching Elliott in a guillotine where he somehow trapped both arms. Elliott valiantly kicked his legs to escape, but watch it again - there's absolutely no escape from that. (GIF)