10 most bizarre submissions in MMA history
#1: Emmanuel Yarborough’s body-smother vs. Tatsuaki Nakano
Shoot the Shooto XX, 4/26/98
Sumo-wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough scored the only victory of his brief MMA career using the best weapon in his arsenal — his enormous, terrifying girth. If Roy Nelson’s belly is like having the moon on top of you, Manny’s belly is the entire freakin’ galaxy. No matter how much MMA evolves in the coming years, you probably won’t see this gruesome submission ever again.
#2: Toby Imada’s flying inverted triangle choke vs. Jorge Masvidal
Bellator 5, 5/1/09
It was 2009’s indisputable Submission of the Year, and a strong candidate for greatest MMA submission of all time. Jorge Masvidal spent two rounds battering Toby Imada in the semi-finals of Bellator’s first lightweight tournament, and Imada needed a miracle. And then, one appeared. While defending a takedown, Imada locks onto Masvidal’s body and threads his legs around Masvidal’s head and arm. By the time Masvidal realizes he’s caught in a triangle choke — while standing, by the guy who’s hanging upside-down off his back — he’s already heading to dreamland. A breakout performance for Imada, and a nice little viral video for the fledgling Bellator promotion.
#3: Genki Sudo’s giant swing/achilles lock vs. Craig Oxley
Pancrase Trans 6, 10/31/00
The Neo-Samurai’s submission of Craig Oxley is a lot like the foot-lock in Chonan vs. Silva, except the setup is even more dramatic. Instead of a surprise scissor-leg takedown, Sudo picks Oxley up while in his guard, and spins him a full 720 degrees — a classic pro-wrestling-style giant swing, directly into an achilles lock. Not only was it an insane finish, it’s also a hilarious reminder that Sudo used to have hair like a Japanese glam-rocker, which is a lot more hardcore than his current salaryman style.