June has arrived, and that means we are halfway through the mixed martial arts calendar.
MMA fans have been treated to a plethora of exciting fights, highlights, finishes, upsets, and more so far this year. Now that we are halfway through, we can reminisce the best 2014 has offered thus far. Today we will hand out the mid-year awards for the top 1o submissions.
Be sure to check back tomorrow as well will have the half year awards for the best fights of 2014 thus far.
10. Alex Caceres vs Sergio Pettis: These two bantamweights went at it for three rounds delivering non-stop action in one of the most exciting fights of the year thus far. Late in the third round, when the fight looked destined to go to the judges scorecards, the two men engaged in an enthralling grappling exchange that saw Pettis fishing for a very deep heel hook. In a moments notice, Caceres reversed the position and sunk in a deep rear naked choke for the victory with only 20 seconds remaining.
9. Marcin Held vs Rodrigo Cavalheiro: When you have three submissions in the first half of the year, you can bet that you will make it on most ‘Submissions of the Year’ lists. In his first fight of the year, Marcin Held proved why he is such a feared grappler by pulling off the rarely seen toe hold submission that began his ascent up the Bellator lightweight ladder.
8. Donald Cerrone vs Edson Barboza: Donald Cerrone was simply getting beat up by Edson Barboza from the opening bell of their fight at UFC on FOX 11. With his two fight winning streak hanging in the balance, Cerrone knocked Barboza down with a stinging jab, pounced on him, and sunk in the fight-ending rear naked choke. It was yet another impressive showing of Cerrone’s all around game and finish ability.
7. Rousimar Palhares vs Steve Carl (Fight video): Fighting Rousimar Palhares has proven time and again that you will likely leave the cage with crutches. After being cut by the UFC for holding on to submissions for too long, Palhares went to the World Series of Fighting and nearly ripped then welterweight champion Steve Carl’s leg off with an inverted heel hook in just over a minute’s time.
6. Ovince St. Preux vs Nikita Krylov: If you pull off a Von Flue choke, you are automatically in the running for submission of the year. Ovince St. Preux showed off his submission savvy grappling when he choked out Nikita Krylov with the rarely seen choke on the opening bout of the UFC 171 pay-per-view.
5. Joseph Benavidez vs Tim Elliott: Team Alpha Male is sometimes given the moniker ‘Team Guillotine’ for the fighters’ penchant to finish fights with a guillotine choke. Usually a guillotine would not end up on the ‘best of’ lists, but when you make someone tap with their feet because you trapped their arms the whole game has changed. Joseph Benavidez did just that when he sunk in a deep guillotine on Tim Elliott at UFC 172.
4. Pat Curran vs Daniel Straus (Fight Video): In one of the best fights of the year, two of Bellator’s top featherweights battled it out for the right to claim the featherweight title. Former champion, Pat Curran looked to bounce back from his loss to Daniel Straus only four months earlier. In the end, the two men duked it out for five rounds of heart palpitating action. In an incredible turn of events, Curran got back mount on the champion with just moments left in the fifth and final round. Unbelievably, Curran was able to secure the rear naked choke finish with just 14 seconds left in the fight to recapture his featherweight belt.
3. Nicklas Backstrom vs Tom Niinimaki: Finishing a bulldog/schoolyard choke is a rare feat that has only been done a handful of times. To do it in your UFC debut against a tough out in Niinimaki is just sheer brilliance. Backstrom was able to hurt Niinimaki with a flying knee before latching on and finishing the choke without any hooks this past weekend at UFC Fight Night 41.
2. Eduardo Dantas vs Anthony Leone (Fight Video): Not only is this one of the very best submissions of the year thus far, this may be one of the slickest submission in the history of the sport. Leone over pursued a takedown and Dantas capitalized on a split second opening to get Leone’s back while sinking in the rear naked choke. Leone could not fight the submission as the bantamweight champion had trapped his arm as well.
1. Luke Rockhold vs Tim Boetsch: Luke Rockhold outclassed Tim Boetsch on the mat at UFC 172. Just two minutes into the fight, Rockhold had Boetsch’s back and latched on to an inverted triangle and was working on a deep kimura. Boetsch literally had no idea what was happening to him before it was too late and he was forced to tap. It will be quite the task to unseat this submission by the time 2014 comes to a close.
What did you think of the submission list? Was there a submission that you felt should have been included? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Twitter @SchlinskMMA.