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With half a year of action-packed MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best submissions from January-June 2018: Here are the six nominees, listed in chronological order, which have received “Submission of the Month” awards from MMAjunkie over the first half of this year.
At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.
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Darren Elkins (24-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) did it again. The UFC featherweight contender came back from an early deficit to score another huge victory, this time against Michael Johnson (17-13 MMA, 9-9 UFC).
Elkins spoiled Johnson’s 145-pound division debut when he rallied from a damage-filled opening round to submit “The Menace” in the second with a gritty rear-naked choke.
After suffering the first loss off is career in April, Paddy Pimblett (14-2) silenced his naysayers in a spectacular fashion with a highlight-reel submission of Alexis Savvidis (16-7-1)
In the opening seconds of the second round of their featherweight bout, Pimblett left into the air and applied a flying triangle choke on his opponent. He adjusted the technique once the fight hit the mat, also twisting Savvidis’ arm until he was left with no other choice but to submit to the dangerous grappling of “The Baddy.”
Paul Craig (10-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) made UFC history with one of the most improbable comebacks in recent memory against Magomed Ankalaev (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). To make things even sweeter, the win scored him a new contract with the UFC.
Ankalaev, who came into the light heavyweight bout with an unbeaten record, got the better of Craig for almost the entirety of the fight. In the final seconds, however, Craig threw up a triangle choke. Ankalaev shockingly tapped out at the 4:59 mark of Round 3, marking the latest submission ever in a three-round UFC fight.
How slick is Adam Wieczorek’s (10-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) submission game off his back? Slick enough that even though he couldn’t do much to stop Arjan Bhullar’s (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) takedowns, he did manage to pull off only the second omoplata finish in UFC history.
How rare is the submission that occurred in the first round of the heavyweight bout? Forget thinking about the last time you saw one work in the UFC (it was Ben Saunders’ win over Chris Heatherly at UFC Fight Night 49 in 2014). Instead, think back to the last time you saw even a serious attempt at one in the UFC (possibly also Saunders vs. Heatherly in 2014).
Heavyweight submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik (56-11-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) pulled off his trademark submission once again, this time at the expense of Brazilian prospect Junior Albini (14-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC).
After scoring the first Ezekiel choke submission in UFC history a few fights prior, a bloodied Oleinik grabbed ahold of Albini early in the opening round of their bout and quickly locked in the technique from bottom mount and forced his opponent to tap out seconds later.
For the first four minutes of the fight, Magomed Idrisov (8-1) looked every bit the +2000 betting favorite oddsmakers pegged him as. That’s until Steven Siler (30-17) pulled off a miraculous come-from-behind submission victory.
Idrisov put a brutal beatdown on Siler out of the gate. He dropped, cut and did essentially whatever he wanted to the MMA veteran. Siler weathered the storm, though, and kept his wits about him long enough to capitalize on sloppy top control from Idrisov to lock in a triangle choke (https://mmajunkie.com/2018/06/pfl-1-live-video-stream-and-official-results-615-p-m-et) for the stunning comeback win.
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Call him a one-trick pony if you like, but it’s a pretty damned good trick.
Russian submission ace Oleinik turned again to the rarely seen Ezekiel choke, using it to tap out Albini in the first round.
When the two heavyweights engaged, Oleinik suffered a cut almost immediately, with blood trickling down his face from the start. Seemingly sensing a little bit of desperation with the wound, Oleinik simply grabbed Albini’s neck, locking in an Ezekiel choke and falling to his own back, dragging his opponent on top. Cinching up the hold, which is typically executed in a gi, Oleinik kept his squeeze tight, and after initially relenting, Albini was forced to tap at the 1:45 mark of the first.
“Before traveling to Rio, people said that Brazilian fans did not like foreign fighters inside the octagon,” Oleinik said after the win. “I thought so, but today I saw that it was not true. The fans congratulated me and were very supportive after this win. I have a lot of respect for Albini, before and after the fight. He is a very tough guy. I was just better than him. And at the end of the day, this is a sport. It’s professional. It’s part of it.”
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