The humble knockout is one surefire way to end a fight without having to leave the decision at the hands of the judges — but it is not the only way.
The science of submissions is equally as beautiful. How a fighter transitions from one position to another, how they set up with subtle movements before pouncing to finish is truly breathtaking in the literal and figurative sense.
In celebration of this beautiful art, let’s take a look at five of the best ONE Championship submissions in the three months.
#1 Martin Nguyen (Guillotine Choke) at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD, Macau, 13 August
Was there any submission this quarter more exciting and more shocking than the way Martin Nguyen put Christian Lee to sleep with a guillotine choke? “The Situ-Asian” posed the toughest test for the previously-unbeaten Lee, and for good reason. Nguyen was an experienced, older opponent for the youngster.
If Lee had gotten past Nguyen, it would surely have sent a message to the division that Lee was ready for a run at the top of the class. But Nguyen had other plans, and managed to delay the inevitable. Yes, Christian Lee may be destined for great things, but Martin Nguyen tells us it is not just yet.
Nguyen came into the bout with a chip on his shoulder. Everyone was so high on Lee that they wrote the Australian off pretty quickly. But with a bounce in his step from the opening bell, you could tell Nguyen wanted to lay that doubt to rest.
As the younger Lee pressed Nguyen against the cage, Nguyen uncorked a counter left hook that dropped the Singaporean prospect to the mat. After a brief scramble, an obviously still shaken Lee got caught in a guillotine that spelled the beginning of the end of the bout.
From that point on, Nguyen just would not let go — and Lee would not tap. The result was Lee taking a short nap on the canvas, before waking up to the first loss of his career.
#2 Aung La N Sang (Arm Triangle Choke) at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (HEFEI), China, 2 July
Middleweight contender “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang left his home country of Myanmar when he was 18 years old. While in America, he picked up mixed martial arts and went on to enjoy a respectable career for various MMA promotions.
Known for his constricting style of fighting, the “Burmese Python” has 19 total victories with only one opponent reaching the final bell, and 11 of his wins have come by submission. That’s an incredible statistic, and belies Aung La N Sang’s level of grappling skill.
Last July, Aung La N Sang traveled to Hefei, China, and faced then-undefeated Russian contender Aleksei Butorin to a chorus of cheers from the crowd. And in a truly back-and-forth grappling battle, Aung La N Sang dug deep to find enough resolve to win.
After jockeying for position most of the fight, threatening each other with various submissions including a simultaneous heel hook from both athletes, Aung La N Sang finally got the drop on Butorin in round two, catching the Russian in an arm triangle choke.
#3 Joshua Pacio (Rear Naked Choke) at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD, Macau, 13 August
ONE Championship strawweight standout Joshua Pacio is a wushu expert, much like his seniors at the famed Team Lakay of Baguio City, Philippines. But aside from his world-class striking skills and his ability to finish opponents with his fists, the 20-year-old owns more submission victories on his resume than he does knockouts.
Out of eight wins, Pacio has finished five by impressive submission. Now that is certainly a special feat considering his expertise in the stand-up. Last August, Pacio took on Thai wrestling champion Kritsada “Dream Man” Kongsrichai, and it was no different.
After a back-and-forth exchange of dominant positions, Pacio found himself in the clinch against Kongsrichai with just a little over a minute left to go in the first round. The Filipino then held on to a single leg, drove his opponent to the mat, and went to work.
From there, Pacio passed guard and secured mount, unleashing a barrage of strikes from top position to force Kongsrichai to give up his back. Pacio immediately went for the rear naked choke, and the tap came shortly after.
It was a masterful execution of a routine choke that sent a message to the rest of the division, and earned Pacio a shot at Yoshitaka Naito’s ONE Strawweight World Championship.
#4 April Osenio (Guillotine Choke) at ONE: UNBREAKABLE WARRIORS, Kuala Lumpur, 2 September
Fans have to be excited whenever two fearsome ladies take to the ONE Championship cage. At times, not only do women athletes know exactly how to throw down, they also go at it harder than the men do. Such was the case when the Philippines’ April Osenio went up against Malaysia’s fighting belle Ann “Athena” Osman.
Osenio may have lost her first professional bout, but she won her second bout via armbar. Just like Pacio, for a wushu striking expert from the famed Team Lakay of Baguio City, winning by submission is completely out of left field. They are known as extremely high-level stand up fighters, and not submission specialists by any means, although they have made improvements recently.
That makes Osenio’s victory over Osman all the more special. Osenio, with her back against the fence, caught Osman in a standing guillotine and pulled guard, catching the Malaysian by surprise.
That was a sure sign that Osenio was actively pursuing a submission. Osenio squeezed as tight as she could, and with the hooks in deep, Osman was not left with much of a choice but to tap.
#5 Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (Guillotine Choke) at ONE: TITLES & TITANS, Jakarta, 27 August
From the little that we have seen of Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev, fans have already come to know the Russian as a bonafide knockout artist.
Before entering the cage against Haolan Jietebusibai last August, he had already scored three spectacular TKO finishes in his first three bouts as a professional martial artist — all of which ended in the first round.
Collectively, Saygid had spent just a little over three minutes inside the cage, and that is mightily impressive. Against Jietebusibai, Arslanaliev was looking for another highlight-reel KO, but as soon as the guillotine choke presented itself he just had to go for it.
Arslanaliev grabbed a hold of Jietebusibai’s neck and squeezed as tight as he could. He didn’t even bother pulling guard — he just kept it standing and his Chinese opponent had no choice but to tap out.
Suffice to say, we can’t wait for the next time this man is inside the ONE Championship cage. Here is hoping that Arslanaliev gets a call to throw down with a big name opponent soon.
Source: ONE Championship