MMA 2017 Year in Review: Submission of the Year

Demetrious Johnson aka Mighty Mouse
Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson Credit: Dave Mandel/

There were some fantastic submissions in 2017, but for our staff, one was mightier than the rest.

From historic moments such as George St. Pierre choking out Michael Bisping, to crafty submissions like Brian Ortega riding Cub Swanson like a monkey, there was a whole host of top-notch submissions in MMA for 2017. Picking just one wasn’t easy for our staff. It wasn’t a unanimous decision.

Yet one particular submission finish picked up more votes than any other, and for good reason. Read on to see who wins it!

Submission of the Year 2017

Heath Harshman: This one is tough, because it’s not fair. There are incredible contenders like Oleksiy Oliynyk’s ezekiel choke in January, and Brett John’s calf-slicer on Joe Soto in December. But, Ovince Saint Preux secured wins via Von Flue choke in back-to-back bouts in April and September, giving him the edge.

Jay Anderson: Oleksiy Oliynyk pulled off an Ezekiel choke. Brett Johns secured just the second calf-slicer in UFC history. Yet it’s really, really hard to overlook Brian Ortega’s submission of Cub Swanson. The standing guillotine choke saw Ortega push off the fence to set it up, then actually re-adjust his grip while hanging from Swanson’s neck. Fun to watch, and it frankly cemented Ortega’s status as a real threat at featherweight.

Dan Doherty: I may have avoided the obvious choice in the last one [Knockout of the Year], but I’d have to retire from MMA fandom if I didn’t choose The Mighty Wizbar. Johnson lifted Borg up, threw him and arm-barred him before Borg landed. What? The athleticism and precision necessary to pull that off is unheard of and it was a beautiful way to cap off a flawless performance.

Mike Straus: Submission of the year, I would have to go with Oleksiy Oliynyk for getting an Ezekiel choke from the bottom. Something you can say has never been done (at least in the UFC), and will probably never be done ever again.

Eddie Law: UFC 216: Demetrious Johnson’s arm bar win over Ray Borg. DJ had outclassed Ray Borg the entire fight yet Borg would not give up. DJ had to pull out one of the most incredible sequences we’ve ever seen in an MMA fight to finish the man. And people say Mighty Mouse isn’t entertaining. Eat his shorts.

Paarth Pande: DJ using that arm-bar combination. I have never seen anything like that. A completely unique submission.

Mike McClory: Mighty Mouse: Suplex to arm-bar… Suplex to arm-bar… let that one sink in for a moment, now try to think to of the mechanics of performing that combination. Now add to that the person having it done to them not wanting to be tossed into the air like a child then, well… arm-bar.

Gabriel Gonzalez: Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Viktor Pesta. Unlike a KO of the Year, my personal criteria for this category is weighed more on the degree of difficulty. An Ezekiel Choke is extremely rare to complete in pure BJJ competition. To pull off the move in MMA as a heavyweight is another level entirely and Oleinik made it look easy.

The end result: Demetrious Johnson gets the nod for Submission of the Year 2017, with his awe-inspiring arm-bar finish of Ray Borg at UFC 216.