All week long we've been announcing the winners of our 2013 MMA Awards here at Yahoo! Sports, and we'll continue into next week with more award announcements. Today, we reveal our choice for Submission of the Year.
Next week's schedule of awards is below, and the sub of the year presentation is right after that.
Jan. 5: Comeback Fighter of the Year & Comeback Fight of the Year
Jan. 6: Breakthrough Fighter of the Year
Jan. 7: Event of the Year
Jan. 8: Trainer of the Year, Television Commentator of the Year, Referee of the Year, Biggest upset of the Year
One of the unique things about mixed martial arts as a combat sport are the technical, slick and sometimes downright crazy submission holds that are allowed and take place. Insane as they sometimes look, submissions are the efficient and realistic fighting techniques that allow fights to be ended without combatants bludgeoning one another non-stop for round after round.
Submissions can also be the final recourse and hope for the undersized and losing fighter, allowing them to pull victory from the jaws of defeat at the last second. Whatever reason you like submission holds, 2013 saw plenty of them.
It's difficult to choose a "best" submission. A well-executed basic submission (say, Anthony Pettis' arm bar from the guard to wrest the UFC lightweight title away from Benson Henderson) in the right moment and against a good enough opponent can speak volumes about a fighter's submission ability.
A fighter shocking their opponent and the world with a lightning fast submission out of the gate like Rose Namajunas did when she hit a flying arm bar on Kathina Catron in just twelve seconds is also always a wonder to behold. What grappling head doesn't love watching a skilled submission artist transition from one position and attempt to another, seamlessly, the way Jim Miller recently did to Fabricio Camoes (gogo plata attempt to straight arm bar from the guard) or Erick Silva did to Jason Hugh at UFC on Fuel TV 10 (rear naked choke to triangle, to arm bar from the guard)?
We're a sucker for when an MMA fighter pulls off something we didn't before think possible with a maneuver we didn't even really realize existed prior, however. For that quite subjective reason, we are pleased to announce that the Yahoo! Sports 2013 MMA Submission of the Year goes to...
Kenny Robertson with his not-really-yet-named submission over Brock Jardine at UFC 157. When Robertson could not sink in the rear naked choke on Jardine, he decided to get creative and grab his opponent's posted left foot and leg and stretch it out and up while sinking his own hips down.
Jardine was hurt, tapped out and Robertson showed that whatever he just did can work well. The hamstring and groin, among other possibilities, were certainly affected in Jardine from Robertson's hold, and it had us on the mats for hours afterwards, vainly trying to figure out how he pulled it off.