MMA Junkie’s 2022 Submission of the Year: Islam Makhachev def. Charles Oliveira

With another action-packed year of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie takes a look at the best submissions from January to December 2022.

As voted on by our entire staff, here are the top 10 and winner of MMA Junkie’s Submission of the Year.

Honorable mentions

Paul Craig def. Nikita Krylov at UFC Fight Night 204

[autotag]Paul Craig[/autotag] once again made good on his habit of pulling off come-from-behind finishes when he rallied to put the clamp on Nikita Krylov in their light heavyweight bout.

After Krylov got early top position and started pounding away with heavy strikes, Craig waited for his opening and threw up a triangle choke. Krylov wasn’t going anywhere once the signature technique was locked in, and eventually, Craig forced a tap out of his foe to extend his unbeaten streak to six bouts.

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Khamzat Chimaev def. Kevin Holland at UFC 279

[autotag]Khamzat Chimaev[/autotag] ended his controversial fight week on a high note when he beat Kevin Holland in dominant fashion.

Chimaev kept his unblemished record when with a slick D’Arce choke. He put Holland on the ground immediately after the opening bell then worked into position to force the tap just 123 seconds after the 180-pound catchweight contest began.

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Jiri Prochazka def. Glover Teixeira at UFC 275

[autotag]Jiri Prochazka[/autotag] needed a finish of Glover Teixeira in the final round if he wanted to win the UFC light heavyweight title, and that’s exactly what he managed to pull off.

Prochazka closed out an incredible back-and-forth championship bout with Teixeira with a come-from-behind submission win by rear-naked choke. It wasn’t the prettiest or deepest choke, but the timelines of it made it memorable as he found a way to climb to Teixeira’s back and make the Brazilian tap out for the first time in his illustrious career.

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Luca Poclit def. Dante Schiro at Bellator 285

[autotag]Luca Poclit[/autotag] picked up one of the most unique submissions of the year against Dante Schiro.

The SBG Ireland welterweight locked in a modified arm-triangle choke. The commentators, and most watching from home, didn’t even realize Schiro was being choked until he was unconscious, and the referee was stopping the bout.

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Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje at UFC 274

The UFC lightweight title became vacant after [autotag]Charles Oliveira[/autotag] emerged victorious against Justin Gaethje to extend his record for most finishes in octagon history.

After missing weight prior to the event, Oliveira scored a first-round submission victory over Gaethje. The pair slugged it out on the feet, then after “Do Bronx” scored a knockdown, he pounced on a rear-naked choke to complete the job.

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Stevie Ray def. Anthony Pettis at 2022 PFL 5

[autotag]Stevie Ray[/autotag] derailed Anthony Pettis’ push toward a perfect PFL season with one of the most unexpected submissions of the year against the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion.

After a competitive opening round where Pettis gained great momentum, Ray showed his slick grappling prowess when he caught “Showtime” in an unusual modified body lock position. The hold jolted the sternum of Pettis, who was forced to tap out as he laid on the ground in agony.

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Matt Schnell def. Su Mudaerji at UFC on ABC 3

[autotag]Matt Schnell[/autotag] pulled off one of the more remarkable feats in recent memory when he rallied from what felt like certain defeat to finish Su Mudaerji in their flyweight bout.

After getting worked over on the feet through the first and into the second round, Schnell turned the tables on Mudaerji and landed shots of his own before locking in a tight triangle choke to finish the job.

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Jessica Andrade def. Amanda Lemos at UFC Fight Night 205

Former UFC strawweight champion [autotag]Jessica Andrade[/autotag] made quite the splash in her return to 115 pounds by putting away surging contender Amanda Lemos.

In the process, the Brazilian made history. Andrade became the first UFC fighter to ever win by standing arm-triangle choke. Once she trapped it in pressed up the cage, she kept a tight squeeze and didn’t let go until Lemos had no choice but to submit.

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Zhang Weili def. Carla Esparza at UFC 281

[autotag]Zhang Weili[/autotag] achieved the feat of becoming strawweight champion for a second time when she dethroned Carla Esparza of the belt in dominant fashion.

After dropping the strap in April 2021, Weili climbed back to the top of the mountain with a second-round submission win over Esparza that came by modified rear-naked choke after a largely one-sided affair for the Chinese fighter.

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Winner

Islam Makhachev def. Charles Oliveira at UFC 280

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There is a new lightweight champion crowned Oct. 21 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, and his name is [autotag]Islam Makhachev[/autotag], who dropped and submitted former champion Charles Oliveira to win the vacant 155-pound title.

Clearly the crowd favorite, Makhachev was first to walk into the environment, filled to the brink with electricity. The boos rained down for Oliveira, who even appeared to have an altercation with someone in the crowd on the way to the cage.

After Bruce Buffer’s introductions, Makhachev was first to connect. A big left hand put Oliveira on his back foot. They reset and clinched. Oliveira pulled guard and shot for a triangle. Makhachev snuck out and they rose back to their feet.

Once on the feet again, Makhachev hip-tossed Oliveira to the canvas right in front of his corner, much to the delight of MMA Junkie’s 2022 Co-Coaches of the Year Khabib Nurmagomedov and Javier Mendez. The round ended with Makhachev on top of Oliveira, who was bloodied.

In the second round, Makhachev dropped Oliveira with a punch, hopped into mount, and squeezed. An arm-triangle choke resulted in a quick tap and a new champion.

Now Makhachev will move forward with his first attempted title defense, which comes against reigning featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 on Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie