8 of the best UFC submission of 2024

These are the eight best submissions we've seen in the UFC so far this year.
Michel Pereira
Michel Pereira / UFC

While most fans keep their eyes glued to the television during a UFC event for that one-punch knockout or a clever combination TKO, it is often a clinically executed submission that takes center stage. The cage becomes a battlefield of grappling brilliance, where every limb, joint, and ligament becomes a weapon that can be wielded.

From Royce Gracie's Brazilian jiu-jitsu to Daniel Cormier's freestyle American wrestling to Khabib Nurmagomedov's Dagestani Midas touch, a fighter's skill on the mat has often been the pivotal aspect of their MMA legacy.

The very first tournament that the promotion hosted, now titled UFC 1: The Beginning, was won via submission. Royce Gracie held Gerard Gordeau in a rear-naked choke hold till the latter tapped out. The tournament saw four more submissions as well, two of them by Gracie, one by Ken Shamrock, and the other by Jason DeLucia.

For the uninitiated, a submission is when a fighter yields by tapping - either on the mat or on the opponent's body - to declare that they are no longer able to continue the fight. A technical submission, meanwhile, occurs when the referee has to step in and stop the fight because a fighter has gone unconscious without tapping or has sustained an injury while being under a hold.

A submission victory is earned by putting the opponent in a submission hold. The most common forms of submission holds are joint locks, which include armbar, kneebar, banana split, Kimura, toe hold, omoplata, Americana, etc., and choke holds, which cover rear-naked chokes, D'Arce chokes, guillotine, arm-triangle choke, neck crank, etc.

In 2024, the UFC octagon witnessed a multitude of submission masterclasses. From slick takedowns to jaw-dropping chokeholds, the submissions this year often earned a bigger applause from the crowd than the blistering knockouts.

Here are all eight submissions we loved from 2024 ... so far.

This story will be updated throughout the year, please check back often.

8. Jim Miller earns first submission of 2024

Jim Miller earned his stripes yet again when he finished Gabriel Benitez in the third round of their co-main event bout at UFC Vegas 84. With the win, he holds the most wins in the UFC with 25, the most fights in the UFC with 42, and the second-most finishes in the UFC with 17. This was the first submission of 2024, taking place on Jan. 13, the first event of the year at the UFC APEX.

7. Molly McCann

Molly McCann made a big statement with a first-round submission of Diana Belbiţă in her strawweight debut. McCann had struggled in the past but with this win, she proved she's still got staying power and is not to be underestimated at any weight.

"It feels amazing [to be at strawweight]," said McCann on the mic after her win. "I'd like to take this time to apologise to the UFC, myself and my fans for not being at the right weight and for my last two performances. But today I forgive myself."

6. Anthony Hernandez

Anthony Hernandez shocked the California crowd with a second-round submission of Roman Kopylov. The submission, a rear-naked choke, seemed to come easily for Hernandez who was seen sticking his tongue out and celebrating even before the tap.

5. Youssef Zalal's triumphant return

Youssef Zalal fought his way back to the UFC and proved why bringing him back in was the right call. In the second round of his fight with Billy Quarantillo, he sunk in a beautiful rear-naked choke. He says that being cut from the UFC was the best thing that ever happened to him. “It’s 100 percent the best thing that happened to me. No. 1, it was like, do I really love this sport? That was the answer that I found. I really love this sport no matter what the money is. That was the No. 1 thing I found,” Zalal said at his pre-fight media day appearance.

4. Brian Ortega's amazing comeback win over Yair Rodriguez

Brian Ortega shocked with a comeback win over Yair Rodriguez at UFC Mexico. What made the win even more spectacular was that Ortega nearly couldn't complete after he rolled his ankle while the introductions were being made. Ortega didn't have the best first round and was nearly finished by Yair Rodriguez but he battled back to secure a third-round submission.

“Talk about things stacked against me,” Ortega said at the UFC Mexico City post-fight press conference. “Bruce [Buffer] was introducing me and then I jumped up, and when I landed, I rolled my ankle. I was like, ‘Oh shoot.’ I looked at my coach and I was like, ‘This is bad.’ He’s like, ‘Don’t you effing worry about this.’ He was just telling me get in the zone, it doesn’t matter."

3. Anthony Smith gets back in the win column, delivers Vitor Petrino first loss

Perenial contender Anthony Smith got back in the win column with a first-round quick and easy submission over a highly touted prospect in Vitor Petrino at UFC 301. The rear-naked choke came at the two minute mark of the first round. He handed Petrino his first loss and in front of his home crowd, silencing his doubters.

“When [Dustin] Poirier kept jumping those guillotines, I said in practice, I don’t have any guillotine finishes — I called that weeks ago,” Smith said after the fight. “At the end of the day, there’s levels to this sh*t. You’ve got to remember, this guy is undefeated. He had no reason to question himself or back out of something.”

2. Michel Pereira get's two first-round submissions in 2024

Michel Pereira earned a stunning first-round submission of Michal Oleksiejczuk on the UFC 299 early prelims. The win marks the seventh in a row for Pereira who secured the rear-naked choke in 1:01. Pereira has been on a hot streak and since this submission secured another one at UFC 301, which can be watched here. Honestly, Pereira might just be the most dangerously underrated grappler in the UFC.

1. Kayla Harrison wins big in UFC debut over Holly Holm

Everyone was eagerly awaiting the debut of Kayla Harrison. Many had counted her out thinking she'd be unable to male the 135 pound weight limit or get a win over former champion holly Holm. She proved all the doubters wrong with a second round rear-naked choke over Holm.

With the win she catapulted herself closer to a UFC title shot. "I want my title next, Joe," Harrison told Joe Rogan during her post-fight interview. "That's what I came over here for. One thing and one thing only. By the end of the year, I will be UFC champion."

Stay tuned for more submissions.


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