UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards defeating Colby Covington at UFC 296 brings an end to the UFC schedule for 2023. In 2023, the UFC held 43 events over eight countries, with 520 fights in total. Of those 520 fights, 102 of them ended by way of submission. With the next UFC event being scheduled for January 2024, let’s look back five of the most outstanding submissions in MMA this year.
Here they are in no particular order.
Jon Jones submits Ciryl Gane to become UFC heavyweight champion (UFC)
Prior to 2023, the last time fight fans saw Jon Jones compete in the cage was February 2020, when he defended his light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. Jones spent three years out of the octagon to prepare for his long-awaited move to heavyweight and bulked on a considerable amount of muscle to do it.
He returned at UFC 285 in March to fight for the heavyweight championship and become a two-division champion in the UFC. Jones’ extended absence from the sport left MMA fans and analysts alike guessing as to what Jones would look like at heavyweight. Jones was walking into the cage weighing 248 pounds and was 35 years old, and was facing a young, hungry challenger in Ciryl Gane, a man who was entering the fight riding the momentum of knocking out heavyweight hard hitter Tai Tuivasa.
Gane was a previous title challenger, losing to heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou via decision in January 2022. This would be Ngannou’s last fight in the UFC to date, as he left the company shortly after, leaving the heavyweight title vacant. Gane and Jones met in the main event of UFC 285 in Las Vegas to crown a new UFC heavyweight king.
In the fight, Jones appeared patient as round one started, as he and Gane exchanged punches and leg kicks. Jones walked Gane down, controlling the centre of the octagon and keeping the French heavyweight on his backfoot the whole fight. As Gane committed to a cross, Jones slipped the punch and quickly moved to take Gane’s back, taking him down against the cage. As Gane sat with his back against the cage, Jones secured a guillotine choke to earn the submission victory, capturing the UFC heavyweight title in two minutes and four seconds after taking no significant damage. This win earned Jones a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.