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The 411 MMA Year-End Awards: Part Five – The Best Submissions of 2016

January 23, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Miesha Tate

Welcome back to the MMA Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic and all the writers here on 411 MMA will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It’s highly non-official and final, like WAMMA. From best and worst fight to best fighter and KO of the year, the staff will come together to share out best. Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.

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Robert Winfree
5. Francis Ngannou’s kimura vs. Anthony Hamilton – UFC Fight Night 102
4. Pedro Munhoz’s head and arm guillotine choke vs. Russel Doane – UFC Fight Night 90
3. Joe Soto’s heel hook vs. Marco Beltran – UFC Fight Night 98
2. Misha Cirkunov’s jaw breaking neck crank vs. Alex Nicholson – UFC fight Night 82

1. Mackenzie Dern’s Imanari choke vs. Montana Stewart – LFC 61 – While this one didn’t get a whole lot of exposure it’s one of the technique’s I’m an absolute sucker for and wish got more play in an MMA context. This one just barely edged out the jaw breaker himself, Misha Cirkunov, but the craziness of this choke combined with how infrequently I get to see it in the sport gives it the top sport for me.

Jonathan Solomon
5. Narantungalag Jadambaa’s Von Flue choke vs. Kotetsu Boku – ONE FC: Ascent to Power
4. Mackenzie Dern’s omoplata/rear naked chokes vs. Montana Stewart – Legacy FC 61
3. Nate Diaz’s rear naked choke vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 196
2. Ben Rothwell’s front choke vs. Josh Barnett – UFC on Fox

1. Miesha Tate’s rear naked choke vs. Holly Holm – UFC 196 – Going into the fifth round of this title fight, Miesha was heading towards either a loss or a draw if the fight went to a decision. Either ruling and Holm was to remain the bantamweight champion. Tate only had success with a takedown in the second round and following that, Holm defended each of them and was able to pick Tate apart standing. With about two minutes left to work with, Tate secured a takedown, took Holm’s back and locked her chokehold on until the champion passed out.

Lorenzo Vasquez III
5. Miesha Tate’s rear naked choke of Holly Holm – UFC 196
4. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s kimura of Michael Johnson – UFC 205
3. Ben Rothwell’s Front Choke of Josh Barnett – UFC on FOX 18
2. MacKenzie Dern’s imanari choke of Montana Stewart – LFC 61

1. Nate Diaz’s rear naked choke of Conor McGregor – UFC 196 – I debated this one over and over. MacKenzie Dern could easily be given the nod but I ultimately chose Nate Diaz’s rear naked choke of Conor McGregor for its significance. Diaz fought McGregor on short notice and in two rounds had stopped the hype train in its tracks. To McGregor’s credit, he was lighting up Diaz for the first round. Nonetheless, the Irishman began to slow down in the second and Diaz landed a 1-2 that shook up McGregor. McGregor dove for a takedown Diaz would have none of as he grabbed a guillotine, blocked McGregor’s escape, took his back, and clinched the choke. McGregor tapped and thus began the shenanigans of UFC 200, the classic rematch at UFC 202, and McGregor making history at UFC 205 in New York. Without this submission, 2016 would have played a slightly different tune. Diaz submitting McGregor shaped and formed a large part of 2016 and ironically, McGregor’s rise.

Jeffrey Harris
5. Demian Maia RNC vs. Matt Brown – UFC 198
4. Michael McDonald RNC vs. Masanori Kanehara – UFC 195
3. Ben Rothwell Gogo Choke vs. Josh Barnett – UFC on FOX 18
2. Nate Diaz’s rear naked choke vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 196

1. Miesha Tate’s rear naked choke vs. Holly Holm – UFC 196 – This is the type of comeback and finish I love to see. Sometimes, it annoys me when I see fighter simply trying to fight out the clock, even when they know they are likely down on the scorecards. It seems more like they are simply searching for a moral victory of not getting stopped instead of doing everything they can to win the fight. That did not happen here. Miesha Tate was the heavy underdog here. She was facing the woman who topped the unscalable mountain in Ronda Rousey, a woman Tate lost two by submission on two separate occasions. However, this is a sport about match-ups. MMA Math is not absolute. Tate proved that here. Holm was a more technical striker, but Tate still had a considerable edge with her grappling. After a tough fight where Tate was clearly down, she did not stop trying to win. After managing to get Holm’s back, she locked in a rear-naked choke and walked away with the title. Tate had finally become UFC champion and it was a beautiful moment.

Dan Plunkett
5. Khabib Nurmagomedov Kimuras Michael Johnson – UFC 205
4. Demian Maia Chokes Carlos Condit – UFC on Fox 21
3. Nate Diaz Chokes Conor McGregor – UFC 196
2. Mackenzie Dern’s Imanari Choke Against Montana Stewart – LFC 61

1. Miesha Tate Strangles Holly Holm – UFC 196 – Is it strange that there’s something aesthetically pleasing about a well-done rear naked choke? Oh well. Tate’s rear naked choke on Holm at UFC 196 was deep and she squeezed with every ounce of effort she had in her to become a champion. Perhaps, considering later events, it was all the fight she had left in her. Holm thoroughly outfought Tate throughout the entirety of the fight, but Tate refused to settle into her loss. She was desperate and aggressive in the fifth round, the type of aggressive that many other fighters so down on the scorecards are unable to summon out of themselves. Without that late burst, to most people Miesha Tate would have retired as the woman who lost twice to Ronda Rousey. Because of her will, she’ll be remembered as a champion.

Larry Csonka
5. Khabib Nurmagomedov Kimuras Michael Johnson – UFC 205
4. Misha Cirkunov’s neck crank vs. Alex Nicholson – UFC fight Night 82
3. Miesha Tate’s rear naked choke vs. Holly Holm – UFC 196
2. Ben Rothwell Gogo Choke vs. Josh Barnett – UFC on FOX 18

1. Mackenzie Dern’s Imanari Choke Against Montana Stewart – LFC 61 – When looking for the submission of the year, I look at the overall skill involved and honestly give some weight to shit I have not seen or have rarely seen before. Mackenzie Dern tying Montana Stewart at LFC 61 checked all of the boxes for me.

AND 411’s Top 5 Submissions 2016

5. Misha Cirkunov’s jaw breaking neck crank vs. Alex Nicholson – UFC fight Night 826 points

T3. Nate Diaz’s rear naked choke vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 19614 points

T3. Ben Rothwell’s front choke vs. Josh Barnett – UFC on Fox 14 points

2. Miesha Tate’s rear naked choke vs. Holly Holm – UFC 19619 points

1. Mackenzie Dern’s Imanari choke vs. Montana Stewart – LFC 6120 points


THE 2016 411 MMA AWARDS:
* The Biggest Stories of 2016: Zuffa Sells UFC to WME-IMG for $4 BILLION – 29 points
* The Most Disappointing Fighters of 2016: Johny Hendricks – 28 points
* The Breakout Fighters of 2016: Cody Garbrandt – 25 points
* The Worst Fights of 2016: Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 – Bellator 149 – 25 points

* The Best Submissions of 2016: Mackenzie Dern’s Imanari choke vs. Montana Stewart – LFC 61 – 20 points
* The Best Knockouts of 2016: TO BE DETERMINED (January 24th)
* The Best Fights of 2016: TO BE DETERMINED (January 25th)
* Fighter of the Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 26th)

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