Finding something beautiful hidden in an uncommon place is one of life's true pleasures. It could be a diamond in the rough, a wild flower blooming between rocks, or an incredible prizefight tucked deep in the guts of cable TV programming or a Youtube account. But, the world is chaotic and it can be difficult to find the time to simply enjoy these quaint pleasures. This is what we are here for.
MMA has become a constant, international sporting endeavour. For hardcore fans of this sport in the past, it was a rite of passage, a duty and a thrill to stay appraised on what was happening in cages and rings all over the world. In 2014, the UFC and Bellator MMA combined to stage 69 events alone; just keeping up with the “major leagues” has become a real chore for a lot of serious fans, nevermind dedicating your Friday nights to AXS TV programming, or spending a weekday afternoon at work watching an M-1 Global card with an audience full of Russian knights on horseback on the banks of the Neva River. You might not have the time to sort through the stones to find those rare flowers in bloom. We do.
Sherdog.com has done the dirty work, leaving no stone unturned in finding the past year's most exciting-yet-obscure MMA gems. This list features 10 of the year's greatest submissions which happened outside of the UFC and Bellator, giving the proper attention to those athletes that showed a flair for the creative, dramatic and devastating with their chokes, joint locks, hooks and catches, with commentary from our Shedog.com staffers. You like topside triangles, step-by-step flying triangles, reverse triangle keylocks and come-from-behind triangles with two arms stuffed in? We've got those. Leglocks both clever and crushing? You bet. Brutal chokes that we don't really know how to describe them? Yep, one of those, too.
In recent years, across the international board, just under 40 percent of fights end via submission. At the highest levels of MMA, it is just under 20 percent. Quite simply, it's hard to submit an opponent, and even harder to do it in a way that grabs the heart and captures the imagination. It's only right to pay respect to those who did it the best, this year or any year.
Number 10 » That's French for Triangle