Catching an armbar takes calculated set up and the perfect opportunity, but it’s one of the quickest equalizers in martial arts. Maybe a rear-naked choke just isn’t going to get you the submission victory, go fishing for an arm to surprise your opponent. If the top man neglects to take an arm back after striking, send them a reminder when by cranking it back. Whatever the case may be, armbar submissions are probably second to rear-naked choke finishes for the most favored MMA tapouts. Here are the top 5 armbar finishes in MMA history.
#5. Stefan Struve vs. Pat Barry
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Struve had options for a standing guillotine and a standing d’arce against Pat Barry. He brought him to the ground trying for the finish, but Pat Barry was able to take him in side control. Struve then worked to take him with a triangle after scooting out of Barry’s grip, but Barry stands up to take the pressure off of the choke and seizes the opportunity for a WWE moment. Amazingly, the bodyslam isn’t enough and Struve hangs on for the ride. “The Skyscraper” takes advantage of Barry’s arm that was left exposed and sends the triangle-armbar home.
#4- Diego Brandao vs. Dennis Bermudez
Watch the great one round fight or fast forwad to 8:45 to see Diego Brandao take the Ultimate Fighter 14 finale. Dennis Bermudez caught Brandao with a right hand that brought him straight to the ground. Bermudez tries as hard as he can to bring the fight home with the ground and pound, but Brandao almost got a leg lock set up. However, Bermudez was able to step out and get right back to the punishment. Brandao was in major trouble untill he kicked off Bermudez after another scramble. Bermudez forgot to bring his left hand out of the mix and Brando latches for the finish right before the end of the first.
#3- GSP vs. Matt Hughes
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Matt Hughes worked Georges St. Pierre with strong ground and pound. This forced GSP’s arms up to block his strikes and Hughes totally turned the game on its head against St. Pierre. He was able to get GSP to his side while trying to stop the strikes, wheeled around to the right and locked down the armbar with textbook form. Perhaps the best part about the #3 armbar is that GSP was able to return the favor three years later.
#2. Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha tate
#2 takes us all the way back to the “Rowdy’s” Strikeforce days. Meisha Tate was able to accomplish what few ever have against Rousey, she weaseled out of her armbar setup early in the fight. Tate twisted her arm back the correct way and got up to her feet before “Rowdy” could put her away. Tate gave Ronda Rousey one of the best runs for her money yet, but Rousey was able to get a hip toss takedown and get to full mount. Rousey took Tate’s back and started with some brutal punches from behind. When Tate brought up her left hand to block from behind, it was all Rousey needed to send the armbar home.
#1 Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson “The Spider” Silva
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You have to see the whole match to appreciate the finish of Silva vs. Sonnen 1. Chael left his left arm out just long enough for the spider to catch it after almost five rounds of a brutal beating. “The Spider” had enough strength to bring his left leg around Sonnen’s head and started to lock up for the triangle choke. Sonnen stood up to take the pressure off the choke, sat back and created some space with his right leg to stay in the fight. Recognizing that he wasn’t going to get the choke, Anderson puts a vice grip on Sonnen’s wrist and cranked back against the arm for the last minute, title-defense victory over Sonnen.