When fans think of submission victories in MMA, rear naked chokes, triangles, and arm bars are usually the first to come to mind. Kimuras may not look like much, but they are a very powerful motivator to tap out of a world of hurt. Setting up a kimura is all about isolating your opponent’s arm to apply tension on the elbow and shoulder. After wrapping your arm around the arm of the opponent, you grab your opponent’s wrist while also grabbing your own. With this control, you crank the opponent’s arm backwards and apply tremendous pressure the shoulder and elbow for a very painful submission victory. Grab some popcorn and some ice for your shoulder as we review the top 5 MMA submissions.
#5- Matt Hughes vs. Joe Riggs
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Matt Hughes takes Joe Riggs down in UFC 56 at 36:50. After making it into Riggs’ half guard and getting out of guillotine trouble, Hughes reaches for the far right arm from half guard. He battles hard for control and ultimately overcomes Rigg’s efforts to straighten his arm for protection. With the arm cranked back towards his head, Riggs has to tap out of the welterweight champion’s deadly kimura.
#4- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Kevin Randleman
Fedor took on Kevin Randleman in Pride: Critical Countdown. Fedor’s fifteenth consecutive victory in the 2001-2004 run was taken at just 1:33 of the first round. How on earth Fedor was able to survive the Randleman’s head drop suplex is anybody’s guess. Amazingly, Fedor is able to recover and win the battle on the ground. He isolates Randleman’s left arm and bends it back all the way to victory.
#3- Royler Gracie vs. Sakuraba
#3 takes us all the way back to the Pride days for the fight that sparked the Gracie family rivalry with Kazushi Sakuraba. This fight makes #3 for its importance in MMA history and for its controversial finish. Royler is invited to stand with Sakuraba at 29:40, where he tries to shoot on Sakuraba soon after. Sakuraba is able to stop Royler’s shot, battle in half guard and isolate his right arm to set up the kimura. He cranks back hard on Royler’s arm as he tries to defend with knee strikes. At 32:10, Sakuraba definitely has the advantage for the finish but Royler refuses to tap to Sakuraba. The referee ends the fight after a battle that seems to go on forever, but did Royler ever tap out? Do you think it was enough for the referee to call the match? Royler immediately contests the referee’s call.
#2- Frank Mir vs. Nogueira
Frank Mir was almost knocked out cold by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140. Nogueira battles Mir in the clinch and strikes heavy, connecting hard on his chin. Nogueira knocks Mir to the canvas and looks to seal the deal with a guillotine after it looked like Mir was out cold. Amazingly, Mir is able to get out of the guillotine grip and shimmy into side control on Nogueira. Mir clinches onto the arm despite Nogueira’s attempts to roll out of the hold. He fights for the kimura until the fight is stopped once Nogueira’s humerous breaks (look for the hold and sudden jet in the arm).
#1- Sakuraba vs. Renzo Gracie
“The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba takes the #1 spot for his fight against Renzo Gracie in Pride 10. There was a lot riding on Renzo’s shoulders to avenge a controversial call made on the Royler fight. Renzo takes Sakuraba’s back and brings him to the mat, but Sakuraba stands up and breaks his grip. Sakuraba gets control of one arm, makes a crazy spin around Renzo, drops him to the mat in side control and ends up in perfect position to crank the kimura home. There is no controversy about this Sakuraba fight as Renzo refuses to tap to his family rival. He decides to opt for the snap instead of the tap and loses the fight when his arm is broken.