It’s the holiday season, and with the new year quickly approaching, Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of MMA in 2015. Throughout the remainder of the year, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
This year, there were many great submissions both inside and outside of the UFC. One such instance was Fabricio Werdum’s guillotine-choke victory that ended the title reign of UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. The stoppage came midway through the third round and helped solidify a dominating performance for the Brazilian heavyweight. Over at ONE Championship, 19-year-old strawweight Angela Lee pulled off one of the most difficult submissions, the twister, on Natalie Gonzales Hills at ONE Championship: Pride of Lions. However, it is Ronda Rousey’s armbar victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 184 that narrowly edges out the twister for the best submission of the year.
The method of victory on any MMA news outlet may simply read “armbar” as the finish, but it was anything but a normal armbar. This Rousey armbar was something unseen and unexpected in MMA competition. Listed as a straight armbar victory, it came only 14 seconds into the first round and off the heels of an overly aggressive Zingano, who like many other women’s bantamweight title challengers had been touted as Rousey’s “toughest test to date.” Zingano’s aggression led to a quick scramble that landed Rousey across Zingano’s back with one arm. From there, Rousey locked in the armbar from an awkward angle and secured what was at the time the fastest finish in UFC title-fight history.
The finish was yet another dominating Rousey victory for her fifth consecutive defense of the women’s bantamweight title. Rousey’s win over Zingano also brought the champion back to her roots, as she etched her ninth career armbar victory and first since defeating Miesha Tate in December 2013. Rousey would go on to defeat Bethe Correia for a sixth title defense, but recently dropped her title against Holly Holm in Australia in November. Here, Rousey can take solace in enjoying another award as she takes home the Combat Press vote for “Submission of the Year.”
Other Finalists: Angela Lee vs. Natalie Gonzales Hills (ONE Championship: Pride of Lions), Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez (UFC 188)
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2015 MMA Award winners.