It’s a new year, so Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of MMA in 2019. Throughout the the week, 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.

Submission of the Year – Bryce Mitchell vs. Matt Sayles (UFC on ESPN 7)

In just three UFC fights, Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell has made quite a name for himself among fans. He’s known for his post-fight pleading to Reebok to make him camouflage shorts, but even more than that he is known for locking up one of the rarest and most painful submissions in MMA.

When Mitchell submitted Matt Sayles in the first round of their UFC on ESPN 7 preliminary bout, it was only the second time anyone had won via a twister in UFC history. The first came back in 2011 when “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung forced Leonard Garcia to tap in the final seconds of the second round of their rematch.



The move is a complex spinal-lock submission similar in nature to what is called a guillotine in amateur wrestling. The move and name were coined by 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo. It is comprised of a neck crank and contortion of the torso in the opposite direction from the back mount position. This causes pain in several areas of the spine and neck, and it takes only a few seconds before the pain gets to a point where the fighter is forced to submit.

The setup to the twister is also complex, but its uncommon nature means it can be implemented quickly if the opponent is unfamiliar with the move and hasn’t had much experience defending against it in training. Mitchell doesn’t study under Bravo and doesn’t have a formal background in the 10th Planet system, but rather learned the move from watching and studying Bravo on YouTube. This makes his execution of the twister all the more impressive and, even in a year filled with incredible finishes, the clear choice for our 2019 “Submission of the Year.”

Other finalists: Misha Cirkunov’s Peruvian Necktie of Jimmy Crute (UFC on ESPN+ 16), Marlon Moraes’s guillotine choke of Raphael Assunção (UFC on ESPN+ 2)


Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2019 MMA Award winners.