Review Of The Best Submissions in 2014 – Stats & Facts

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The following statistics were recorded from 503 fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the whole of 2014, all submissions in all of the 2014 UFC events are tracked here. You can see all the submission statistics from the UFC’s entire history here.

The highlights for 2014 are as follows:

  • There were 99 submission finishes – the greatest total in UFC history
  • The Triangle Choke finished outside of the top 5 submissions for the first time in the modern era
  • There were 17 different submissions used to finish fights – the most diverse range in UFC history
  • The Kimura had a resurgence and made it back onto the top 5 submissions list
  • The Omoplata was successfully used to finish a fight in the UFC for the first time in its history
  • The submission finish percentage was up year on year

Let’s get into the detail, first up we’ll look at the core stats for the year in terms of total submission count and the submissions per fight percentage. The submissions per fight percentage is very important as it allows to compare statistics year on year more accurately as the stats aren’t skewed so much by the increasing volume of fights.

Total Submission Count

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Submissions Per Fight %

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As the amount of UFC events increases each year we would expect that the total submission count would generally trend upwards. In 2014 there were more than 500 UFC fights and here we can see that there have been 99 fights finished by submission which is up from 66 in 2013. Incredibly that’s more submissions in one year than we saw in the whole of the first 9 years in the UFC. This is how the trend now looks over the history of the UFC:

The submissions per fight ratio is more interesting as generally this has been trending down year on year as less and less fights are finished by submission, however in 2014 this was 19.6% which is up from 17% in 2013. Could this be the start of a resurgence in submissions in top level MMA in general? It’s probably not a big enough shift to claim this with any real legitimacy but it’s good to see that downward trend was halted at least for 2014. This is how the trend looks historically:

Here’s how the individual events looked throughout the year in terms of submissions per fight

2014 has been a very interesting year for individual submissions in the UFC, As it currently stands the overall leaderboard for the top submissions in the UFC in 2014 is as follows:

  1. Rear Naked Choke – 44 Submissions
  2. Guillotine Choke – 20 Submissions
  3. Arm Bar – 8 Submissions
  4. Arm Triangle Choke – 6 Submissions
  5. Kimura – 5 Submissions
  6. Triangle Choke – 3 Submissions
  7. Bulldog Choke – 2 Submissions
  8. Neck Crank – 2 Submissions

It’s only these 8 submissions that managed more than 1 successful tap out throughout the year but there are a further 9 submissions that had a single submission win through the year but we’ll come back to them.

Here’s what the top submissions of 2014 look like when they’re broken down by percentage visually

The fact that the Rear Naked Choke and the Guillotine Choke contribute the vast majority of the submission finishes is nothing unusual. Perhaps the most important fact of the year is that for the first time in the modern era of MMA (the past 10 years) the Triangle Choke finished outside of the Top 5 as the Kimura made a surprise resurgence and claimed it’s spot in 5th place.

Take a look at the Triangle Choke finishing ratio in UFC fights and look at its decline in the last 10 years, specifically look at 2013 vs 2014 and you’ll see that the Triangle Choke finishing ratio has been less than half of what it was in 2013, down from 1.3% to 0.6%.

Now take a look at the Kimura finishing ratio in UFC fights and you’ll notice that it’s had a resurgence since there were no Kimura finishes in 2012 – last year in 2013 there was a finishing ratio of 0.52% and in 2014 that went up to 0.99% – almost exactly doubling year on year.

The other big news of the year was the diversity of submissions that occurred throughout the year. Perhaps the highlight of the year in terms of submission finishes was Ben Saunders applying the first ever Omoplata submission finish and it was recently voted Submission Of The Year by But Ben Saunder’s great Omoplata was just one of the diverse range of rare submissions that we saw this year.

In 2014 there were a total of 17 different submissions applied to finish fights that’s the greatest range of submissions that we’ve ever seen in the UFC’s history. 8 of these submissions were outside of the regular top 10 submissions in MMA. Here’s the list of submissions that were used in 2014 that don’t appear in the regular UFC top 10 submission list:

  • Bull Dog Choke – 2
  • Neck Crank – 2
  • Ninja Choke – 1
  • Von Flue Choke – 1
  • Scarf Hold Headlock – 1
  • Omoplata – 1
  • Reverse Bull Dog Choke – 1
  • Inverted Triangle Choke – 1

Here’s the history of how submissions outside the top 10 have performed over the history of the UFC in terms of total submissions:

Even though we would expect this to trend upwards over the years as more and more UFC events take place, you can see that 2014 has produced a trend in ‘other’ submissions way above what we might expect. This diversification of submissions is a very exciting trend and one that will be very interesting to watch in the UFC in 2015. Will the less common submissions continue to do well as combatants are less familiar with how to defend them or will UFC fighters verse themselves in the additional defensive techniques and strategies needed to ensure that these less well known submissions don’t continue to catch them out?