First Appearence in UFC : UFC 4
December 16 1994
The Triangle Choke Submission is a classic submission that will forever be associated with almost all well rounded grappling arts whether it's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Catch Wrestling, Sambo or any other.
The Triangle Choke Submission has consistently had a place in the Top 10 Submissions list for the past 20 years. However, in recent times the Triangle Choke has struggled and in recent years it has frequently finished outside the top 5.
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Here are the total fights finished in the UFC by Triangle Choke, the overall fight finishing percentage for the Triangle Choke and finally the finishing ratio.
So in the entire history of the UFC there have been just over sixty Triangle Chokes used to finish fights, this equates to an overall fight finishing percentage of just over 1%, meaning that approximately 1 fight in every 75 will end in a Triangle Choke finish.
The next graph shows us how the Triangle Choke compares to the other submissions in the top 10.
This really starts to put the performance of the Triangle Choke into context. The Triangle Choke is often thought of as a top finisher as it is so synonymous with BJJ and MMA submissions. However the reality is that the Rear Naked Choke finishes six fights for every one that gets finished by a Triangle Choke. The Arm Bar has more than twice as many finishes and the Guillotine Choke around three times the finishing potency. It's still quite comfortably in the top 5 but it's nowhere close to the top 3.
Our next graph shows the total finishes achieved by the Triangle Choke in the UFC Year on Year
Total Finishes Via Triangle Choke In The UFC Year on Year
This graph shows how the volume of Triangle Choke finishes has changed over the history of the UFC. What we start to see here is that the Triangle Choke has not been able to perform so well in the last few years, since 2005 the volume of fights in the UFC has increased dramatically and yet the volume of Triangle Chokes has still been on the decline.
The next graph shows how this has accumulated as a total over time. This may not seem particularly relevant at first glance but it's useful to tell when the submission has accelerated, decelerated of plateaued.
Accumulative Total Finishes Via Triangle Choke In The UFC Year on Year
A high performing submission would have a steep incline that became more vertical through the recent years as the volume of fights has increased. If you look at the Rear Naked Choke statistics you can see this in evidence. however, what we see instead is a line that is flattening out and slowing down.
So let's take a look at how this compares to other submissions in the top 10...
Accumulative Total Finishes For Top 10 Submissions In The UFC Year on Year
The Triangle Choke is still represented by the green line but the scale is different as we bring all the other submissions back in. You can see here how comparatively poorly the Triangle Choke is doing when you look at it alongside all the other submissions. It's losing ground to almost all of them.
Finally we switch our focus to percentages rather than volume, starting with the percentage of fights that get finished by Triangle Choke in the UFC year on year.
Fight Finishing Percentage For Triangle Choke In The UFC Year on Year
It's pretty evident that the Triangle Choke is having a difficult time in the modern era, from its height in 2006 where it scored a 4.43% finishing rate it has declined to an all time low in 2017 of just 0.44% - a ten fold decline in a decade. In the 2017 submission statistics you can see that there were just 2 Triangle Choke finishes.
The next graph is a little more difficult to understand but it's one of the most important. This graph shows us how the total percentage of submissions that can be attributed to the Triangle Choke cumulatively throughout the years. So for any given year the percentage value shown is for that year and all preceding years combined.
Accumulative Percentage Of Submissions Via Triangle Choke In The UFC Year on Year
This line is probably the one that most succinctly summarises the story of the Triangle Choke. The Triangle performed incredibly well in the early years of the UFC and gained percentage points over other submissions all the way through until 2009. From this point the story is different, from 2009 the Triangle Choke has been on a decline, not once has it improved its market share since then. Again 2017 was thus its low point, dropping its overall share of submission finishes for the last 25 years to just 6.27%.
For comparison we'll take a look at the top 5 submissions and how they have performed on this same measure. The Triangle Choke remains in green.
Accumulative Percentage Of Submission Finishes For Top 5 In The UFC
The Basic story here is that there are three winners and two losers in the top 5 submissions. The Rear Naked Choke, Guillotine Choke and Arm Triangle are all performing strongly in the last decade while the Arm Bar and Triangle Choke continue to struggle. The Arm Triangle is coming up fast on the standard leg Triangle Choke and has close to with 1 percentage point. If the trend continues then the Arm Triangle will steal the number 4 spot on the all time top 10 list from its far more famous cousin. That would be quite a story.
In conclusion, the Triangle Choke has still got a fairly solid place in the all time top 5 UFC submissions with its deep history of finishes and strong performance for the first 16 years. More recently though there have been tough time for the Triangle Choke as it has finished outside the top 5 for several years and in 2017 it only just managed to finish in the top 10.
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