The top 10 most effective Submissions in Mixed Martial Arts

The top 10 most effective Submissions in Mixed Martial Arts

Our list of the top submissions in MMA today is based on frequently updated statistics from hundreds of MMA fights from all the major MMA events (UFC, Strikeforce, DREAM etc.)from 2010 onwards. Here you can see what submissions are most common and frequently used in Mixed Martial Arts with particular focus on the core top 5 submissions and the overall top 10 submissions. For each individual year you can see the total amount of times each submission was achieved and what that represents as a percentage of all submission finishes, you can also see whether each submission is trending up or down compared to the previous year so that you can identify any new submission trends (based on percentage points up or down).

Regardless of what year you look at the statistics it’s very clear that there are three levels of submissions. Tier one makes up almost 90% of all the submission finishes and includes a set of 5 core submissions

  • Rear Naked Choked / Biceps and Inner Forearm Suppression
  • Guillotine Choke / Inner Forearm Choke
  • Triangle Choke / Leg with Shoulder Suppression
  • arm triangle choke / Biceps with Shoulder Suppression
  • Arm Bar / Elbow Extension

There is then a secondary level of techniques used that overall contribute just under 10% of the total submission count, these include

  • Kimura / Downward Shoulder Rotation
  • D’Arce Choke / Inner Forearm with Shoulder Suppression
  • Heel Hook / Inward Knee Rotation
  • Knee Bar / Knee Extension
  • Neck Crank / Neck Extension or Rotation

The final tier is that of all the remaining submissions outside of the top 10 and collectively they make up just a couple of percent of all the submissions used in MMA competition today. Within that tier there are submissions like the Ankle Lock, North South Chokes and Anaconda Chokes.

Individual statistics are not calculated on the more unorthodox or rare submissions outside of the top 10 as the contribution they make to the numbers is so low that it is not particularly meaningful. However, every submission is noted and recorded even if it doesn’t feature in the top 10.

Statistics for all submissions finishes in top MMA events since 2010


If you’re having any issues viewing the data above then please refer to the table below which contains all the submission statistics

Rear Naked Choke Guillotine Choke Arm Bar Triangle Choke Arm Triangle Kimura Heel Hook D’Arce Choke Knee Bar Neck Crank Other Sub Other details Grand Total
Total 2012 12 5 6 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 27
% of all submissions 44.44% 18.52% 22.22% 0.00% 7.41% 0.00% 3.70% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 3.70%
Change from 2011 13 2 9 -9 -2 -3 0 -4 -3 -5 0
UFC on FUEL TV 2 4 1 1
Strikeforce – Tate vs. Rousey 1 1 2
UFC on FX 2 1 2
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson 1
UFC on FUEL TV 1 1
UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit 1 1
UFC on Fox 2 1 1 other
UFC on FX 1 4 1
UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes 2 1
Strikeforce – Rockhold vs. Jardine
Total 2011 35 18 15 10 10 3 4 4 3 5 4 111
% of all submissions 31.53% 16.22% 13.51% 9.01% 9.01% 2.70% 3.60% 3.60% 2.70% 4.50% 3.60%
Change from 2010 0 -5 -6 -2 3 0 3 2 0 5 0
DREAM – New Year! 2011 1 1
UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem
Strikeforce – Melendez vs. Masvidal 1
UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida 1 1 1
UFC – TUF 14 Finale 2 1
UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson 2 1
Strikeforce Challengers 20 1 1 1
UFC on Fox 1 1 1
UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz 3 1
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz 1
UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 1 1
UFC on Versus 6 1 1 1
DREAM 17 1 1 2 2
UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage 1 1
Strikeforce Challengers 19 2 1 Shoulder lock
UFC Fight Night 25 3 1
Strikeforce – Barnett vs. Kharitonov 1 1
UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami
UFC on Versus 5 1 2 1
Strikeforce Challengers 18 1 1
UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz 2
Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Henderson 1 1 1
Strikeforce Challengers 17 1
DREAM – Japan GP Final
UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 1
UFC on Versus 4 1
Strikeforce Challengers 16 1 North/South Choke
Strikeforce – Overeem vs. Werdum 1
UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin 1 1
UFC – TUF 13 Finale 1
DREAM – Fight for Japan 1 1
UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill 1
UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields 2
Strikeforce – Diaz vs. Daley 1 1 1
Strikeforce Challengers 15 1 2
UFC Fight Night 24 1 2 1 Other
UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones
Strikeforce – Feijao vs. Henderson 1 2 2
UFC on Versus 3 1 1
UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch 3 1
Strikeforce Challengers 14 2 1 1 1 Anaconda Choke
Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Silva 1 1 1 1
UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort 1 1
Strikeforce – Diaz vs. Cyborg 2 2 1
UFC Fight Night 23 – Fight for the Troops 2 1
Strikeforce Challengers 13 2 1 1 1
UFC 125: Resolution 1 1
Total 2010 40 27 24 14 7 3 1 2 3 0 4 125
% of all submissions 32.00% 21.60% 19.20% 11.20% 5.60% 2.40% 0.80% 1.60% 2.40% 0.00% 3.20%
Dynamite!! 2010 1
WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 1
UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 1 1
UFC – TUF 12 Finale 1 1 other
Strikeforce – Henderson vs. Babalu 2
UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida 1 2
Strikeforce Challengers 12 1
UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami 2 1
WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki 1 2 1
UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez 1 1 Anaconda Choke
Strikeforce Challengers 11 1
UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama 2 1
Strikeforce – Diaz vs. Noons 2 1 1
WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan 1 1
UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop 2 1
DREAM 16 1 1 1 1
UFC Fight Night 22 2
UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 2 2 1
Strikeforce – Houston 1
WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez 1 1
Strikeforce Challengers 10 1 1
UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen 1 1
UFC on Versus 2 1 1 1
Strikeforce Challengers 9 1
DREAM 15 2 1 1 Ankle Lock
UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin 2 1 1
Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Werdum 1 1
WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus 1 1 2 1
UFC – TUF 11 Finale 1
Strikeforce – Los Angeles 2
UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin 1 2 1
UFC 114: Jackson vs. Evans 1
DREAM 14 1 1
Strikeforce Challengers 8
Strikeforce – Heavy Artillery 4 2
UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2 2
WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber 1 2 1
Strikeforce – Nashville 2
UFC 112: Invincible 1 1 1 Anaconda Choke
UFC Fight Night 21 1
UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy 2 1
Strikeforce Challengers 7 1 1
UFC on Versus 1 1
WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz 1 2 2
Strikeforce Challengers 6 1
UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez 1
UFC 109: Relentless 1 1
Strikeforce – Miami 1 1
UFC Fight Night 20 2
WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson 2 1 1
UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva 1 1 1
All Time Total 87 50 45 24 19 6 6 6 6 5 9 263
% of all submissions 33.08% 19.01% 17.11% 9.13% 7.22% 2.28% 2.28% 2.28% 2.28% 1.90% 3.42%

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Lee Aylett has been teaching Martial Arts, Self Defence and MMA techniques and concepts for over 20 years and is Chief Instructor and Development Director for PRO MAI.

4 Responses to “The top 10 most effective Submissions in Mixed Martial Arts”

  1. Phil June 12, 2012 at 11:10 #

    well i guess it stands to reason why you taught us rear suppression first! its always been my favourite sub and interrestingly enough it is the only sub you can practice on your own…by locking it around your knee when sat down…

    Thanks for all the info Lee

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