In a division dominated by knockout power and ferocious striking, the heavyweight division in the UFC has also produced a group of highly skilled submission specialists. Frank Mir, with his 8 submission wins, stands as the most prolific submission artist in the division’s history, closely followed by Aleksei Oleinik and his signature Ezekiel choke. Stefan Struve, Fabricio Werdum, and Gabriel Gonzaga have also showcased their grappling acumen, leaving a trail of defeated opponents with their diverse submission techniques. These fighters have proven that the ground game is just as crucial in the heavyweight division as the stand-up aspect of the sport. With their technical brilliance and strategic prowess on the mat, these submission specialists have left an indelible mark on the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
Frank Mir stands tall as the undisputed leader in submission wins within the UFC’s heavyweight division, boasting an impressive tally of 8 submission victories. Known for his slick grappling skills, Mir has consistently showcased his ability to take the fight to the ground and finish his opponents with a variety of submission techniques.
One of Mir’s most iconic submission victories came in 2011 when he faced Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In a highly anticipated rematch, Mir managed to lock in a gruesome kimura, causing Nogueira’s arm to snap and forcing him to tap out in the first round. This victory not only showcased Mir’s tenacity but also earned him Submission of the Night honors, solidifying his reputation as one of the most dangerous submission artists in UFC’s heavyweight history.
Aleksei Oleinik, also known as “The Boa Constrictor,” has proven himself to be a relentless submission artist in the heavyweight division. With 7 submission wins to his name, Oleinik has made a name for himself with his signature move, the “Ezekiel choke,” a rarely seen submission in MMA.
One of Oleinik’s most remarkable submission victories came in 2019 when he faced Maurice Greene. Despite being on his back, Oleinik expertly executed the Ezekiel choke from the bottom position, leaving Greene no choice but to tap out. This victory further solidified Oleinik’s reputation as a submission specialist and showcased his ability to catch opponents off-guard with his unorthodox grappling skills.
Standing at a towering 7 feet, Stefan Struve possesses a unique advantage in the heavyweight division. While he is known for his striking abilities, Struve has also showcased his grappling acumen, securing 6 submission wins in his UFC career.
One of Struve’s most memorable submission victories came in 2012 when he faced Lavar Johnson. In the first round of their bout, Struve locked in a fight-ending armbar, forcing Johnson to submit. This victory demonstrated Struve’s versatility as a fighter and established him as a legitimate threat on the ground, earning him a place among the division’s top submission specialists.
Hailing from Brazil, Fabricio Werdum is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and a highly accomplished submission artist. With 4 submission wins, Werdum has utilized his world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills to secure impressive victories over some of the division’s most notable names.
One of Werdum’s most significant submission wins came in 2014 when he faced Mark Hunt for the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. In a stunning display of grappling prowess, Werdum locked in a triangle-armbar combination, forcing Hunt to submit in the second round. This victory not only earned Werdum the championship belt but also showcased his technical brilliance on the ground.
Gabriel Gonzaga, another Brazilian heavyweight, has proven himself to be a formidable submission specialist with 4 submission wins in the UFC. Although known for his striking ability, Gonzaga has often caught his opponents off-guard with his grappling skills.
One of Gonzaga’s most memorable submission victories came in 2007 when he faced Mirko Cro Cop. In a fight that was predominantly standing, Gonzaga capitalized on an opportunity and executed a head kick that sent Cro Cop to the canvas. He then followed up with ground-and-pound strikes, prompting Cro Cop to turn his back. Gonzaga capitalized on the opportunity and secured a rear-naked choke, forcing the tap-out in the first round. This remarkable submission victory showcased Gonzaga’s ability to transition seamlessly from striking to grappling and further solidified his reputation as a well-rounded heavyweight contender.
|Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
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