Rare UFC Submissions

In researching UFC submission statistics for a Jiu-jitsu Times article, I noticed that some of the submissions that are quite common in BJJ academies are surprisingly rare in the hundreds of UFC fights we see per year.

The submissions that are successful at the level of professional MMA are clustered into a small subset of possible submissions:

Rear naked choke
Shoulder choke
Triangle choke
Arm lock (usually from the mount or guard)
Darce choke
Knee bar

These 7 “basic” techniques account for an overwhelming majority of submission stoppages.

In BJJ there are a wider number of submissions seen, even if we account for the addition of collar chokes.

Here are three submissions that are common in BJJ but rare in professional MMA:

1) Omoplata

It is rare to observe a roll between higher belts in the BJJ academy without seeing several omoplata attempts. It is therefore surprising to learn that after over 20 years of the UFC, Ben Saunders has the sole omoplata win!

2) Von Flue Choke

With the number of guillotine attempts that we see in MMA, it is curious that we don’t see more Von Flue Chokes as counters. Ovince St. Preux owns two of the three Von Flue choke finishes in UFC history. Renzo Gracie said that the Von Flue choke accounted for the greatest number of students who go to sleep in his academy!

3) Achilles Lock

Even with the IBJJF rules prohibiting knee reaping, I still observe a fair number of Achilles lock taps in the academy, many instances by lower belts against higher belts.

In MMA, without the restrictive knee reaping rule, one might think that Achilles locks would be more prevalent?

Could it be that the sweat and slippery nature of MMA grappling allows fighters to slip out more easily? Is it because professional fighters are better trained and less likely to be caught by surprise?

Perhaps there is no simple explanation for why there is such a disparity in submission success between MMA and BJJ in the academy.

Why do you think these submissions are radically less effective in pro MMA?


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