Check out videos of the top five submissions from the early days of the UFC, from UFC 1 to UFC 10, featuring the legendary BJJ expert Royce Gracie.
In our latest series here at BJPenn.com “Top 5 Submissions” we take a look at the most lethal submissions from the first 10 UFC events. All the submissions took place between 1993 and 1996, and they still hold strong over 25 years later. Keep in mind there are many other submissions deserving of the list, but we had to choose just five. Take a look at our top-five list below.
UFC 1: Royce Gracie def. Gerard Gordeau via submission, 1:44
Let’s be honest here. Royce Gracie could have easily held all five spots on this list, but we wanted to shake things up and feature some other submissions fans may not have seen before. But of course, Gracie belongs on this list, and arguably his most important submission was his rear-naked choke over Gerard Gordeau in the finals of UFC 1. After choking out Art Jimmerson and Ken Shamrock in the first two rounds, Shamrock was able to finish Gordeau in the finals and prove that Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the top martial arts style at the time. It was Gracie who introduced the world to BJJ at UFC 1 and 27 years later the discipline is still amongst the most prominent in the sport of mixed martial arts.
UFC 2: Johnny Rhodes def. Fred Ettish via bulldog choke, 3:07
One of the lesser-known submissions on this list, watch Johnny Rhodes tap out Fred Ettish with a bulldog choke in the quarterfinals of UFC 2. Bulldog chokes are still somewhat of a rarity at the highest level of the sport and Rhodes is the man who was the first to pull it off. It was a brutal submission and landed Rhodes a spot in the semifinals, though he eventually lost to Patrick Smith, who lost to Gracie in the finals of UFC 2.
UFC 5: Dan Severn def. Paul Beneteau via keylock, 3:01
No best-of UFC list would be complete without the great Dan Severn. At UFC 5 he was able to finish Dave Beneteau with a keylock to win the tournament. Severn went on to become one of the most successful grapplers in the history of mixed martial arts, and winning this tournament was one of the greatest accomplishments of his legendary career.
UFC 7: Remco Pardoel def. Ryan Parker via lapel choke, 3:05
Another choke you may not have seen features Remco Pardoel finish Ryan Parker with a lapel choke at UFC 7. Gracie had already scored a lapel choke submission at UFC 2 but seeing another man score a submission using the gi was truly something special. The gi is no longer allowed in mixed martial arts under the Unified Rules but it was an important tool for grapplers in the early days and this is an example of it being utilized correctly.
UFC 8: Ken Shamrock def. Kimo Leopoldo via kneebar, 4:24
And finally, we need to have Ken Shamrock on this list for his submission win over fellow legend Kimo Leopoldo at UFC 8. Two of the biggest stars in the early days of the UFC, Shamrock fought Leopoldo met a superfight with Shamrock scoring a kneebar submission to prove to the world that he was one of the best martial artists. It still goes down as one of the top wins of his legendary Hall of Fame career for Shamrock.
What is your favorite submission from UFC 1 to UFC 10?