Rose Namajunas vs Kathina CatronThere’s something special about a submission win. It’s one thing to knock an opponent out and another to force one to decide between quitting, going unconscious, or suffering serious injury to a body part.

Some submissions are common, others rare, and some downright spectacular. 2013 had its share of all three.

Josh Burkman exacted revenge from a previous loss to Jon Fitch at World Series of Fighting 3 on June 14 by locking on a guillotine choke the almost immediately rendered Fitch unconscious. Not a lot of people saw that one coming.

If there’s one thing Chael Sonnen has been susceptible to throughout his career, it has been losing by submission. While his submission defense may not have always been there for him, he showed he has submissions in his arsenal when he tapped out former UFC and Pride champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by guillotine choke at UFC Fight Night 26 on Aug. 17. I don’t know of anyone who predicted that.

UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis earning the title be defeating Benson Henderson by armbar at UFC 164 is certainly worthy of a mention.

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey fought twice in 2013, and like all of her other victories, she won both by armbar. In the first women’s fight featured in the UFC, she tapped out Liz Carmouche in the opening round at UFC 157. In the rematch with Miesha Tate at UFC 168, she defeated the former Strikeforce champion for the second time by armbar.

What makes Rousey so special is everyone knows the armbar is coming, but no one has been able to stop it. Every time she enters the cage, the probability of winning by armbar again decreases dramatically, but she continues to find a way to isolate an arm.

Kenny Robertson’s submission of Brock Jardine at UFC 157 left most viewers wondering what the submission was. “All it is is when people try to get the hooks out, they tripod up and try to shake you off, you just reach down, lift that heel right up,” explained Robertson following the event. It was the first time the submission, dubbed the “ham ripper,” had been pulled off in the UFC. He definitely scored points for uniqueness.

While all the submission wins mentioned were impressive,’s 2013 Submission of the Year leans more toward the spectacular.

In her second professional MMA fight, strawweight Rose Namajunas pulled off a flying armbar on Kathina Catron at Intvicta FC 5 on April 5 (see video here). She quickly moved across the cage and met Catron and they exchanged before clinching. Namajunas immediately leaped in the air and latched on an armbar before hitting the ground to extend it. It took her 12 seconds to secure the win and’s Submission of the Year nod.

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