The excitement that combat sports bring to fans worldwide is indescribable. Watching some of our favorite athletes beat their rivals through a perfect display of flashy techniques is unmatched and can inspire people regardless of whether they train.
Competing at a high level is already a feat in itself. Using techniques honed in the training room is always something to behold, especially for techniques that are difficult to pull off. Today, let’s relive 9 of the best flying armbar finishes in BJJ and MMA history.
1) Rumina Sato Vs Charles Taylor
Rumina Sato is a famous Japanese MMA fighter known for his career under the Shooto organization. During his career, he fought in the 155lb division and later moved down to 145. Rumina is a master of flying submissions and is primarily a grappler whose style is to relentlessly hunt different submissions from unusual positions. Add his super aggressive ground and pound, and you got a very dangerous fighter.
His submission win against Charles Taylor is among the fastest submission finishes in MMA history, with only 6 seconds into the match. Sato has had numerous quick submission finishes throughout his career, and a total of 18 submission wins.
2) Demetrious Johnson Vs Ray Borg
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. He is a former UFC Flyweight Champion and is currently the ONE Flyweight World Champion. Nimble on his feet, DJ is known for his quick striking and excellent grappling skills, where he holds the record for the most takedowns in the history of UFC’s flyweight division.
His win against Ray Borg is by far one of the most, if not the most, impressive finishes in the history of MMA. After lifting Ray Borg from back control to perform a suplex, DJ immediately catches Ray Borg’s arm in the air, landing on the ground with an armbar.
3) Michelle Waterson Vs Rosary Califano
Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson is a former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion who currently competes in the UFC. She was ranked number 1 in the women’s atomweight division from 2013 to 2014. While Michelle is known for her karate-based fighting style, it did not limit her from showcasing her well-rounded skill in the field of MMA, winning her professional match in 2010 against Rosary Califano via flying armbar 15 seconds into the match.
4) Rose Namajunas Vs Kathina Catron
Rose Namajunas is a former two-time UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion and was a finalist in The Ultimate Fighter 2014. She is regarded as one of the best women strawweight fighters of all time. After winning four consecutive fights as an amateur, Rose went straight to professional fighting, where she faced Kathina Catron in her second professional MMA fight. She won the match with a flying armbar just 12 seconds into the fight.
5) Sofiane Benchora Vs Olivier Fontaine
In 2013, Oliver Fontaine met Sofiane Benchora at Lyon Fighting Championship 1. The match started with the two fighters exchanging punches and kicks. As Olivier rushed toward Sofiane with strikes, Sofiane caught Olivier’s kick, which he used to set up the flying armbar. Olivier won at just 1:16 into the match.
6) Rena Kubota Vs. Jleana Valentino
Rena Kubota is a Japanese shootboxing star. She made her MMA debut in Rizin Fighting Federation 2 in Japan against another debutant, Jleana Valentino. With Rena having an Invicta Fighting Championship women’s atomweight champion in her corner, Ayaka Hamasaki, she took the chance to showcase her excellent grappling skills to win the match in the 2nd round.
7) Vinny Magalhaes Vs Chris Weidman
Vinny Magalhaes is known as one of the best grapplers ever. He is an ADCC gold medalist and a 3-time bronze medalist; he also won the IBJJF World Championship several times. Vinny is a former UFC fighter, a finalist in The Ultimate Fighter in 2008, and the former Titan FC Light Heavyweight Champion and M-1 Global Light heavyweight Champion. Vinny faced the former UFC Middleweight Champion, Chris Weidman, in ADCC 2009, in which he won the match with a flying armbar.
8) Shinya Aoki Vs Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Shinya Aoki is an MMA legend, grappler, and professional wrestler. He has numerous championships under his belt, being a former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, DREAM Lightweight Champion, WAMMA Lightweight Champion, and former Shooto Welterweight Champion. He currently competes in ONE Championship and Rizin Fighting Federation.
In his early days of competing, Shinya faced a fellow MMA veteran, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, in a BJJ match in 2004 at the Reversal Cup. Twenty seconds into the match, Shinya went for a flying armbar, forcing the match to stop after breaking Hironaka’s arm.
9) Davi Ramos Vs Lucas Lepri
Davi Ramos is one of the most talented grapplers of his generation. He is a former UFC fighter and ADCC gold medalist. In the finals match of a stacked 77kg division in ADCC 2015, Davi faced one of the best BJJ competitors of all time, Lucas Lepri. Noted as one of the best performances to win the ADCC gold, Davi submitted Lucas Lepri with a flying armbar from the open guard position.
How To Perform The Flying Armbar
To perform the flying armbar, start by pulling the opponent towards you with your right hand grabbing behind their head (collar tie) and your left hand underhooking their arm. Step your right leg back and jump on the opponent hooking your right leg around their waist. Ensure that your right hand is still gripping behind their head and your left hand is holding the arm.
Swing your left leg up and over to the side of the opponent’s head. Keep the opponent’s arm trapped tightly with your legs. As you extend your legs, the opponent should easily roll down on the mat. Continue to hold on to the opponent’s arm as you sit up. Switch your grip with your right hand and move it up to your opponent’s wrist, making sure that their thumb is pointing up. Sit back and raise your hips to finish the armbar.
Understand that the flying armbar is a high-risk, high-reward move. Recognize the danger of the flying armbar, as it can cause injury when done incorrectly. While the flying armbar may be amazing to execute, always be ready to recover back to guard if you can’t finish with the submission.
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