Best of MMA 2011: Frank Mir Takes the Submission of the Year

Mir snaps for second time, Big Nog taps for first

HeavyMMA’s Best of 2011 series continues today with the year’s best submissions. The best tapouts of 2011 start with one of the most gruesome injuries in MMA history – but that isn’t necessarily what makes it so instantly legendary.

Make sure you check out the links at the bottom for the previous Best Ofs in the series and what’s coming up next.

Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

1. Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
UFC 140 | Dec. 10 | Air Canada Centre, Toronto
Matt Brown: I’m not for anyone getting injured in our great sport of MMA. However, when you’re talking Submission of the Year, and an extremely high-level black belt gets his arm broken by another fighter, the injury can tip the scales in the voting. Not only was Frank Mir’s break of Big Nog’s arm an unlikely turn of events in a fight that Nog seemed to be dominating, but it was the first time in 42 career fights that Nog was defeated via submission.
Duane Finley:
My memory of this fight will not be the initial shock of Mir snapping Nogueira’s arm in a fight-ending kimura. Instead, it will be of the repeated jolts sent through the Air Canada Centre as multiple replays came one after the next, with each viewing making the crowd gasp. While the fashion in which the fight ended is what will ultimately be remembered, it was the action leading up to Mir’s victory which made this submission great. Nogueira rocked Mir with a big shot and as they hit the ground, it appeared the fight was going to be stopped. Rather than continue to throw punches, Nogueira went for the submission and Mir had just enough of his bearings back to not only defend himself, but to turn the tide in his favor. Moments later it was crank, snap and history.
Matt Erickson: I didn’t make the trip to Toronto for UFC 140, and it’s probably a good thing I didn’t. I mean, no one wants to faint in front of their media colleagues on Press Row. That’s just not cool. Twice have I watched a fight that made me weak enough to lie down on the cold basement floor. Corey Hill’s leg playing Gumby was the first. And Mir snapping Big Nog’s arm in half was the other. Unfortunately for Mir, the enormity of what he did took a backseat to the actual arm break. And make no mistake – when you force arguably the best heavyweight jiu-jitsu artist of all time to tap, it’s enormous.

Chan Sung Jung vs. Leonard Garcia

2. Chan Sung Jung vs. Leonard Garcia
UFC Fight Night 24 | March 26 | KeyArena, Seattle
Matt Brown: Never has a submission finish garnered such excitement from UFC color man Joe Rogan than when “The Korean Zombie” utilized “The Twister” on Leonard Garcia. Rogan, a good friend of Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor and Twister aficionado Eddie Bravo, went absolutely bonkers. It was the first time we’ve ever seen anything like it inside the Octagon, and I imagine it will be some time before we see it again.
Duane Finley:
The Eddie Bravo videos paid off for Chan Sung Jung. After making a strong debut in the first fight with Garcia, “The Korean Zombie” hype was in jeopardy of deflating when a head kick from George Roop laid him flat. It wasn’t clear if Jung was going to be a contender or a gate keeper, and when the opportunity arose for him to step in for a second time against Garcia he made the most of it. In the second round Jung took Garcia’s back and the submission began to take place. The MMA world cracks on Joe Rogan’s commentary but one thing you can’t take away from Joe is his knowledge of the ground game. Rogan recognized the set up and when Garcia tapped, the first Twister submission in UFC history was earned.
Matt Erickson: Leave it to a Zombie to introduce the world to the Twister. This one’s all about making history. Jung got a good measure of revenge for his earlier split decision loss to Garcia by making him fall victim to one of the rarest submissions in the world. It earned him a nice bonus, and Garcia? He got to accept the Submission of the Year trophy on Jung’s behalf at the World MMA Awards last month.

Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin

3. Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin
UFC 129 | April 30 | Rogers Centre, Toronto
Matt Brown: Flying triangle chokes are near the top of the MMA food chain when it comes to awesomeness. This was definitely the “coolest” submission of 2011, but loses out to the pair above due to the impact of Mir’s sub and the scarcity of the Zombie’s Twister. If you missed this one, Google it. There are some great animated GIFs out there and you can soak in all of this submission’s greatness. 
Duane Finley:
I’m a complete sucker for a good triangle. Now when said triangle is of the inverted or flying variety, – I travel into MMA Nerd World. Pablo Garza earned “Submission of the Night” with his flying triangle over Yves Joubin at UFC 129, and rightfully so. The set-up was perfect as the taller Garza latched Joubin into the clinch. Joubin’s natural reaction was to prepare for the knees that usually follow but Garza seized the perfect opportunity and threw his legs up and over. Once the triangle was locked, the fight was finished and Garza became the owner of one of 2011’s sickest submissions.
Matt Erickson: Pablo Garza couldn’t quite put himself on the map with a nickname like “The Scarecrow.” Luckily, he has a pretty sweet jiu-jitsu game to help get him noticed. Garza followed up a Knockout of the Night bonus in his UFC debut with a gorgeous flying triangle that is nearly as hard to come by as Jung’s Twister.

Honorable Mention
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi: UFC 125 | Jan. 1 | MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
Nick Diaz vs. Evangelista Santos:
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg | Jan. 29 | HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.
Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader:
UFC 126 | Feb. 5 | Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas
Marloes Coenen vs. Liz Carmouche:
Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson | March 5 | Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Richard Hale vs. Nik Fekete:
Bellator 38 | March 26 | Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino, Tunica, Miss.
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader:
UFC 132 | July 2 | MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
Joe Lauzon vs. Melvin Guillard:
UFC 136 | Oct. 7 | Toyota Center, Houston
Diego Brandao vs. Dennis Bermudez:
TUF 14 Finale | Dec. 3 | The Pearl at The Palms, Las Vegas
Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida:
UFC 140 | Dec. 10 | Air Canada Centre, Toronto

HeavyMMA’s Best of MMA 2011 Series
Best of UFC 2011: The Photographs. Acclaimed MMA photographer James Law shares some of the best captures of the year in a slideshow that has been viewed all around the world in the last 24 hours.
Best of MMA 2011: Fighter of the Year.
With a spotless 4-0 record and four stoppages, it should come as no surprise UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones is our Fighter of the Year.
Best of MMA 2011: Fight of the Year.
It was a fight years in the making, but Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was worth the wait – and one for the ages.
Best of MMA 2011: Knockout of the Year. In a year jam-packed with great knockouts a couple coming from the feet, and not the hands, lead our list. Whose foot topped the list – the Spider’s, or the Dragon’s?
Coming Monday: Upset of the Year
Coming Tuesday: Event of the Year
Coming Wednesday: Newcomer of the Year