The rear-naked choke has proven to be the most widely-used and most successful submission holds in the cage. Even through martial art’s constant state of growth and evolution, this effective maneuver continues to end matches in stunning fashion.
In fact, many of the athletes who will be competing at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES on 26 January, in Manila, Philippines, have used the hold to achieve some of their best submission victories.
Here are five of the tightest rear-naked choke submission victories from the heroes who will appearing at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES.
Eric Kelly Submitting Rob Lisita In An Absolute Thriller
Eric “The Natural” Kelly always puts on exciting performances. At ONE: WAR OF DRAGONS in July 2014, his dance partner was Australia’s Rob Lisita, and everyone knew there would be fireworks.
Lisita wasted no time and opened the first round with a great deal of forward pressure on Kelly. The Aussie initiated the striking, dictated the pace, and controlled Kelly’s positioning with a clinch and body locks. Though constantly on the back foot, Kelly stayed competitive, and never seemed out of the match.
In round two, it appeared as if Lisita had completely spent himself with the pressure in the first, and it showed early on. After a back and forth ground battle for superior positioning, it was clear both men were worn out. Kelly dug deep into his warrior spirt, however, to find a way to take Lisita’s back. From there, he sunk in a match-ending rear naked choke.
Bruno Pucci Reigniting His Career Against Anthony Engelen
In December 2015, Bruno Pucci proved exactly why he is a two-time BJJ No-Gi world champion at ONE: SPIRIT OF CHAMPIONS.
During the first round of their featherweight clash, Pucci slammed Anthony Engelen to the canvas and went to work on the kickboxer, who who was clearly at a disadvantage. As Engelen tried scrambling back to his feet, he committed the fatal mistake of giving up his back to the BJJ black belt. Pucci immediately hopped on, dug his hooks in, and feverishly worked to secure a submission.
Engelen may have survived the opening stanza, but would not make it out of the second. In fact, round two start much like the first, with a takedown and full control on the ground by Pucci.
The Brazilian took Engelen’s back in a transition back to the feet, and sunk in an incredibly deep rear-naked choke, to which the Indonesia-based Dutchman was forced to tap. The victory was an emotional one for Pucci, who was returning after a year and a half on the sidelines due to injuries.
Edward Kelly’s Thrilling Comeback Over Jordan Lucas
After seeing his brother on this list, we now see Team Lakay’s Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly. He faced then-undefeated Australian Jordan “Showtime” Lucas at ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS in March 2016, and displayed a thrilling comeback victory.
Lucas immediately opened the contest with a takedown, worked the Filipino over, took his back, and looked for an early rear-naked finish of his own. The Aussie was unrelenting in his pursuit of victory.
To Kelly’s credit, he remained calm. He initially escaped the position, but got flattened out and absorbed ground strikes from the dominating Aussie. Somehow, Kelly managed to get back to his feet, but was ground by Lucas again with a massive slam.
After another miraculous escape by Kelly, “Showtime” went for a third takedown attempt, but it came much slower and sloppier. It was clear fatigue was setting in for the Australian. The Team Lakay competitor stuffed the takedown attempt, began working in a rear-naked choke from the side, and then dragged Lucas from the ground and got enough leverage to submit the Aussie.
Joshua Pacio Out-Grapples A Wrestling Champion
In August 2016, at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD, Joshua Pacio had the type of performance that launched him into the strawweight world title picture.
After a frenetic start that consisted of multiple takedowns by 13-time Thai Wrestling Champion Kritsada “Dream Man” Kongsrichai and various escapes from Pacio, the contest was settled at the two minute mark of the opening stanza. The Team Lakay warrior would finally score a takedown of his own, and challenged the wrestler to work off his back.
Pacio methodically transitioned from full guard to half guard, and then straight into the mount. He postured up and rained down punches until Kongsrichai gives up his back. From there, he was able to flatten his opponent out and lock-in the hold that forced Kongsrichai to tap.
Hayato Suzuki Impresses Against A Top Contender
Hayato Suzuki made a roaring promotional debut in August 2017 at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS. The heavily-hyped Japanese wrestler entered the organization with a 16-0-2 unblemished record, and met a former strawweight world title challenger in Pacio.
Pacio opened the first round with flashy roundhouse kicks, followed by the spinning kick that made Team Lakay famous. But in mid-spin, that left the door open for Suzuki to close the distance and get his hands on Pacio.
The Tokyo, Japan resident secured a takedown and took his opponent’s back in the process. Pacio found himself in the worst possible position against a slick grappler with six rear-naked choke finishes on his resume. Ultimately, Suzuki locked-in a body triangle, and sunk in the rear-naked choke, to which Pacio was forced to tap.