UFC Submissions: Armbar, Kneebar, and Facebar

UFC 157: Burrell v VillefortUFC 157, yesterday, had a few interesting submissions and submission attempts. Spoiler alert. Ronda Rousey finished Liz Carmouche in the first round with an armbar. I might be biased but, to me, Ronda is just on another level in terms of grappling. Which is why it was surprising to see her almost submitted with a “facebar” (pictured left).

I am beginning to see more and more that you can’t defend a rear naked choke with your face. The force of the crank and the face crush can be just as effective as the clean under-the-chin choke. I couldn’t help but think that Ronda instinctually was not worried about this choke because she wasn’t used to it in judo (where any choke across the face is illegal).

I think Ronda Rousey is the Royce Gracie of women’s MMA. She is paving the way in a sport where technical brutality is the name of the game. It’s tough to do for a woman, because our culture doesn’t seem to like to watch women bloodying each other. Conveniently, Ronda can finish her opponents cleanly and lady-like by breaking their arm. I look forward to seeing her develop in MMA, but I’ll still be that bitter old man who wishes she competed in judo at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and bring home the gold at both.

Kneebar from Back Control

The other interesting submission was by Kenny Robertson over Brock Jardine in the first round of their welterweight fight. He caught kneebar from top of back control:

kenny-robertson-kneebars-brock-jardine-ufc-157lex-josh-vogel-ufc-157-kneebar-from-turtleI was skeptical and thought that this was just a trick that couldn’t work on a resisting opponent who  knew this submission was coming. But a dear friend of mine offered to demonstrate (pictured left). That’s Josh of (Angela and Josh fame). Speaking of which thanks to them for having us over and making delicious food.

It was a bit surreal to have a black belt kneebar me from back control while wearing jeans and t-shirt. It was like a reminder that this grappling stuff is real and even a seemingly crazy submission might be an effective technique for outside the confines of the sport of jiu jitsu. There was tons of pressure on the spine and tons of tension in the hamstring.

For anyone reading this who is not aware of jiu jitsu, this is the kind of positions that are involved in the sport. Taken out of context, this will probably ruin my eventual bid for president, and increase my mom’s insistence that I find a nice Jewish girl to marry.

0 thoughts on “UFC Submissions: Armbar, Kneebar, and Facebar

  1. Alan

    So Hadaka-jime is actually illegal?? I would have thought it would be disregarded as impractical, given how hard it is to sink in the RNC in a gi with such a short time period for ne-waza, rather than outlawing the technique. I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the International Freestyle Judo Alliance’s outlook on the art.

    1. Lex Post author

      Rear naked choke is perfectly legal in judo as far as I know. It’s just that your arm can’t go across your opponent’s face. So the “crushing” variation is not allowed.

  2. zegrapplez

    to quote Royce Gracie at a seminar I attended, “tucking your chin is not a defense to a choke”.

    And outside the confines of Judo, or sport, this is definitely the case. the neck crank is a real and very difficult thing to address, even moreso without MMA gloves to grab.

    1. Lex Post author

      Yes, I agree completely. While grappling is a good approximation of combat, it’s really missing some of the most effective techniques in a sense that we can’t practice them at 100% in training.


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