Josh Burkman’s incredible and somewhat controversial (MAZZAGATTI!!) walk-off submission of the nearly-unsubmittable Jon Fitch at WSOF 3 (video here) may be old news by this point, but it’s been keeping us up nights here at CagePotato ever since. Not because of how shocking or unpredictable it was, but because we couldn’t honestly recall the last time we saw a fighter act as judge, jury, executioner and medieval corpse disposer during his own fight.
The walk-off knockout, while equally entertaining and respectable, is a lot easier to come by based on its definition alone. The walk-off submission, however, is an entirely different beast, so let’s take a look back at eight classic examples of this phenomenon (in no particular order) to honor those who were actually able to pull it off. Enjoy.
Royce Gracie vs. Art Jimmerson – UFC 1
Ah yes, the very first walk-off submission in UFC History. In every sense of the word.
To recount the story of the very first UFC event would be a disservice to as learned an audience as you Taters, but suffice it to say, it was a clusterfuck. Sumo wrestlers getting their teeth kicked out by savateurs 1/3rd their size, future professional wrestlers breaking street fighters legs with whatever the hell “submissions” were supposed to be…it was a mess. But at the center of the chaos was a man with a modest goal: Proving that he was the best fighter (with the best fighting style) on the entire goddamned planet. That man was Royce Gracie, and his first step toward immortality came in the form of a guy wearing one boxing glove and some sick Nikes.
You know how the story goes, Gracie took Jimmerson down and mounted him almost immediately. Completely out of his element and likely believing that the man on top of him was about to rape his bellybutton, Jimmerson tapped. The tap was so baffling that neither Gracie nor the ref truly knew what had happened, but after a moment to clarify that yes, Jimmerson was getting far too old for this shit, Royce stood up and walked away, his first UFC victory secured. To this day, the referee involved has no idea what the f*ck went down that night.
Otherwise known as the walk-off submission that did not get Jon Jones some fans, Bones’ guillotine of Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 was a work of cold-blooded perfection. Having arguably lost the first round of his UFC career, Jones caught Lyoto coming in with a beautifully timed left hand late in the second. The light heavyweight kingpin then snatched up the choke and pressed Machida against the fence, utilizing the almighty power of the fulcrum to put the Brazilian out on his feet.
It was a finish made all the more impressive when you consider that “The Dragon” is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt himself who had never been submitted in his previous 19 contests. Yet Jones was able to choke him unconscious with what appeared to be minimal effort, then drop him to the canvas like a bag of piss-stained bed sheets. Not bad for a guy who claims that Jiu-Jitsu is his “weakness.”
Otherwise known as the most Diazian submission in the history of the brothers Diaz.
After securing the TUF 5 plaque by successfully disabling Manny Gamburyan‘s shoulder with a set of nunchucks backstage at the season finale (you didn’t know about that?), the younger Diaz passed his first two post-TUF tests with flying colors, successively submitting Junior Assuncao and Alvin Robinson. Diaz would meet his first true test, however, when he was booked against Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino at Fight Night 13.
As is often the case with a Diaz fight, birthday party, or family trip to Old Country Buffet, there was a preexisting beef that needed to be squashed here. You see, Pellegrino used to be a member of Team Renzo Gracie. Then he wasn’t. Therefore, traitor. It was a rivalry that, uh, rivaled such rivilous rivalries as Duke vs. UNC, Anthony vs. Roth, Zimmer vs. Martinez…you get the point. It was also a fight that Pellegrino was utterly dominating with top control and some vicious ground and pound in the first round. The fact that he was making “bitch ass lady sounds” whilst doing so did not take away from this fact.
But there’s an old 209 adage that, loosely translated, states, “It’s damn near impossible to finish a Stocktonian.” Or perhaps it goes, “It’s damn near impossible for a Stocktonian to finish High School.” In either case, a bloodied and bruised Diaz rallied in the second, and brilliantly countered a Pellegrino takedown by pushing off the fence and positioning his legs to set up a triangle choke in mid-air. And when a Diaz knows he has your number, the taunting begins. Although not necessarily a “walk-off” submission, the fact that Diaz was able to prematurely celebrate with both Stockton standby taunts (the muscle flex and the Heybuddy) is arguably just as badass.
See also: Diaz vs. Guillard
Shinya Aoki vs. Mizuto Hirota – K1 Dynamite!! Power of Courage 2009
Otherwise known as the “talk-off, walk-off” submission.
Speaking of two guys who absolutely hated each other, DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki was rather public about his beef with Sengoku champion Mizuto Hirota in the weeks leading up to their battle at Power of Courage 2009. He called the fight a “disgrace” to his family, pretended to not know who Hirota was, dressed like a schoolgirl; pretty standard stuff, really. Hirota returned fire by mocking Aoki’s fighting style, saying some particularly nasty things about his family, and calling him a “repulsive” person. So when these two clashed heads on New Year’s Eve, we expected that at least one of them would be kicking off 2010 in a hospital bed. As is usually the case, we were spot on.
Hirota never stood a chance, truth be told. Aoki secured a takedown within the opening seconds of the round, worked his way to mount, secured a police-style hammerlock and started cranking. To his credit, Aoki gave Hirota every chance in the world to tap, even warning Hirota what was coming at one point. As the man himself put it:
He was very disrespectful to me before the fight. When I had his arm, he had a chance to tap and he chose not to. I’m not going to give up the submission just because my opponent is too arrogant to not tap. So I broke his arm.
That’s right, a “talk-off” submission. Hirota refused to tap and Aoki obliged with a snap. Taking a page right out of the Diaz playbook, Aoki then proceeded to flip off his injured opponent and the attending audience before disappearing backstage. So technically, this was a “talk-off, flip-off, walk-off” submission.
On the “next page” of our tribute: An absolutely brutal IFL gem, a legend’s final triumph, and a future legend’s most shocking loss…