UFC 188 will be primarily remembered for the war between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez, which ultimately ended in Werdum sinking in a beautiful guillotine choke and becoming the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion. That was one of a remarkable 3 finishes in the event via guillotine – the others by Efrain Escudero over Drew Dober and Patrick Williams over Alejandro Perez. Interestingly, both of those chokes took less than a minute, which had not happened since way back in UFC 12. This has led to UFC 188 being dubbed “The Night of the Guillotine”. In light of that, we’ll take a look at some of the best guillotines in MMA history.
15.) Mike Swick vs Steve Vigneault – UFC 58
It’s not just Swick’s hands that live up to his nickname “Quick”. In this fight, he locked in a guillotine choke in the blink of an eye and from there, Vigneault had no escape. This was our introduction to the “Swickotine” and has to be included in this list.
14.) Joe Stevenson vs Gleison Tibau – UFC 86
Very fondly remembered for his career in the UFC, the winner of TUF 2 Joe “Daddy” Stevenson was coming off a submission loss to BJ Penn in one of the bloodiest and most iconic matches in UFC history. Few expected him to submit BJJ black belt, but when Tibau shot for a takedown, Stevenson did just that with a crushing choke, handing Tibau his first submission loss.
13.) Martin Kampmann vs Thiago Alves – UFC on FX 2
This might be a shock inclusion to some, but the circumstances surrounding the submission make it worthy of a spot in my opinion. For the whole fight, Alves controlled the action and was less than a minute away from earning a dominant decision victory. He hurt Kampmann and backed him into the cage. In an attempt to ensure victory, he shot for a takedown, only to be caught by Kampmann who used the choke to roll Alves over and force him to tap. To snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in that manner was incredible and makes the choke that much more impressive.
12.) C.B Dollaway vs Joe Doerksen – UFC 119
While his most famous submission is the Peruvian necktie against Jesse Taylor, the guillotine that “The Doberman” used to earn submission of the night honours at UFC 119 was a display of how good his submission grappling truly is. When he first went for the choke, it was arm-in and CB knew it would be tough to finish, especially against a fighter like Doerksen. In the ensuing scramble, he let go of the choke before latching on to a straight guillotine. Doerksen rolled and scrambled in a desperate attempt to free himself, but Dolloway matched him and ultimately, the tap came.
11.) Jake Shields vs Robbie Lawler – Strikeforce: Lawler vs Shields
In the midst of a near 7 year unbeaten run, submission specialist Jake Shields met Robbie Lawler in a number one contender bout for the Strikeforce middleweight title. The fight lasted just over 2 minutes, with most of it playing out as a strikering battle. When Lawler pushed Shields towards the cage, Shields took his chance and secured the guillotine and pulling guard. Lawler stood up in an attempt to relieve the pressure, but it was to no avail and Shields emerged victorious.
10.) Scott Jorgensen vs Chad George – WEC 47
To open the top 10, we take a look back to the days of WEC. Scott Jorgensen established himself as a popular fighter while competing for the promotion and this finish in particular sticks in the memory. The fight itself barely lasted 30 seconds, but when Jorgensen secured the standing choke with George backed against the cage, he lifted his opponent off his feet by his neck, leaving him dangling and with no other option than to tap.
9.) Josh Burkman vs Jon Fitch – WSOF 3
The battle of two former UFC fighters with a shot at the inaugural WSOF welterweight title at stake. Fitch was the heavy favourite, and had an infamy for being “unchokeable”. Burkman hadn’t read the script however, and after dropping Fitch, he took hold of the neck and began to squeeze, dropping to his back, and putting Fitch to sleep. However, referee Steve Mazzagatti didn’t notice Fitch had lost consciousness, leaving Burkman to release the hold and leave his limp opponent prone on the canvas. A walkaway guillotine choke of the “unchokeable”? I don’t think Burkman’s place here can be argued against.
8.) Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping – UFC Fight Night 55
In what became a grudge match, Luke Rockhold was looking to make a statement that he was very much in the hunt for a middleweight title shot against the always tough Michael Bisping. After opening a cut on his opponent in the first round, Rockhold dropped Bisping with a head kick and looked for the TKO finish. Bisping attempted to get back to his feet but left his neck exposed which Rockhold was only too happy to jump on, pulling guard before sweeping into mount and finishing the choke one-handed.
7.) Cody McKenzie vs Aaron Wilkinson – The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale
You knew the McKenzietine was going to make an appearance on this list, right? Before his appearance on TUF 12, McKenzie made a name for himself as a guillotine specialist, having 9 successive first round wins using the submission. His time in the house yielded another two, but as these are deemed exhibition bouts, they don’t appear on his record. Facing Aaron Wilkinson at the finale, the question was: Can Wilkinson stop the McKenzietine? We had our answer after just two minutes in which Wilkinson fought off a couple of guillotine attempts, but he was powerless to stop Cody from eventually performing his trademark submission.
6.) Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Tim Sylvia – UFC 81
The legendary “Minotauro” Noguiera is one of the best heavyweights of all time, particularly with respect to his grappling credentials. The significance of this fight was huge, with Nogueira aiming to become the first man to have won world titles in the UFC and PRIDE. It took until the third round, but when Nogueira had Sylvia in his half guard, he was thinking of nothing but getting the finish. He hit a textbook half guard sweep and from there Sylvia was in a world of trouble. Nogueira passed to side control almost immediately and when Sylvia spun to try to get to his feet, “Minotauro” showed why his ground game was so feared, guillotining his way into the history books.
5.) Urijah Faber vs Dominick Cruz – WEC 26
When you think of the guillotine, Team Alpha Male automatically comes to mind. And when you think of Team Alpha Male, the first name that follows is normally Urijah Faber. Faber is a choke master and he demonstrated just that at WEC 26 against the previously unbeaten Dominick Cruz. When Cruz shot for a takedown, Faber went straight for the choke but ended up on his back in Cruz’s side control. The majority of fighters would release the neck at that point, but Urijah knew he could finish it if he could improve his position. By slipping his leg back under his opponent, he regained a better position and skilfully swept into mount. Much like the Rockhold submission earlier, Faber finished it with one arm, arching his body backwards to increase the pressure. All in all, a perfect guillotine to open the top 5.
4.) Fabricio Werdum vs Cain Velasquez – UFC 188
Some will no doubt dispute this being so far up the list, but the fact that this completed the revival of Fabricio Werdum from a man who was released from the UFC in 2008, to becoming the UFC champion at the age of 37 almost 7 years later means it more than merits a place here. After taking control of the stand up in round two, Velasquez was told by his corner that he needed to take Werdum down, such was the confidence in his own grappling ability. It was always a risk going to ground with the man who submitted Fedor Emelianenko and “Minotauro” Nogueira, however, and Werdum sinched in an arm-in guillotine. The smile across his face told the story and a man of his experience knew the champion would have to tap or go to sleep. Werdum proved why he is the greatest grappler in heavyweight history and became the UFC champion.
3.) Joseph Benavidez vs Tim Elliott – UFC 172
Another member of Team Alpha Male, the man with the nickname “Joe Jitsu” belongs in any discussion such as this, but his win over Tim Elliott is certainly the most spectacular of his 5 wins by guillotine. From the moment the fight hit the mat, Benavidez was hunting for Elliott’s neck and once he had moved to the mount, it was only a matter of time and, such was the position Benavidez had put him in, Elliott had to use his feet to tap out. The move became known as the “Joa Constrictor” and was a serious candidate for submission of the year in 2014.
2.) Jon Jones vs Lyoto Machida – UFC 140
I was so close to making this number one on the list and easily could have done so. Machida is a BJJ black belt and had never been submitted in his MMA career. He was certainly the biggest test of the career of Jones and the fight left us with one of the most memorable images in MMA history. For the first round and the start of the second, Machida had Jones in genuine trouble. He was winning the bout and Jones needed to do something to turn the tide. That was to occur when he took Machida down and landed a huge elbow, opening up “The Dragon”. The fight returned to the feet with Machida noticeably wobbled. Jones closed the distance, but Machida against the cage and went for the standing guillotine. The awkward angle and extreme pressure put Machida to sleep and when the fight was stopped, Jones released the hold, dropping Machida to the canvas in an unconscious heap. Jones had come through his toughest test yet with an unforgettable win.
1.) Dan Miller vs Dave Phillips – IFL: 2007
For my money, this is the most brutal guillotine of all time. Dan Miller has got one of the tightest chokes in history and has finished numerous fights in this way. Watching this submission, anyone could be excused for worrying for the safety of Phillips as Miller locked in the modified standing guillotine against the ropes and pulled downwards, contorting Phillips’s head and neck into such a position that it didn’t seem physically possible. New UFC Hall of Fame inductee Bas Rutten has described the guillotine as the tightest one he has ever seen – High praise from one of the all-time greats. While this win was not as significant or didn’t come in as high-profile a match as many of the ones previously mentioned, it is, in my opinion, deserving of the title of the best guillotine choke of all time.
Of course, as with any list such as this, there are no doubt people who will agree and those who will disagree with my choices. So if you think a different guillotine was more deserving of the number one spot, or indeed if your favourite was omitted from the list, then by all means comment or get in touch and tell us your opinions!
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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