- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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The second half of 2013 was an amazing six months in mixed martial arts -- but not amazing enough to produce a better submission than Josh Burkman’s guillotine over Jon Fitch at World Series of Fighting 3 on June 14.
In one of the most talked-about finishes of the year, Burkman choked Fitch out from half-guard and then rolled him over and stood up to celebrate before referee Steve Mazzagatti had even considered waving the bout off.
The sequence of the finish was impressive, made even more so by Fitch’s reputation as a virtually “unchokable” fighter. The speed at which it happened though, which took even the referee by surprise, made it so unique.
“For me, I just wanted to let everyone know the fight was over because I knew that nobody knew yet,” said Burkman, speaking to ESPN.com later that month.
“I was glad the referee didn’t step in and I was able to get up and celebrate the way I wanted to.”
Unfortunately, Burkman (26-10) couldn’t keep that momentum through the end of the year. The 33-year-old suffered a submission loss to Steve Carl for the WSOF welterweight title four months later in Coral Gables, Fla.
Still, 2013 provided Burkmann what he refers to as, “the highlight of my career,” -- which dates back to February 2003 and encompasses close to 40 professional fights.
Like the Burkman-Fitch finish, this one happened so quickly, most fans inside the arena had no idea what they just saw. Just the hometown kid Pettis jumping on the cage while a deflated Henderson walked away. Ummm … yeah! I think?
Submissions of the year should be fun to watch, and that’s what this was: the athletic Brazilian with amazing hair, taking the back of High on a scramble and securing the armbar, then the triangle choke when his prey tried to sneak out the back.
A nifty, not-even-sure-what-to-call-this finish by Robertson won “Submission of the night” honors on Feb. 23 -- no small task considering Ronda Rousey was on the card.
No. 5: Ronda Rousey Sub3 via armbar Miesha Tate -- UFC 168 (Dec. 28)
The latest finish of Rousey’s career might have also been the most impressive. Outgrappling Rousey just might be impossible.