Unique submissions highlighted 2017, but which was most impressive?

Although submissions happened at a slightly lessened rate statistically at the top of the sport, there were plenty of awesome finishes in 2017 that stemmed from memorable bits of grappling.

There were a number of first to take place in the UFC specifically over the past 12 months, and some marquee bouts ended in submissions, as well.

With 2017 about to come to a close, everyone is debating which finish most deserves “Submission of the Year” honors. MMAjunkie has been tracking the best through monthly awards, and below are the winners voted on by our staff as well as readers.

(Of course, we know there still is time to add to this list with year-end events around the corner, including UFC 219 this week. But before that, vote in our poll at the bottom of the story for your favorite submission so far.)

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Aleksei Oleinik def. Viktor Pesta at UFC Fight Night 103 in January

Aleksei Oleinik became the first fighter in UFC history to finish a bout with a rare Ezekiel choke when he tapped a visibly stunned Viktor Pesta in the first round.

James Vick def. Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 104 in February

James Vick wanted a bounce-back fight after the first official loss of his pro career. He got one in a big way at the expense of Abel Trujillo, scoring a slick D’Arce choke.

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Iuri Alcantara def. Luke Sanders at UFC 209 in March

Iuri Alcantara staged one of the greatest statistical comebacks in UFC history when he rallied from multiple near-stoppages and a 107 strike differential to submit the previously unbeaten Luke Sanders with a kneebar.

Ovince Saint Preux def. Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Fight Night 108 in April

Former interim UFC light heavyweight title challenger Ovince Saint Preux found a trademark finisher in the form of a submission rarely seen executed in MMA. For the second time in his UFC career, Saint Preux won with a Von Flue choke when he tapped Marcos Rogerio de Lima.

Alexis Dufresne def. Marloes Coenen at Bellator 155 in May

In what was unquestionably the biggest win of her career, grappling specialist Alexis Dufresne picked up a shocking first-round triangle choke finish of 7-1 favorite Marloes Coenen in her Bellator debut.

Zach Freeman def. Aaron Pico at Bellator NYC in June

The long-awaited debut of MMA super-prospect Aaron Pico went horribly awry when he was hurt with a huge punch and then submitted by Zach Freeman’s D’Arce choke all within the span of 24 stunning seconds.

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Marlon Vera def. Brian Kelleher at UFC on FOX 25 in July

After picking up a surprising and quick submission win in his UFC debut earlier this year, Brian Kelleher experienced the other side of the coin when he tapped out to an armbar early in the first frame of his fight with Marlon Vera.

Fernando Gonzalez def. Brennan Ward at Bellator 182 in August

Fernando Gonzalez continued to rebound from his lone Bellator loss, which occurred in 2016, when he rallied to submit Brennan Ward with a slick guillotine choke in the third round of their catchweight bout.

Ovince Saint Preux def. Yushin Okami at UFC Fight Night 117 in September

Saint Preux once again pulled off his signature submission when he defeated short-notice opponent Yushin Okami with his specialty Von Flue choke for the third time in his octagon career.

Demetrious Johnson def. Ray Borg at UFC 216 in October

Demetrious Johnson’s long journey toward UFC championship history reached its conclusion with his most memorable octagon moment to date when he scored a spectacular fifth-round armbar submission of Ray Borg.

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Georges St-Pierre def. Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in November

Georges St-Pierre promised to make history against Michael Bisping, and he delivered when a third-round rear-naked choke made him just the fourth fighter in UFC history to win belts in two weight classes.

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Brett Johns def. Joe Soto at TUF 26 Finale in December

Welsh bantamweight Brett Johns kept his perfect record intact, using just 30 seconds to tap out Joe Soto with just the second calf slicer submission finish in UFC history.

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Brian Ortega def. Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 123 in December

The book on Brian Ortega is if he gets your neck, the fight is pretty much game over. Cub Swanson found that out the hard way, succumbing to a second-round guillotine choke against the unbeaten featherweight prospect.

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