2018 Submission of the Year: Alexey Oleynik’s Ezekiel Choke Against Junior Albini

January 5, 2019

There was no shortage of submission finishes in 2018 worthy of recognition.

In the UFC’s final event of the year, UFC 232, Ryan Hall became the first fighter to ever submit BJ Penn in Penn’s 17-year fighting career. Steven Siler pulled off a Hail Mary triangle choke at PFL 1 in June against Magomed Idrisov in a fight he was badly losing.

Paul Craig secured a last-second submission win over Magomed Ankalaev at UFC Fight Night 127 in March narrowly escaping sure defeat. Those finishes were dramatic but one submission stood out among the rest.

Alexey Oleynik became the first fighter in history to win by Ezekiel choke in 2017 and repeated the feat against Junior Albini at UFC 224 in May. The two stood toe-to-toe to start the fight. Oleynik received a cut over his left eye in the exchanges. While the two clinched in the center of the octagon, Oleynik applied the choke standing and the two fell to the canvas. From the bottom, Oleynik tightened it down and forced Albini to tap out.

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Oleynik earned a Performance of the Night bonus for the win. He’s the only fighter in the promotion’s history to win by Ezekiel choke and has now done it twice. The rarity of the submission stands out as much as anything. Astonishingly, the Russian has pulled it off 11 times in his career.