For the first time ever the nominees for The JitsMagazine BJJ Awards are going to be made public, and here are the five submissions in contention for ‘Submission of the Year’ for 2023. There were thousands of professional grappling matches taking place across dozens of different rulesets throughout the year, and the majority of them end in submission finishes. Naturally there are plenty of fantastic finishes that don’t quite make it on to this list, but these 5 submissions are undeniably beautiful to behold.
Submission Of The Year 2023 Nominees
Brianna Ste-Marie v Vitoria Vieira – Wristlock
Brianna Ste-Marie was working her way through the lightweight division of the IBJJF World Championship 2023 and she’d gotten off to a good start by winning her first two matches. That put her into the quarter final and she met Vitoria Vieira to determine who would progress into the medal rounds. Ste-Marie found herself in Octopus guard during the match and had Vieira’s arm trapped against the mat, when she saw the opportunity to secure Submission of the Year for 2023. She took hold of Vieira’s hand while her arm was behind her back and started to crank on the wristlock, continually applying pressure until Vieira was eventually force to tap.
Craig Jones v Richie Martinez – Toehold
Craig Jones was leading B-Team Jiu-Jitsu at Quintet 4 and his team made it into the final against 10th Planet, where the first two matches ended in a draw. With only two matches left, Jones stepped on to the mats to face Richie Martinez in a rematch of a battle that had happened years before. Martinez elevated Jones and transitioned to single-leg x, but he didn’t get the opportunity to attack from the position because Jones reached underneath his own legs to lock up a toehold and force the tap. This was the pivotal moment that turned the tide in B-Team’s favor, and they went on to win both the match and the Quintet 4 event.
Pedro Maia v Elijah Dorsey – Collar Choke
Pedro Maia submitted Lucas Alcantara in the opening round of the IBJJF World Championship 2023, earning the right to meet Elijah Dorsey on the mats in the next match. Maia was on top and passing Dorsey’s guard at one point during the match when he decided to start setting up a collar choke at the same time. Dorsey reacted and fought his way to standing to defend the choke, but Maia kept his grips and followed him around the mat to finish it. Maia had the choke so tight that he put Dorsey to sleep and dropped him to the mat unconscious, earning his nomination for Submission of the Year 2023.
Mica Galvao v PJ Barch – Flying Armbar
Mica Galvao was the favorite to win the welterweight tournament at Who’s Number One 20: Night of Champions, but not many would have predicted just how impressive he would look in the process. He had already beaten Jacob Rodriguez in the opening round and the title was on the line in the final match against PJ Barch. The pair were reset after going out of bounds early on the match and Galvao leapt into a flying armbar almost immediately after they made contact again. Barch tried forward-rolling to escape but Galvao kept the position well and managed to secure the tap and the title as he did so.
Cole Abate v Atai Murzaev – Heel Hook
Cole Abate was representing Team Modolfo in the quarter final of the AIGA Champions League and this match against Atai Murzaev was his first chance to step on the mats at the event. Abate pulled off a picture-perfect transition at one point that ultimately led to him finishing the match and getting another win on the board for Team Modolfo. He started in reverse x guard and hit an entry to the saddle on the far leg, locking up the position really well to prevent Murzaev from escaping. Abate exposed the heel incredibly quickly and Murzaev tapped immediately to give him the win.