Neck cranks are often seen as ‘dirty’ or impolite submissions, particularly in training, but there’s been plenty to pick from when looking at the best finishes in Bellator MMA history. While they might not be as appealing to see as a perfectly executed rear-naked choke, there’s something inherently visceral to seeing a fighter put his opponent in such a compromising position that he genuinely fears that his neck is going to buckle under the pressure. In fact, the very first example in the video compilation is the moment that won MMA Submission of the Year at the Jitsmagazine 2020 BJJ Awards.
Back at Bellator 253 in November, promotional hero A.J. McKee improved his MMA record to 17-0 as he locked up one of the most brutal neck cranks ever seen in the sport. While this submission was certainly one of the most impressive submission finishes of the young MMA fighter’s career, it was made even more impressive by the fact that he performed it on NCAA Division I champion and former Bellator Bantamweight world champion, Darrion Caldwell.
The next was a much more conventional attack from former Bellator Featherweight world champion Brent Primus, who locked up the short choke grip from the back, over his opponent’s face and cranked their neck to the side for the tap. This proved to be the most popular method of attacking the neck as Pedro Carvalho and Klayton Mai are also included her with similar finishes, while Neiman Gracie actually performed the same neck crank finish from the back against two different opponents.
The below video compilation of the best neck cranks in Bellator MMA history comes directly from the official YouTube channel of Bellator MMA: