MMA Junkie’s Submission of the Month for November: Zhang Weili’s title-winning choke

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie looks at the best submissions from November 2022: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMA Junkie’s Submission of the Month award for November.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.


Nominee: Grant Dawson def. Mark Madsen at UFC Fight Night 214

After Mark Madsen (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) clipped him early in the first round of their lightweight bout, [autotag]Grant Dawson[/autotag] (19-1-1 MMA, 7-0-1 UFC) rallied to control the Olympian on the ground for the remainder of the frame. In the second, it was more smothering grappling from Dawson, who outwrestled Madsen at every turn.

In the final round, Dawson continued his offensive output and pressure, eventually taking Madsen’s back on the ground. He then slipped an arm under the neck and clamped on a rear-naked choke to force a tap just over two minutes in.

Nominee: Neil Magny def. Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 214

[autotag]Neil Magny[/autotag] (27-10 MMA, 20-8 UFC) has sole possession of the all-time welterweight wins record after defeating Daniel Rodriguez (17-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in their welterweight clash.

Magny showed his trademark grit and durability en route to the upset of Rodriguez by third-round D’Arce choke submission. With the win, Magny breaks out of a tie with UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre for most wins at 170 pounds in company history.

Nominee: Erin Blanchfield def. Molly McCann at UFC 281

Molly McCann (13-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) entered Madison Square Garden with an ovation that made it seem like she was New York’s child – not [autotag]Erin Blanchfield[/autotag] (10-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC).

In a highly-anticipated showdown, Blanchfield, despite being from New Jersey, ran right through the boos and McCann for a kimura submission win less than four minutes into the women’s flyweight contest.

Nominee: Dustin Poirier def. Michael Chandler at UFC 281

[autotag]Dustin Poirier[/autotag] (29-7 MMA, 21-6 UFC) and Michael Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) promised to be one of the best fights of the year, and it certainly met, and perhaps even exceeded expectations.

Both lightweights have a big reputation for being exciting, all-action fighters. After a wild war that stretched into the final round, fans were treated to an instant classic which concluded with former interim lightweight champ Poirier winning by rear-naked choke submission.

Nominee: Zhang Weili def. Carla Esparza at UFC 281

[autotag]Zhang Weili[/autotag] (23-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) achieved the feat of becoming strawweight champion for a second time when she dethroned Carla Esparza (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) of the belt in dominant fashion.

After dropping the strap in April 2021, Weili climbed back to the top of the mountain with a second-round submission win over Esparza that came by modified rear-naked choke after a largely one-sided affair for the Chinese fighter.

The winner

The winner: Zhang Weili

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Weili is champion once again, and she earned the title back in unusual.

With a modified arm-trapping rear-naked choke, Weili locked in a rear-naked choke and tapped Esparza at 1:05 of Round 2.

In reverse-homer fashion, the crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York adored themself to Weili and booed Esparza, who perhaps antagonistically chose “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” as her walkout song.

The first round was closely contested with back-and-forth scrambles. Esparza had her moments, but Weili appeared to land the more significant strikes.

In Round 2, Esparza shot for a takedown. She got it – sort of. Weili landed on the bottom, but eventually snatched Esparza’s back in a scramble. Weili trapped Esparza’s left arm with both of her legs. There was brief hand-fighting before Weili eventually locked in the choke.

Weili becomes UFC women’s strawweight champion for the second time and extends her winning streak to two, also including a knockout of Joanna Jedrzejczyk in June. She moves to 2-1 in UFC title challenges and is the only Chinese champion in promotion history. Her only UFC losses have come against Rose Namajunas.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie