At UFC 172 we got three consecutive guillotine choke finishes. The first was from Joseph Benavidez choking out Tim Elliot in the main event of the FS1 prelims. That was followed up by the surprising one from Max Holloway over Andre Fili. Then came Jim Miller’s technical one over Yancy Medeiros.
They all three were impressive in their own ways but there can be only one.
It is never surprising to see a Team Alpha Male member win by a guillotine choke. As a team they might be the best in MMA at applying it. There have been some good ones in the past from them including Benavidez’s over Wagnney Fabiano and Miguel Torres in the WEC.
This was the best one of his career.
It was only the second time that Elliot had lost via a submission. The other came almost five years ago in just his second professional fight.
Elliot started strong in this fight and had Benavidez in serious trouble on the ground in the early moments of the fight. His unorthodox style and movement got him in for a quick takedown after absorbing some punishment in the standup.
He quickly got Benavidez’s back and put him in a crucifix forcing Benavidez to scramble. They ended up with Elliot in his guard. They exchanged blows as Benavidez was working for a submission attempt and striking from the bottom. They scrambled and ended up back on their feet.
Again, Benavidez was winning the striking when Elliot scored another quick takedown and started to take the back.
Instead Benavidez scrambled and spun around. He ended up on top and had his right arm wrapped around Elliot’s neck.
Elliot defended it at first but Benavidez kept ahold of the neck as he passed into better positions until he found himself in the mount with the Guillotine locked in. He had the choke secured around the neck and Elliot’s arms pinned to his side.
This forced the first ever foot tap as Elliot was unable to do so verbally or use his arms either. It was good enough to earn Benavidez a performance of the night bonus.
The next one kicked off the PPV as Holloway got his first submission win. It was also surprising that it came against Team Alpha Male member Andre Fili.
So far in his career Holloway has used his grappling skills defensively and was comfortable striking with his opponents. This was his eighth fight in the UFC and he is 0-1 on takedown attempts in that time. He is a solid striker but struggled against Conor McGregor in dropping a UD to him.
In this fight, Fili got the better of the striking in the first round almost doubling him 32 to 18 in total and 31 and 17 in significant strikes. The second saw Holloway reverse that 22 to 8 in total strikes and 18 to 8 in significant ones.
Going into the third the fight was even and Holloway was getting the better on the striking in the round.
With a little over two minutes left in the round Fili ducked under a right hand and went for a takedown. Holloway sprawled and went for a Guillotine of his own. As he worked for it Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg expounded on the Team Alpha Male’s expertise in the art of the guillotine choke.
Fili showing that he did know a little about defending the choke fought it off and got back to his feet. He then drove Holloway backwards into the cage. Holloway was able to reverse position. He landed a couple of punched, then switched to elbows and then back to punches as they broke apart and he pursued Fili.
Holloway landed 12 to 13 unanswered strikes in that flurry forcing Fili to go for a takedown out of desperation. Again Holloway defended with a headlock and turned it into another Guillotine attempt.
This time it was tight and he controlled Fili’s body and arms with his legs forcing him to tap quickly.
It was the most impressive win of his UFC career and it showed he was evolving as a fighter turning into a true mixed martial artist. He is now 5-3 in the UFC at only 22 years old and is on a two fight win streak. You could see a rematch of this one in the future and possibly as a number one contender fight.
The third Guillotine came in the Miller and Medeiros fight. Miller was suppose to fight Bobby Green who got hurt and Medeiros was scheduled to fight the debuting Joe Ellenberger. Instead he stepped up on short notice to take on Miller.
This one was all about the suddenness of it.
They were feeling each other out in the first part of the fight with each one throwing mostly single strikes. Miller started to mix in some combinations and then caught Medeiros with a clean left hand to the middle of the body. It hurt him and Miller went left right to the head and left to the body and pressed Medeiros against the cage.
They battled in the clinch for a few seconds when Miller attempted a trip. As they scrambled Miller quickly seized the guillotine and locked it in.
Medeiros fought it off for almost thirty seconds before losing consciousness due to his refusal to tap to the guillotine choke.
They were all three sweet submissions coming consecutively on the card.
Miller’s was the most sudden and quickest of the three to be locked in and it lasted the longest as Medeiros fought it hard until he literally could not.
Holloway’s showed the evolution of a talented young striker who looks poised to move into the top fifteen with another impressive win.
It has to go to Benavidez though. His came against a talented grappler in Elliott who had not lost via submission in almost five years. It was also impressive in its dominance as it force Elliott to tap with his feet for the first time in UFC history.