Before This Weekend, There Was Only One Suloev Stretch Kneebar In UFC History...Now, There Are Three

Before this weekend, only one fighter had ever successfully pulled off the Suloev Stretch Kneebar – or the rear naked kneebar – in the history of the UFC. Obviously, that makes it one of the more rare submissions in all of mixed martial arts, and due to the complexity of the move and almost awkward positioning needed to grab it (having back mount on your opponent and reaching for his leg), it’s barely even been attempted. Here’s a breakdown of how it’s executed:

Kenny Robertson submitted Brock Jardine with one at UFC 157, the first card to ever feature a women’s fight in the UFC (Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship), and nobody’s come close since…until this Saturday night.

On UFC 228’s prelims, Aljamain Sterling mounted Cody Stamann’s back, grabbed an odd full-nelson type hold for a bit, and then as soon as Stamann postured up, Aljo reached back, snatched his left leg, and completely blew out his opponent’s knee to earn a HUGE victory. Joe Rogan explained afterwards on commentary that this particular version of the kneebar, since Stamann fell to his side, wasn’t inflicting pain onto his hamstrings like a regular Suloev Stretch “banana split”, it was actually going against the knee’s side joint, which is much worse for the lateral collateral ligament. Sooooooooo, Cody Stamann’s probably gonna be on the shelf for a bit.

And then on the main card of UFC 228, Featherweight prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov proved why everybody’s attention is turning to him as the next serious threat to the division when he submitted Brandon Davis in the second round with the more traditional “banana split” version of the Suloev Stretch. This one shouldn’t keep Davis out of action for as long as the side-joint inflicted one that Aljo hit, but man, this just doesn’t look fun…

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Quick request to anyone that’s been thinkin’ bout kicking my ass at some point in this world…just don’t get on my back and pull my foot to my face. My hamstrings are bad enough getting out of the bed every morning. You hit a banana split on ‘em and they’re disintegrating as quickly as a 20-year-old vending machine piece of baseball card bubble gum. No thanks at all.

Cormier’s reaction to the second kneebar of the night was fantastic, and I did think this was a pretty incredible stat, though – having two in one night after having one in almost twenty-five years – so I figured I’d share it with ya. That’s MMA I guess!