Anyone with more than an hour of BJJ practice knows that the Americana is the quintessential big-man submission finish so it should come as no surprise that it’s never been seen in the UFC a lighter division than Middleweight. In fact, other than Jon Jones and Nick Catone, this particular submission has never been seen outside of the Heavyweight or Openweight divisions back in the early beginnings of the UFC.
Jon Jones used the Americana to finish Vitor Belfort back at UFC 152 in 2012 and Nick Catone used it to similar effect when fighting against Derek Downey at UFC Fight Night 17 in 2009. Other than those two fights, you’d have to go all the way back to the 20th Century incarnation of the UFC when Mike Van Arsdale submitted Joe Pardo at UFC 17 in 1998. The fact that the Americana was absent from UFC competition for more than ten years is a strong indication of just how far MMA grappling skill has come over that time.
Like most submissions, the Americana first made an appearance in the very early days of the UFC. This was at only the second UFC event, when Frank Hamaker defeated Thaddeus Luster in the opening round of the tournament that would eventually see Royce Gracie crowned king again. Interestingly, both Hamaker and Luster would never fight in professional MMA again as Hamaker withdrew from the tournament due to injury and neither man returned for any future editions.
To learn how to finish the Americana from Side Control, click here to learn from UK Professional MMA fighter Ashleigh Grimshaw.