Learn About The Arm Bar Submission – Facts and Statistics

First Appearence in UFC : UFC 2

March 11 1994

The Arm Bar Submission is a classic submission that will forever be associated with almost all well rounded grappling arts whether it’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Catch Wrestling, Sambo or any other. The Arm Bar Submission move is a joint lock applied to the arm where the pressure is felt at the elbow as the leverage applied creates a huge force on the elbow joint and forces it to hyper extend.

The Arm Bar Submission has consistently had a place in the Top 10 Submissions list for the past 25 years. It ranks 3rd in the all time UFC submission list behind the Rear Naked Choke and the Guillotine Choke.

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Here are the total fights finished in the UFC by Arm Bar, the overall fight finishing percentage for the Arm Bar and finally the finishing ratio.

Total Finishes


Finishing %


Finishing Ratio

1 in 33

The Arm Bar is one of only three submissions that have been used over 100 times to finish a fight in the UFC. It has a fight finishing percentage of just over 3% and a fight finishing ratio of 1:32 – this means that you’ll see an Arm Bar used to finish a fight once every 32 fights.

The next graph shows us how the Arm Bar compares to the other submissions in the top 10.


So around 15% of all the submission finishes in the UFC can be attributed to the Arm Bar, that’s around 1 in 7. 

Our next graph shows the total finishes achieved by the Arm Bar in the UFC Year on Year

Total Finishes Via Arm Bar In The UFC Year on Year

In the modern era of MMA (2005 onwards) the Arm Bar has been a consistently high finisher. Aside from a couple of down years in 2009 and 2011 there’s usually around 10 Arm Bars in the UFC every year.  

The next graph shows how this has accumulated as a total over time. This may not seem particularly relevant at first glance but it’s useful to tell when the submission has accelerated, decelerated of plateaued.

Accumulative Total Finishes Via Arm Bar In The UFC Year on Year

This shows how the Arm Bar has a had a very steady and consistent growth pattern over the years, it doesn’t accelerate with anywhere near the same pace as  the Rear Naked Choke but it’s pretty steady.

So let’s take a look at how this compares to other submissions in the top 10…

Accumulative Total Finishes For Top 10 Submissions In The UFC Year on Year

Again you can see how the Arm Bar has a consistent upward trend but it’s closest rival the Guillotine Choke has done better in the modern era. 2014 was the year in which the Guillotine Choke finally stole the number 2 spot from the Arm Bar and has continued to open a gap against it ever since.

Now we’ll shift away from volume to look at percentages, we’re going to examine this in a few different ways. Firstly we’ll look at the percentage of fights that get finished by the Arm Bar in the UFC year on year.


Fight Finishing Percentage For Arm Bar In The UFC Year on Year

Like most submissions the Arm Bar is on a slight downward trend in the last few years, this reflects the overall decline of submission finishes in the UFC. The Arm had its most prolific stretch in the modern era between 2006-2008 when it was consistently hitting the 5% mark.

The next graph is a little more difficult to understand but it’s one of the most important. This graph shows us how the total percentage of submissions that can be attributed to the Arm Bar cumulatively throughout the years. So for any given year the percentage value shown is for that year and all preceding years combined.

Accumulative Percentage Of Submissions Via Arm Bar In The UFC Year on Year

Again we can see that the Arm Bar is on a general downward trend, partly this is because of the dominance of the Rear Naked Choke, as it continues to steal percentage points from other submissions it’s hard for anything else to look like it is doing well. So let’s take a look at it against the other submissions in the top 5 and see how it’s doing comparatively. 

Accumulative Percentage Of Submission Finishes For Top 5 In The UFC

It’s clear with this view that the Rear Naked Choke is making most other submissions look bad but if you look at the Arm through the last few years it’s not actually performing any worse than most of its rivals and it has a similar trend to the Guillotine Choke and the Triangle Choke, although the Arm Triangle is definitely outperforming them all in terms of recent trend.

In conclusion, the Arm Bar is still a stable and high performing submission in high level Mixed Martial Arts competition, the Guillotine Choke may have stolen the number 2 slot in 2014 and opened a bit of a gap but in 2017 the Arm Bar was only 1 behind it in overall finishes and had a very strong year. The Arm Bar is definitely still a force to be reckoned with in high level Mixed Martial Arts.

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