What is a north-south choke? Japan's Olympic medalist stuns Bellator with rare submission finish in debut fight

Bellator Dublin saw a rare submission finish in Shinobu Ota
Bellator Dublin saw a rare submission finish in Shinobu Ota's (inset) debut fight. [Image courtesy: @bellatormma and @shinobu_ota_mma on Instagram]

Bellator's Dublin event saw a surprising turn of events when Olympic medalist Shinobu Ota secured a first-round victory using a rarely seen submission maneuver - the north-south choke.

Originally scheduled to face Brian Moore, Ota stepped in as a late replacement due to Moore's injury. His opponent, Roger Blanque, also had a last-minute entry after the initial opponent, Francesco Nuzzi, withdrew.

Despite the short-notice changes, the fight unfolded quickly in Ota's favor. Within the first two minutes of the first round, Ota locked in a north-south choke on Blanque, forcing a tap out at the 2:18 mark.

Check out Shinobu Ota's north-south choke below:

While the north-south choke isn't unheard of in MMA, it's a less common submission compared to rear-naked chokes or armbars. Ota's dominant performance and unique finishing move have grabbed the attention of fight fans.

What is a north-south choke?

The north-south choke is an air choke executed from a specific grappling position where the attacker sits chest-to-chest with their opponent lying flat on their back. This choke constricts the opponent's breathing by squeezing the carotid artery, similar to a D'arce choke but applied from the opposite direction.

The technique involves wrapping one arm around the opponent's neck and using the attacker's ribs to trap the opponent's head. The attacker then clasps their hands together in a Gable grip and leans back, applying pressure to restrict airflow.


While not as widely used as other chokes, the north-south choke can be a highly effective submission when applied correctly. Ota's victory adds him to the list of notable fighters who have successfully utilized this technique, including names like Jeff Monson, Rani Yahya, and even BJJ legend Marcelo Garcia.

Ota's impressive debut not only earned him a win but also showcased his diverse skillset. His background in Greco-Roman wrestling seamlessly translated to MMA, allowing him to control the fight on the ground and capitalize on the opportunity to secure a unique submission.

This victory extends Ota's winning streak to three fights and significantly boosts his profile within the Bellator bantamweight division.

Quick Links

Edited by Tejas Rathi
App download animated image Get the free App now