5 Biggest Betting Upsets in UFC History

These unlikely triumphs prove that anything can happen at the highest levels of MMA.

1. Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey UFC 193

Possibly thanks to her unceremonious exit from the sport of mixed-martial-arts, it can be easy to forget just how dominant Ronda Rousey was in the UFC Octagon.

An Olympic background in Judo, combined with powerful, if slightly unrefined striking skills allowed Rousey to go on an unprecedented streak as the first UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.

So good was Rousey’s grappling, that many saw her showdown with Holly Holm at UFC 193 as little more than a warm-up bout prior to a proposed super fight with Cris Cyborg.

Holm, however, clearly did not get the memo.

After exposing some of the glaring holes in Rousey’s striking defence during the first round, Holm landed a picture-perfect head kick that immediately rendered the champion unconscious.

Although apparently, no one was more surprised than UFC commentator Joe Rogan, whose cage-side reaction pretty much summed up how we all felt that night.

2. Mariya Agapova vs Shana Dobson UFC Vegas 7

Though possibly not as well-known as some of the other upsets featured on this list, Shana Dobson’s second-round TKO victory over Mariya Agapova is the second-biggest upset in the history of the UFC based on pre-fight odds.

And, to be fair to the bookies, Dobson entered the fight with a less-than-stellar pro record of three wins and four losses. Now, with the greatest respect to Shana Dobson, that is a record you’d expect to see on a regional level show, not as a feature in the sport’s most prestigious promotion. Agapova meanwhile, had emerged victorious in nine of her ten professional bouts and was riding a three-fight win streak.

Despite the odds being quite literally stacked against her, Dobson managed to establish a dominant position in the second round before unleashing a barrage of punches and forcing the referee to stop the fight.

3. Matt Serra vs GSP UFC 69

Though probably better known these days as a coach of UFC stalwarts such as Aljamain Sterling, Chris Weidman, and Gian Villante, and for his role on Dana White: Looking for a Fight, Matt Serra forged a respectable career for himself in the cage during the early 2000s.

After going 4-4 in his first eight fights in the UFC, the BJJ specialist would take part in the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter, defying the odds to be crowned winner and, as a result, earned an unlikely shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship.

Serra faced seemingly insurmountable odds in his quest for UFC gold, as he was tasked with defeating Georges St-Pierre, who had been utterly dominant in his ascent up the UFC ranks.

However, fate was on Serra’s side when the two faced off at UFC 69, as he surprised everyone by rocking the young champion with a barrage of punches early in the fight before relentlessly pushing forward to get the finish.

Serra would drop the belt when the pair rematched at UFC 83, but for that one night at least, he was the king at 170lbs.

4. TJ Dillashaw vs Renan Barao UFC 173

With the benefit of hindsight, it may seem obvious that Renan Barao stood little chance against then-Team Alpha Male standout, and master of the semi-conscious single-leg, TJ Dillashaw.

But the MMA landscape is ever-changing, and in 2014 Dillashaw challenging Barao for the world title at 135lbs seemed like something akin to a blood sacrifice to please some sadistic fight god.

However, the adage speed kills is especially true in combat sports, and when the two met at UFC 173, Dillashaw utilised his dynamic striking skills to put an absolute clinic on the hapless Brazilian.

Barao’s toughness was on full display as he withstood the challenger’s furious onslaught for over 20 minutes but ultimately could not reach the final bell as the referee mercifully stopped the fight in the fifth round.

The Brazilian has never appeared to be the same fighter after the fight, but with more than 140 total strikes absorbed in that one fight it should come as no surprise.

5. Devonte Smith vs. Khama Worthy UFC 241

With the sheer number of ways that a fight can end in MMA, being able to have a full training camp to prepare for every aspect of your opponent’s game seems to be a crucial component for success in the sport.

Sometimes though, it seems to be better to just turn up at the last minute, go hell for leather, and hope for the best.

At least that is how most people saw Kharma Worthy’s path to victory when he stepped in on just four days notice to take on surging lightweight contender Devonte Smith at UFC 241. Worthy stunned the MMA world by immediately taking the fight to his heavily-favoured opponent, piling on the pressure before ending the fight in the very first round.

Though the event may be best remembered for Daniel Cormier cementing his place in the history books by winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship, Worthy’s unlikely heroics should not be overlooked.

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