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Top 10 Biggest Upsets In The UFC

Updated on March 10, 2016
5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Top 10 Biggest Upsets In The UFC

10. Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture (UFC 43)

Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell was 12 and 1 and -230 in his favor when he faced Randy “The Natural” Couture, a less impressive fighter with a 10 and 5 record, and odds of +170 against during this June 6th, 2003 Las Vegas, Nevada bout. The fight lasted two full rounds, with Couture taking charge and laying out Liddell, breaking his 2-fight losing streak. By Round 3, the older Couture was clearly ready to win and by around the 2 minute and 20 second mark, had pinned Liddell to the ground and unleashed a series of punches that would end the match. While Couture celebrated, the bloodied Liddell lay in disappointment over the ending of his 10-fight winning streak.

9. Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans (UFC 98)

As if aligned by fate, Evans and Machida were only paired after the original match, Frank Mir vs Brock Lesner, was canceled and Evans' original opponent, Quinton Jackson, was unable to fight due to medical injuries. Evans sought to hold onto his Lightweight title and his undefeated streak, but found himself on the receiving end of Machida's flurry of fists and kicks. Despite clever trash talk and calling Machida's hands pillows, Evans eventually fell near the 4 minute mark in the 2nd round. Though Machida was technically the favored fighter at -200 odds and Evans at +170, Evans loss of title was unexpected in the MMA circuit.

8. Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar (UFC 121)

At the time of this October 23rd fight in 2010, Brock Lesnar was a name to fear in the UFC. He was the current, Undisputed Heavyweight Champion, having defeated then Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin at UFC 116. Though Velasquez walked into the ring with an 8 win streak, Lesnar, who only had a 5 and 1 record, was favored between -130 and -170 odds compared to Vazquez' +150. Despite the odds against him, Velasquez made quick work of the slightly heavier Lesnar, with the favored fighter lasting only 4 minutes 12 seconds before a TKO call was made.

7. Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock (UFC 1)

It was the first time these two would square off against one another and it marked the very first event in mixed martial arts. After taking down Art Jimmerson with a mount submission, Gracie moved up to the semi-finals where he awaited Shamrock's victory against Patrick Smith. To put an end to UFC 1, Gracie humiliated Shamrock in a rear-naked choke, forcing the latter's submission. Shamrock's earlier involvement in professional MMA fights left many to assume he would make quick work of the slightly more novice Gracie. It was a thrilling end to the semi-finals and a great addition to UFC 1.

6. B.J Penn vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 46)

Six years prior to being upset by Frankie Edgar in UFC 112, BJ Penn was on the other side of the fence, doling out a beating to then champion Matt Hughes. Compared to Hughes, Penn was fairly new to the game, carrying a 6-1 and 1 record compared to his opponents extremely impressive 35 and 3 stats. Of course, Hughes was the favorite at -200 with Penn carrying +160 odds, but the odds didn't stop him. Penn took Hughes for a 4 minute 37 second ride before dropping the favored fighter into a rear-naked choke. Dead in the water and without defense, Hughes submitted to Penn.

5. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman (UFC 162)

It only took 2 rounds for the underdog, Weidman, to take down Silva, a fighter with a career record of 33 and 4 and undefeated in the UFC at the time of this 2013 bout. Predictions favored Silva to knockout Weidman, giving him -255 odds to his opponent's +195. At the time of the fight, Weidman was undefeated, but his 9 wins seemed puny compared to Silva's 33, but that didn't stop or slow down the American fighter. At the 1 minute 18 second mark of Round 2, the match was called, Weidman unexpectedly upsetting Silva and those that bet for him with an direct hit to Silva's face.

4. Maurício Rua vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC 113)

The two Brazilian fighters took to the ring on August 8th, 2010, Rua being pegged as the underdog wth Machida's odds at -180. It was a close match-up - the fighters were nearly identical in height and weight, and were within 2 inches of having the same reach. A year earlier, Rua lost his shot at the Championship at UFC 104 against Machida and this fight was his chance of redemption. Within the first round, by 3 minutes and 35 seconds in, Machida had dropped Rua with multiple take downs, but Rua constantly bounced back up, finally hitting his opponent with a hook to the temple. Machida went down and Rua took the opportunity to spring into action, laying into Machida until the champion was unconscious, creating one of UFC's biggest upsets in history.

3. Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn (UFC 112)

In April of 2010, with a record of 12 and 1, Frankie "The Answer" Edgar stepped into the ring to go against the 15-5 and 1, BJ "The Prodigy" Penn. At the fight's start, Edgar was considered the underdog with odds at +500, Penn carrying high favoritism at -750. With the Championship at stake, Penn and Edgar put up a strong fight. By the 5th round, both fighters were standing, and when the fight was called, it was all up to decision. The call was unanimous, and though Penn was expected to win and the match was close, Edgar was the one celebrating one of UFC's greatest upsets.

2. Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre (UFC 69)

As the two fighters entered the ring during UFC 69, it was clear that the taller Georges St-Pierre had a bit of an advantage over Serra. St-Pierre's extended reach and 13 and 1 record gave him favored odds of -800 while anyone betting on Serra was doing so at a risk +500. Few people expected the fight to go as it did, expecting St-Pierre to mop the floor with his opponent. The match was quick, but it wasn't St-Pierre that emerged the victor. The fight was called at 3 minutes and 25 seconds, a TKO in favor of the underdog after a fatal right hook behind the ear caused St-Pierre to lose his footing.

1. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm (UFC 193)

The odds were heavily against Holly Holm at +1250 versus Ronda Rousey's -2000. The 6-year younger Rousey was high on her 12 fight undefeated win streak and her apparent inability to even lose a round. What should have intimidated Holm only drove her to fight harder for the belt. Perhaps overconfident, Rousey attacked Holm aggressively, never landing a decisive hit during the first round while constantly getting countered by Holm. Round 1 went to Holm, who had left Rousey bloody, using her longer reach as a means to throw Rousey off. Round 2 went just as bad for Rousey with Holm connecting a fatal straight left followed by a kick to her opponent's neck. Rousey's ego and winning streak faced the biggest upset UFC of 2015, leaving fans everywhere in shock. Not only was this fight perhaps the biggest upset in UFC history, it created much needed hype for the female circuit, proving to fans that female fighters can be just as fierce and unpredictable as their male counterparts.

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    • Renson John profile imageAUTHOR

      Top Known and Unknown Facts 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for your suggestion.

    • revolutionbjj profile image

      Andrew Smith 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Good picks. You might also consider including Maurice Smith vs Mark Coleman (up until then, grapplers were pretty much always favored over strikers, no matter what the circumstances).


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