There’s Nothing Like a Longshot
Don’t fall into any sport of myths surrounding sports gambling. When it comes to any event, there is a chance a heavy favorite thought to be a sure thing goes crumbling to the ground. Especially with sports betting picks, the UFC is prone to its fair share of upsets.
Mixed Martial Arts is a crazy sport that covers many different disciplines of combat. At any time in any fight, an event can happen that can lead to things ending instantly. For several UFC fighters, a momentary lapse ended up with a mark in the loss column. Here’s a look at some of the largest betting underdogs to collect UFC victories.
Dobson Halts Prospect’s Momentum
Mariya Agapova, a 24-year-old fighter from Kazakhstan, made her UFC debut in June 2020 with a first-round submission of veteran Hannah Cifers. Wanting to capitalize on the momentum from the win, she accepted another bout against Shana Dobson set for Aug. 22, 2020. It seemed like a perfect time for the 9-1 Agapova to reach double-digit wins as a professional.
However, Dobson, who was +950, who was 3-4 entering the fight never let Agapova get going. Dobson would end up in full mount in the second round and would finish the fight with a TKO due to ground-and-pound. Dobson would be fed to another prospect, Casey O’Neill, in her next fight and would lose by TKO before announcing her retirement from the sport entirely in 2021.
Headkick Heard Around the World
Holly Holm, who was a champion boxer before heading to the UFC, was pegged as a +830 underdog as she entered with a 9-0 record and took on Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight championship in 2015. Rousey, who was 12-0 at the time, was then known as an unstoppable force and had defended her championship eight times.
But Rousey, who was known primarily as a grappler, wasn’t ready for the boxing performance Holm put on. Holm constantly peppered Rousey throughout the first round and even ended up scoring the only takedown of the fight. Holm landed 71 percent of her significant strikes against Rousey and would knock her out cold with a head kick in the second round.
Holm’s grip on the top was short. She ultimately lost the title in her next fight after being choked out by Miesha Tate in the fifth round. Rousey would only fight once more, suffering a first-round knockout loss to Amanda Nunes before heading to the WWE.
Serra Catches St. Pierre Unfocused
Matt Serra was a respected UFC veteran, but there were many expectations he could defeat rising superstar Georges St. Pierre in a title fight at UFC 69 on April 4, 2007. Serra, who was a +850 underdog, caught St. Pierre with a flurry of punches toward the back half of the first round, sending St. Pierre sprawled to the canvas.
Serra took advantage, continuing to unleash vicious punches until the fight was stopped 3 minutes, 25 seconds into the first round. There is some debate on how the TKO is officially recognized. St. Pierre has said in interviews that he tapped out to strikes, however, referee John McCarthy said he never saw St. Pierre tap out and was going to stop the fight anyway.
However, it was a momentum win for Serra. However, he would never defend the belt, suffering a TKO loss to St. Pierre in the rematch. St. Pierre would go on to win 13 more fights and finish with a 26-2 career record.
Taming the Lioness
Julianna Pena was +700 against Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 in December of 2021. No one really pictured Pena toppling Nunes, who was a giant-slayer who became one of the biggest giants in UFC history. Nunes had won 12 straight fights heading into her meeting with Pena, leaving MMA legends Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Cris Cyborg in her wake on the way to the featherweight and bantamweight crowns.
Nunes, who was proficient in striking and grappling, decided to try and engage in a bizarre, undisciplined slugfest with Pena. Pena’s striking, however, held up and she dropped Nunes in the second round. She was able to hop on her back and get a quick submission by rear-naked choke.