Written by InfamousProfessorPlum - Too many times us fans, of any sport, have the outcome of a match set in stone inside our mind. We analyze each competitor over and over and try to predict what will happen at the end. And sometimes, no matter which way you look at the match, the same result occurs. "Buster Douglas?? NO WAY!! Tyson's 37-0 and finished the last 6 dudes. He's dominating the division. KO man." Next thing you know, you're playing "James 'Buster' Douglas Knockout Boxing" on your Sega Genesis. So when that outcome doesn't prevail like you so confidently thought, you are left with your jaw on the floor, unable to pick it up and make sense of what just happened (Sort of like that feeling when Pettis wall-climbed the cage and Bonnar screamed 'That was like something out of the Matrix!!!').
Upsets are ALWAYS fun...unless you threw down a couple grand on the Patriots beating the Giants. What I've compiled is not necessarily the top 10 upsets with the most popular fighters involved, which many are, but it's a hybrid of popular fighters and the betting odds for each fight. Top 10's are always criticized for being purely subjective and people sometimes want "Top 10 In No Particular Order". However, making Top 10's is so much more fun to first, gather a list and put a certain order to them, and second, to see the reaction of readers who completely agree or disagree with your listing. My main goal when writing these countdowns is not to disprove everyone with facts and numbers, but to get a wave of opinions because I'm ALWAYS interested in what others have to say and why.
If you love this article, I recommend you look out for more of my posts, and if you hate it, well thank you for reading anyway. Both love and hate are forms of passion and are greatly appreciated. So with no further introduction, lets get to the 10 craziest upsets in MMA history starting with #10...
10. Tim Sylvia (c) (23-2) vs Randy Couture (14-8) UFC 68, March 3, 2007 - A year into retirement, Randy was supposed to be sipping on some girly drinks and watching a sunset in some tropical getaway since he was not able to make it in the 205 pound division anymore. Instead, something struck Couture that he could hang with the bigger guys in the heavyweight division after being five years removed of his last heavyweight fight. His opponent? 6 foot 8, 265 pound Tim Sylvia, a badass giant that practices in Iowa with corn. Tim was on a six fight winning streak and already defended his belt twice but all that was forgotten in the opening minute when Couture knocked 'The Maniac' down with an overhand right. The rest of the way was all Randy; shooting when Sylvia expected a punch and punching when Sylvia thought takedown. This fight was just another one of Couture's creative game plans and it earned him the title at age 44. "Not bad for an old man."
Winner: Randy Couture, Unanimous Decision, New UFC Heavyweight Champion.
9. Matt Hughes (c) (35-3) vs BJ Penn (6-1-1) UFC 46, January 31, 2004 - Matt Hughes was on an absolute tear; improving his record in the UFC to 8-1, winning 13 fights in a row, and defending his UFC Welterweight belt five consecutive times. Hughes was absolutely dominating the welterweight division with his superior wrestling and nasty ground and pound. He was becoming the powerhouse of his division like Tito Ortiz and Frank Shamrock were with the Light Heavyweight Division. His next challenge was a lightweight who failed to win the lightweight gold from Jens Pulver (a teammate of Hughes). No one really expected Penn to win with his technique and BJJ skills but that's what perfectly counteracted Hughes' brute strength as Penn was able to get behind the champion and sink in a rear-naked choke. Tap tap in the first round.
Winner: BJ Penn, Submission, New UFC Welterweight Champion.
8. Vitor Belfort (4-0) vs Randy Couture (2-0) UFC 15, October 17, 1997 – Vitor Belfort was a phenom; THE PHENOM. He competed in his first MMA fight at the age of 19 in Hawaii and destroyed his opponent in 12 seconds. He soon decided to move his talents to the UFC where he defeated two opponents in his debut event in the UFC by a total of 2 minutes to become the winner of the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament. He ran through “Tank” Abbott to earn a shot against Greco-Roman wrestler, Randy Couture; in a UFC Heavyweight Title eliminator. Couture, at the time, was a 33 year old rookie in the sport as he won the UFC 13 Heavyweight Tournament; earning his only 2 professional MMA fights in 1 night. The Phenom was expected to continue his streak against Couture with his insanely fast hands. However, Belfort was upset 8:16 into the fight by TKO as we saw his superior boxing skills negated by Randy’s strategic clinch fighting. Although both fighters became legends in the sport, this fight rocked the MMA world and showed the first sighting of Captain America.
Winner: Randy Couture, TKO, Became #1 Contender
7. Jens Pulver (21-6-1) vs Joe Lauzon (13-3) UFC 63, September 23, 2006 - Pulver, one of the best lightweights in the world at the time, was already a veteran of the UFC with a record of 6-0-1 and was the former UFC Lightweight Champion defending his belt twice against Caol Uno and BJ Penn. 'Lil Evil' made his UFC return against Joe Lauzon, a 22 year old submission specialist making his UFC debut. Coming into this fight, Joe Lauzon was a 7:1 underdog against this Miletich freak, very understandable. What happened next was unbelievable. 'J-Lau' immediately shoots for a takedown and gets Pulver to the ground. The former champ gets nailed a couple times as he tries to get up but manages to get back on his feet. Pulver slips, Lauzon misses with a knee, but clips Jens right on the chin with a left hook and it was called off at 47 seconds into the first round. The most intriguing part of this fight was what happened afterwards. Pulver was chosen as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter against fellow coach BJ Penn for a fight rematch after the season. Who signed up for TUF Season 5? None other than Joe Lauzon and he was picked to fight on Team Penn. How awkward do you think that was, being a contestant knowing you knocked out the opposing coach. Jens went on to lose to Penn by a nasty rear naked choke where BJ trapped one of Jens' arms. If you haven't seen it, look it up!!!
Winner: Joe Lauzon, KO of Embarrassment
6. Mauricio Rua (16-2) vs Forrest Griffin (14-4) UFC 76, September 22, 2007 - BREAKING NEWS, ZUFFA BUYS PRIDE FC!!! This purchase is where the UFC became the legitimate MMA organization in the world. All the top fighters from Pride would now get to battle all the top fighters from UFC. Things now became very interesting. One of those stars transferring from Pride was Shogun Rua, a young Brazilian making quite a name for himself in Japan beating guys like Overeem twice, Rampage Jackson, Lil Nog, and Randleman. His first fight in the UFC was against The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner, Forrest Griffin, who was 2-2 in his last four fights after starting 3-0 in the UFC. Forrest was coming off a win against a mediocre opponent in Hector Ramirez and was matched up to fight Shogun next; arguably the best light heavyweight in the world at the time (Liddell had just lost to Rampage and Shogun beat Rampage by soccer kicking the crap out of him). Griffin's win over Jackson for the title was a big upset but this win was even bigger. In most fan's eyes, it was only a matter of time until Shogun took over the division from Jackson. This fight was a perfect example to never overlook your opponent because Shogun clearly did and even came into the fight out of shape. Forrest outworked Rua with his cardio and scrappy style eventually getting Shogun's back and sinking in a rear naked choke with 15 seconds left in the fight. This win would propel Forrest as the number one contender for the light heavyweight belt where he would eventually win an amazing five round war with Rampage Jackson.
Winner: Forrest Griffin, Submission, Became #1 Contender
5. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (12-2) vs Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (2-1) Pride 33, February 24, 2007 - Sokoudjou entered this fight against the younger Nogueira brother as an enormous underdog. Lil Nog was on a frenetic pace beating guys like Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem twice, Sakuraba, and losing a very competitive fight with Shogun Rua. The African Assassin, on the other hand, had only three professional MMA bouts under his belt and had just lost his last fight by getting knocked out in less than two minutes into the first round in the WEC. At a nearly 15:1 underdog, Sokoudjou was given almost no shot at defeating the smaller Nogueira brother. I don't think the Cameroonian paid much attention to the odds. He came out kicking and punching eventually catching Lil Nog with a huge left hook that sent the Brazilian laying flat on the mat. With the biggest odds against one fighter in MMA history, this fight was an easy top three.
Winner: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, KO from HELL
4. Fedor Emelianenko (31-1, 1 NC) vs Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1) Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum, June 26, 2010 - Need much of an introduction? Fedor was the best heavyweight and arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world. He was riding a 28 fight unbeaten streak and his only loss to date was bogus due to a cut stoppage 17 seconds into the fight. Fedor just seemed to always know how to win against anyone whether they were faster, stronger, or bigger than he was. After a scary fight with Rogers, Fedor won his Strikeforce debut and was slated to fight UFC veteran Fabricio Werdum, one of the most dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the world. However, Fedor already beat a more threatening BJJ fighter in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira...twice. Werdum showed how great his BJJ was by sinking in both a triangle choke and an arm bar forcing the MMA god to tap at the 1:09 mark in the first round. This truly was the first time someone decisively beat Fedor Emelianenko in mixed martial arts competition. Fun Fact: Werdum is the only man to hold victories over both of the Emelianenko brothers. Take that Chuck Norris!
Winner: Fabricio Werdum, Submission
3. Georges St-Pierre (c) (13-1) vs Matt Serra (10-4) UFC 69, April 7, 2007 - St-Pierre won the title that he fought so much for; climbing back up the welterweight ladder by beating guys like Mayhem Miller, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, and later earning his title shot by winning a close split decision fight with BJ Penn. GSP was on his way to being the greatest welterweight in the UFC and made a loud statement avenging his loss to Matt Hughes by beating him with a huge head kick and a flurry of punches at UFC 65. He won the gold and it seemed like Georges was staying there for a long time. His opponent was former UFC lightweight Matt Serra who earned his shot against the champion after winning The Ultimate Fighter 4 welterweight final against Chris Lytle. Georges St-Pierre was the future, Matt Serra was not, simple as that. GSP was on a pace very few could match and Serra was not expected to stop him in this fight. 'The Terror' was an 8:1 underdog and rightfully so. We knew Serra had power but he wasn't one to use his power to end fights. He's a second degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and coming into this title fight, Serra won his 10 fights by either submission or decision. MMA is a sport where literally ANYTHING can happen and this fight was a prime example of just that. The 5 foot 6 New Yorker came out swinging and caught GSP with a huge right to the top of his head and it was downhill for the champion from there. Serra quickly capitalized with some vicious ground and pound and became the new UFC Welterweight Champion 3:25 into the very first round. Unfortunately, the 32 year old champion couldn't even defend his belt once. GSP earned a rematch one year later against Serra and took his belt back and has been on a rampage ever since that upsetting loss. However, it's this upset which formed the Georges St-Pierre we see today. "That loss was the best thing to happen for my career." -GSP
Winner: Matt Serra, TKO, New UFC Welterweight Champion
2. Mark Coleman (c) (6-0) vs Maurice Smith (4-7) UFC 14, July 27, 1997 – Smith started out his professional fighting career as a kickboxer, and a very good one at that as he went on a run of10 straight years without a loss. The kickboxer transferred to Mixed Martial Arts fighting stints in the Japanese promotions Pancrase and RINGS. However, the transfer wasn’t the smoothest as Smith struggled to a 4-7 record; winning all of his 4 fights by knockout (which was to be expected) but losing every time to submission. In a weird fight match up, he was slated to face UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman, a pioneer of the UFC and ultimately of Mixed Martial Arts. Coleman, at the time, was an absolute wrecking machine in the UFC. The Olympic wrestler was smashing guys like Gary Goodridge, Don Frye, and Dan Severn as Coleman finished all 6 of his fights and won the UFC 10 Tournament. Going into the fight, it was almost predicted the dominant wrestler would take down the kickboxer and finish him off like he did with everyone else. Smith was considered to be a massive underdog for the bout, but shocked the new MMA world with a long and grinding unanimous decision victory to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. This fight was so important because Smith became the first striker to survive the attack of a world class wrestler. Smith later defended that belt against “Tank” Abbott before losing the strap to Captain America aka Randy Couture in a closely contested match.
Winner: Maurice Smith, Unanimous Decision , New UFC Heavyweight Champion
1. Mirko Filipovic (22-4-2) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (7-1) UFC 70, April 21, 2007 - "Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery." We've all come to know this phrase well after witnessing some of the deadliest knockouts in MMA. Guys like Heath Herring, Igor Vovchanchyn, Dos Caras Jr., Aleksander Emelianenko, and Wanderlei Silva fell victim to those tree trunks Cro Cop calls legs. It was only a matter of time until the Croatian sent one flying through the air and crashing into your defenseless body, preferably your head. American fans of PRIDE were waiting for the day when Mirko Cro Cop came to America and dominated the Coutures, Sylvias, and Arlovskis of the heavyweight division. I can't described how ecstatic I was after I learned of the purchase of Pride and began thinking of all the matchups MMA fans around the world wanted for so long. They were now going to happen and I couldn't wait. Cro Cop made his highly anticipated UFC debut against Eddie Sanchez, a nice warm up fight where Cro Cop made Sanchez a nice punching bag. His next fight was against up and coming heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga for the right to become the UFC #1 contender against UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. The Croatian was "supposed" to crush Gonzaga and create a Pride vs UFC match we've wanted so long in Cro Cop vs Couture. Instead, Gonzaga took Cro Cop down to the mat which was surprising because Mirko had one of the best takedown defenses in the game. The Brazilian landed some good shots from on top but no one was too worried. Cro Cop got back to his feet with about one minute left in the first round and was looking to land some points with his stand up game. With the first round coming to an end, the Pride star circled left and what happened next was heard around the world. The true Mirko Cro Cop, who we came to love and enjoy watching all through his K-1 and Pride days, would come to an end on this Saturday night in Manchester, England in front of a crowd of 15,000+ fans. Gonzaga started a kick, Cro Cop read it and covered his mid-section, but the kick just kept going until it crashed flush on the side of Mirko's head. In less than a second, the man who sent so many home with the phrase "Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery," came plummeting to the ground with his right leg pinned awkwardly under his unconscious body. Mirko Cro Cop was never the same again.
Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga, KO, Became #1 Contender
**Hope everyone enjoyed this countdown. Stay tuned for more in the future. --InfamousProfessorPlum **