Mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport on the planet, with plenty of big upsets, and, on this page, we break down the major UFC betting upsets in history. The UFC is based out of the United States and is the largest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. UFC events are staged worldwide and there is always a lot of excitement in the build-up to the big fights. Many people choose to bet on UFC because of the drama and thrilling nature of the sport, but it is not always easy to pick a winner. Read on as we bring you 6 of the biggest betting upsets in UFC history.
6) Frankie Saenz ($8.00) def Iuri Alcântara ($1.10)
UFC Fight Night 61 was special because of the number of outsiders who won their fights, with a record 10 of the 11 underdogs winning that night. One of those underdogs was Frankie Saenz and he came into the contest against Iuri Alcântara at odds of $8.00 to win. Saenz won the fight by unanimous decision to the delight of the crowd in Porto Alegre, Brazil. It is estimated that the night cost online gambling company Bovada nearly $1 million, including a $48,291 payout on a $1 bet!
5) Mike Jackson ($8.00) def. Dean Barry ($1.09)
UFC Fight Night 205 took place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, with the women’s strawweight fight between Jéssica Andrade and Amanda Lemos being the main event. However, in terms of shocks, the biggest bout of the evening was between Mike Jackson and Dean Barry on the preliminary card. For the UFC fans who decided to tune in for the main card only, they missed a big upset as Barry was disqualified for eye gouging. In terms of betting, those who bet on Jackson at $8.00 picked up a nice payday because of Barry’s carelessness in the Octagon.
4) Julianna Peña ($8.00) def. Amanda Nunes ($1.08)
UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier took place in December 2021 and included a match for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship between the defending champion Amanda Nunes and Julianna Peña. Nunes came into the bout on the back of a 12-fight winning streak and was the clear favourite to win with the bookies at $1.08. However, in the second round of the contest, Peña got Nunes in a rear-naked choke leading to a submission. Nunes had a rematch the following year and got her revenge but it was a massive upset for the bookies and one that will forever be in the UFC history books.
3) Matt Serra ($9.5) def. Georges St-Pierre ($1.07)
Having previously faced each other at UFC 69, Matt Serra and Georges St-Pierre went head-to-head for a second time at UFC 83, a fight in which St-Pierre came out on top. However, the Canadian will always have the huge upset that took place in April 2007 on his record. The fight, in Houston, Texas, was for the UFC Welterweight Championship and such was the backing for St-Pierre, this is still considered to be one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Serra stunned the fans with a 1st round TKO, that not only earned him the Welterweight Championship but also the award for Knockout of the Night. It was a bad night for the bookmakers, with Serra on offer at $9.5 to win prior to the fight.
2) Holly Holm ($9.3) def. Ronda Rousey ($1.07)
For our next major UFC betting upset, we go back to 2015 and the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship bout between defending champion Ronda Rousey and former boxing world champion Holly Holm was the headline fight. Little did the fans know at the time but they were about to witness one of the greatest upsets in UFC history. Rousey came into the bout as the defending champion plus she was undefeated in her MMA career. Holm had some MMA experience under her belt but boxing had been her main sport for over a decade. Holm’s boxing ability proved key to her shock success as she used her left hand to keep Rousey at bay, landing repeated strikes to the American’s face. Rousey could not close the distance between the two fighters in the second round and Holm took full advantage as she became more desperate and landed a kick to the neck of Rousey. The referee stopped the fight and the 56,214 people inside the stadium could not believe what they had witnessed.
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1) Shana Dobson ($10.5) def. Mariya Agapova ($1.07)
UFC on ESPN in August 2020 had Munhoz vs Edgar as the main event but in terms of getting fans off their seats, the victory of Shana Dobson over Mariya Agapova is unlikely to be matched. Agapova came into the fight on the back of 3 straight victories, two of which earned the Performance of the Night award. Dobson entered the Octagon on the back of 3 straight defeats and she had been stopped in the first round of her previous contest by Priscila Cachoeira. There was only going to be one winner in the eyes of the bookies and Agapova started as the overwhelming favourite against Dobson, who had lasted only 40 seconds against Cachoeira. This was a clear case of over-confidence from Agapova, who came shooting out of her corner expecting to get the job done quickly. However, when she failed to end the fight early, Agapova started to struggle as she had used so much energy and Dobson took advantage to knock her down at the beginning of the second round. Agapova got up but needed the referee to step in as Dobson continued to land blows and win the fight. For the bookmakers and those who backed Agapova at such short odds, it was the biggest UFC betting fail of all time.