There has been a lot of speculation about what the biggest upset in UFC title history since UFC 193. You know, the one where Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey. In fact, there are a lot of people who are saying that fight was the biggest upset not only in UFC history but in sports history altogether. Even though Holm’s win was shocking and spectacular, it wasn’t the biggest upset in UFC, MMA or even sports history. It wasn’t even the biggest title upset in UFC history; if you look past the hype and emotion and look at the raw numbers, you will see that the fight remains a big upset, just not the biggest upset in history. So, if the Holm and Rousey match weren’t the biggest title UFC upset, what is? This list will compile the biggest title upsets in the UFC, starting from five to one.
5. UFC 59: Andrei Arlovski VS. Tim Sylvia
In this fight, Arlovski should have been the favorite, but when the final odds closed, heavyweight challenger Tim Sylvia was a +335 underdog. Arlovski had the muscular chiseled physique over Sylvia’s ‘dad-bod’. Not to mention, Arlovski had a 47-second submission win over Sylvia during their first meeting.
During the fight, they exchanged early punches and it seemed as if Arlovski hurt Sylvia in the exchange, but was unable to capitalize. Later, a right dropped Sylvia seemed like he was seconds away from letting Arlovski end the fight on the ground. Though, Sylvia was able to find his footing. Still wobbly, Sylvia threw a right of his own and caught Arlovski on his chin. He dropped to the mat and Sylvia followed up with strikes on the ground and ended the fight at 2:43 of Round 1. He would defend the title twice and lost to Randy Couture at UFC 68.
4. UFC 193: Ronda Rousey VS. Holly Holm
At the time UFC 193 came around Rousey was unbiased and seemed unbeatable as women’s bantamweight champion and was an incredibly huge favorite over the also unbeaten Holm. Holm was a +1000 underdog when the fight was announced and when the odds closed she was a +525 underdog. Though, as soon as the fight began, the odds didn’t matter. Rousey didn’t rush right into Holm, which allowed Holm to fight from a distance, which happens to be her strong suit. She used the perfect game plan during the first round and kept Rousey at a distance, and striking from that distance. She even remained calm when Rousey was able to get her hands on her. By the end of the first round, Holm managed to leave Rousey bloodied and winded-looking and left her confused. She never seemed to recover between rounds, and Holm took advantage of that; Holm eventually ended the fight by giving Rousey a head kick that resulted in her falling to the ground unconscious. Holly Holm did the seemingly unbelievable, she beat the unbeatable.
3. UFC 69: Georges St-Pierre VS. Matt Serra
Matt Serra was a 5-4 in the UFC during the time when UFC 69 came around and earned a shot at the welterweight champion when he won season four of “The Ultimate Fighter”. This season was deemed “The Comeback” and the concept was to put sixteen fighters on the show who had never had great success on the UFC fights they fought in and gave them a chance to earn a title shot.
Early in the fight, Serra and St-Pierre kept their distance. There wasn’t much significant that happened and it wasn’t until the +550 underdog Serra clipped St-Pierre with a right with a bit more than two minutes left in the fight. St-Pierre tried to recover but never did due to him getting badly hurt. Serra decided to capitalize on that, throwing punch after punch until St-Pierre fell. Once he was on the mat, Serra gained full mount and rained down punches, and the fight was over. Serra lost his title during his very next match, which happens to be a rematch against St-Pierre. He fell by TKO in the second round.
2. UFC 112: B.J. Penn VS. Frankie Edgar
B.J. Penn established himself as the greatest lightweight fighter in UFC history by the time UFC 112 was announced. He won the title at UFC 80 and even defended it three times before meeting Edgar. Edgar was a +620 underdog to Penn. The fight ended up going five rounds and Edgar was awarded the unanimous decision victory by scores. The striking totals were almost even; Penn landed 72 strikes to Edgar’s 63 strikes. Edgar had an advantage with his movement and pace and dictated it throughout the fight and watched Penn faded down the stretch. He later then defeated Penn in a rematch at UFC 118 and held the title until UFC 144 to Benson Henderson.
1. UFC 173: Renan Barao VS. TJ Dillashaw
UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao had an impressive 32-fight winning streak. He lost his first professional fight in 2005 and didn’t lose again until his fight against Dillashaw. Dillashaw entered the fight as a +710 underdog, but still dominated the fight. His movement was excellent early in the fight. He feinted, switched stances, presented difficult angles and struck from difficult angles. He dropped Barao with a big punch near the end of Round 1 and that punch was the point of no return for Barao. Dillashaw dominated his attack during the next three rounds and slowed a bit as the fight progressed, but he didn’t slow as much as Barao. With three minutes left in the fight, he kept going after Barao and gave a head kick that wobbled Barao and then used his hands to drop Barao o the mat and fished him off with strikes on the ground.