The 411 MMA Top 10 12.30.13: Top 10 Biggest Upsets
Posted by Alex Rella on 12.30.2013
From Gabriel Gonzaga's KO of Mirko Cro Cop and Fabricio Werdum submitting Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce to Forest Griffen defeating Shogun Rua at UFC 76 and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top biggest upsets of all time!
Ten Biggest Upsets
Hey everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This weekend was the rematch of Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, so in honor of their first fight we will be looking at the ten biggest upsets of all time. The title should be pretty straight forward as this a bunch of fights where the heavy underdog came out on top. I made the list balancing the betting odds, rankings at the time, the significance of the fight, and some of my personal opinion. There have been hundreds of upsets over the years, so contribute to the conversation in the comment section if your list is different from mine.
Antonio Silva vs Fedor Emelianenko- Silva via 2nd round TKO
Keith Jardine vs Chuck Liddell- Jardine via split decision
Seth Petruzelli vs. Kimbo Slice- Petruzelli via 1st round KO
Johny Hendricks vs. Jon Fitch- Hendricks via 1st round KO
Jamie Varner vs. Edson Barboza- Varner via 1st round TKO
Frankie Edgar vs BJ Penn- Edgar via controversial split decision
10: Kevin Randleman vs Mirko Cro Cop Pride Total Elimination 2004
Mirko Cro Cop entered the 2004 Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix as one of the best fighters in the world and a lot of people thought he could win the whole thing. Randleman was a former UFC heavyweight champion, but he was on a two fight winning streak and his time at the top was over. Randleman picked up the huge upset when he knocked out Cro Cop in the first. Unfortunately Randleman would go up against Fedor in the next round. This was Randleman's last great win and he would only win two more times over the next seven years.
9: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Pride 33
This fight seems like forever ago. Sokoudjou is only twenty nine and still competing in MMA today (14-12), but he hit his peak back in 2007. This was Sokoudjou's Pride debut and he entered the fight with a 2-1 record. Little Nog was one of the best light heavyweights in the world at the time with a 12-2 record with victories over some elite fighters in Pride. The 16-1 underdog knocked out Nogeuira in only twenty three seconds. Little Nog wouldn't lose for another three plus years when he took on Ryan Bader at UFC 119.
8: Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva
Chris Weidman pulled off the huge upset when he caught the champion fooling around too much. The knockout in the second round shocked almost everyone as it was thought the only way Weidman had a chance was with his wrestling and it wouldn't be smart for him to stand with Silva. Ironic that Weidman would pull off an upset similar to his mentor Matt Serra. A lot of people were picking Weidman to win so he wasn't that big of an underdog, but still a huge upset considering he beat the greatest fighter of all time.
7: Tito Ortiz vs Ryan Bader UFC 132
Ryan Bader was supposed to retire Tito Ortiz at UFC 132. Bader was coming into the fight the incredibly heavy favorite considering Ortiz hadn't won in five years and Bader was just knocked out of title contention. Bader was still a top prospect in the light heavyweight division and was looking to rebound after the first loss of his career to Jon Jones. Ortiz was 0-4-1 in his last five fights and nobody picked him to win. Then Ortiz dropped Bader with strikes and submitted him using a guillotine choke at 1:56 of the first round. This was Submission of the Night as well. This fight was huge not only because it was his first win in five years, but because it also extended Ortiz's career another year.
6: BJ Penn vs Matt Hughes UFC 46
In my opinion this was BJ Penn's best fight as there were so many big factors leading up to this fight. The UFC had suspended the lightweight division after Penn's draw with Uno at UFC 41. Penn was left the UFC due to his lack of division to take a fight with Takanori Gomi in his brother's promotion. But Penn returned to the UFC after eleven months to move up to welterweight and challenge then champion Matt Hughes. Hughes' first title reign was one of the best ever as he defended his title five times. Hughes was a heavy favorite coming into this one as he was a great champ and Penn was moving up in weight. This upset was the product of Hughes underestimating his opponent and Penn's great skills all coming together. Penn rocked Hughes with a good right hand and took his back for the rear naked choke at 4:39 in the first round. Penn claimed his first UFC title in his first fight at 170 lbs against another one of the all time greats.
5: Forrest Griffin vs Shogun Rua UFC 76
This was Shogun's first in the UFC and it was a big deal at the time. The 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix champion was considered to be the best light heavyweight in the world by a lot of people. Griffin was a bloody mess at the end of this fight, but he came out on top in this one. The two had a stiff and brutal battle until the end. The third round was spent on the ground with Shogun was on top of Griffin for the first part. Griffin maneuvered out of trouble and would win by rear naked choke with fifteen seconds left in the third round. The upset would grant Griffin a title shot next, also a considerable upset.
4: Joe Lauzon vs Jens Pulver UFC 63
This was on Joe Lauzon's top ten from two weeks ago and pops up again here. Jens Pulver was the inaugural UFC lightweight champion one of the best fighters in the company's early days, but he left the company in 2002 to make more money in other various promotions, boxing, and eventually Pride. He returned to the UFC in 2006 and took a fight that was supposed to be an easy win before returning to the title picture. This was also Lauzon's UFC debut and he came in a 7-1 underdog. But none of that mattered as Lauzon knocked out the former champ in only 48 seconds as he jump started his own great UFC career.
3: Gabriel Gonzaga vs Mirko Cro Cop UFC 70
Mirko Cro Cop makes his second appearance this week. Cro Cop came over to the UFC in 2007 with huge momentum after winning the 2006 Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix. He defeated Eddie Sanchez in his UFC debut at UFC 67 and Couture would return to defeat Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight title a month later at UFC 68. The matchup between the two legends seemed like a lock, but instead the UFC decided to put Cro Cop in a number one contender fight against Gabriel Gonzaga. Cro Cop would get knocked out with an ironic head kick that would end his career as a top heavyweight. Gonzaga would go on to lose to Randy Couture in a great title fight and has looked awesome since he returned to the UFC in 2012.
2: Fabricio Werdum vs Fedor Emelianenko Strikeforce
Fedor Emelianenko was the best fighter in the world for years and he entered this fight with a 32-1 record, but the one loss was kinda bogus. Fabricio Werdum had been a top heavyweight for years, but he needed a big win to take him to the next level. Fedor just picked up his first Strikeforce win over Brett Rogers and Werdum won his first two Strikeforce fights over Mike Kyle and Antonio Silva. Fedor knocked him down early in the first, but then he got caught in a triangle armbar when he followed him down to the ground. This was the biggest win of Werdum's career and it started Fedor's fall from the top of the sport.
1: Matt Serra vs Georges St. Pierre UFC 69
Before TUF season 4, Serra had an 8-4 record with some great fights against BJ Penn and Shonie Carter. Serra entered the comeback season of TUF and became the real leader and star of the season. Serra would defeat Chris Lytle in the finals and earn a welterweight title shot against the new champion GSP. GSP had just defeated two time champion Matt Hughes and everyone thought he'd be holding onto that belt for a long time. Then Serra came in and pulled off the biggest upsets of all time when he won the title at UFC 69 via TKO. Serra would lose the title in the rematch, but nobody can take away
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Next week will be the top ten fighters of 2013.