Whenever there is a sizable upset in mixed martial arts, I receive a flood of emails and tweets asking the same question: where does this rank on the list of MMA’s biggest upsets? I’d love to answer that question definitively but there wasn’t a accurate list anywhere on the net — until now! I decided to take on the task myself and do the necessary research required to create an accurate list of the top 20 biggest upsets in MMA history. I’ll keep this post updated regularly as new upsets break the top 20. For future reference, check the date at the top of the page to see when the last update was. Each fight includes the opening odds, peak odds and the closing line, plus a brief description of the situation heading into it and a description of how it played out.   Before I get into it, here are a some important details regarding the methodology used for the list:

  • While for each fight I listed the opening, closing and peak lines but all rankings are based solely on the closing line.
  • To make sure all numbers listed are the most accurate, the odds listed are via the three largest sportsbooks: Bookmaker, 5Dimes and Bovada. The book was used for each line is specified next to each one.
  • The opening odds will be via whichever book originated the line.
  • The closing line will be via whichever book out of the three had the highest odds on the underdog.
  • The peak line will be via whichever book had the highest peak odds underdog peak, regardless if they were the one who opened it or the book with the highest closing line.

Scroll down to see the full list!



Chan Sung Jung (+475) upsets Mark Hominick (-560)

Knockout (punches), Round 1

UFC 140: Jones vs Machida, 12/10/2011


  • The Setting

Fresh off a better-than-expected performance against UFC featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, Mark Hominick was slated for a tune up fight against Chan Sung Jung. “The Korean Zombie” had just suffered an embarrassing KO defeat at the hands of a journeyman in George Roop, so this matchup seemed like an easy call. But just seven seconds into the fight, it was halted with a KO finish — by the nearly 6-1 underdog. As the Canadian fell, his hometown crowd was almost equally as stunned. Despite the silent arena, make no mistake about it: Jung’s win was positively scintillating.

-Opening line: +200– 5Dimes

-Peak line: +480 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +475 — 5Dimes



Jan Nortje (+500) upsets Bob Sapp (-700)

Technical Knockout (punches), Round 1

Strikeforce: At The Dome, 2/23/2008


  • The Setting

Believe it or not, there was once a time where people thought Bob Sapp would be something other than a freakshow in MMA. With a professional MMA record of 9-2 at the time, Sapp was excepted to walk over the 1-5 Jim Nortje. Instead, this was the start of the career decline that caused “The Beast” to become a running joke amongst the MMA community. Bob walked to the center of the cage, threw a few punches, got hit hit clean, literally ran away with his back turned and finally fell down just 55 seconds into the bout. It was a sign of things to come in his career, as he went on to go 2-15 to end his career, with all but one of those 15 losses coming in the first round.

-Opening line: +450 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +500 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +500 — 5Dimes

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Zoila Frausto Gurgel (+500) upsets Megumi Fujii (-800)

Split-Decision, Round 5

Bellator 34: Lombard vs Shlemenko 10/28/2010


  • The Setting

With a record of 24-0 and fighting in a time before Ronda Rousey made her mark on MMA, Megumi Fujii was considering by many to be the best female fighter on the planet. After years of anticipation, she had finally made her stateside debut and racked up a tidy 3-0 record in Bellator. She took on Zoila Frausto Gurgel for the promotions inaugural women’s 115-pound title and let’s just say things didn’t go as expected. The bout was extremely competitive from the onset. Neither woman could get any momentum going but it appeared as if Fujii had done enough to secure a close decision. But, in a move that happens far too often, the dreaded MMA judges had to rear their ugly heads and awarded a highly controversial decision to Frausto Gurgel. And just like that, MMA’s longest active win streak at the time was broken. Fugii went on to finish here career with a 26-3 mark after going just 4-2 in her next six bouts. Sadly, both losses were controversial decisions, just like the one she suffered here.

-Opening line: +350 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +500 — Bovada

-Closing line: +500 — Bovada



Tito Ortiz (+525) upsets Ryan Bader (-825)

Submission (guillotine), Round 1

UFC 132: Cruz vs Faber 2, 7/02/2011


  • The Setting

Tito Ortiz hadn’t won a fight in five years and was on his way out of the UFC. So, they gave him one of their best light heavyweight prospects in Ryan Rader. On paper, “Darth” was better than Tito in every area which made his steep betting odds seem justified. But, of course, it wasn’t that simple. In the very first round Ortiz connected with a quick, short left hook that sent his supposedly superior opponent crashing to the mat. Out of desperation Bader shot for a takedown but fell right into a guillotine courtesy of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”. Less than two minutes into the round, the most baffling result of 2011 was in the books.

-Opening line: +225 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +525 — Bovada

-Closing line: +525 — Bovada



Frankie Edgar (+550) upsets Tyson Griffin (-1000)

Unanimous Decision, Round 3

UFC 67: All or Nothing, 2/3/2007


  • The Setting

The hype train began chugging along even before Tyson Griffin won his UFC debut. But afterwards it picked up considerably, only to be derailed by undersized Jersey native Frankie Edgar. Despite his undefeated record, Edgar received no respect from fans before the fight, but made sure to earn it in what would be his UFC debut. In one of the best fights of the year, the two lightweights were neck and neck for the most part, but “The Answer” was just a little bit better in every area. Eventually he picked up a unanimous decision in a bout that was as competitive as it was exciting.

-Opening line: +500 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +550 — Bookmaker

-Closing line: +550 — Bookmaker



Joe Lauzon (+585) upsets Jens Pulver (-725)

Knockout (punch), Round 1

UFC 63: Hughes vs Penn 2, 9/23/2006
  • The Setting

Before the UFC disbanded their lightweight division, Jens Pulver was its the king. Years later, he was set to make his return to glory in the newly reimplemented weight class. He took on Joe Lauzon, a part time fighter who also worked as a technical support rep. Needless to say, Joe was seen as nothing more than a lamb to the slaughter. Right off the bat, it was apparent that Lauzon was not there to simply lie down. He came out aggressive, looking for takedowns and working knees to the body. Suddenly a left hook landed out of nowhere and “Lil’ Evil” was the one who laid down, out cold on the mat. Not only did this fight end in the opposite fashion to what was expected, but the rest of their careers did as well. Joe was the one who went on to prosper the division while Pulver fizzled out.

-Opening line: +475 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +650 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +585 — 5Dimes



Pat Curran (+600) upsets Roger Huerta (-1000)

Unanimous Decision, Round 3

Bellator 17: Alvarez vs Neer, 5/6/2010


  • The Setting

Prior to this bout, Pat Curran was best known for being related to UFC and WEC veteran Jeff Curran. No one would have ever guessed he would go on to not only make a name for himself, but actually have a better career than his cousin. He started his journey with a pedestrian record of 11-3 before taking on Roger Huerta in the Bellator season 2 lightweight tournament semi-final. Huerta had the much bigger name thanks to his UFC experience and also seemed to be the superior fighter on paper. You would have never guess that by the way the fight played out, though. Curran used a nice mix of clean boxing and effective counters to rack up points on the judges cards en route to a clear decision triumph. At the time it was mind blowing but in retrspect the result makes perfect sense.

-Opening line: +550 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +625 — Bookmaker

-Closing line: +600 — Bovada

UFC Fight Night Stockholm: Backstrom v Wilkinson


Mike Wilkinson (+650) upsets Niklas Backstrom (-1000)

Knockout, Round 1

UFC Fight Night 53, 10/4/2014


  • The Setting

Sitting at 0-1 in the UFC, coming off a one year layoff, and facing a seemingly far superior and much more hyped fighter, no one had much faith in Mike Wilkinson’s ability to get the W here. Despite that, he made it look easy. The bout was fairly competitive in the early moments, with Backstrom getting the better of the striking exchanges. The early success seemed to be his downfall, however, as he looked to get increasingly overconfident as every second ticked away.

Niklas marched forward with his hands down, drilled his much smaller opponent with a front kick right on the grill, then ate a counter on his chin chin. The overhand right put him out cold before he even hit the mat. Sometimes one punch is all it takes in mixed martial arts.

-Opening line: +435 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +725 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +650 — 5Dimes



Thiago Santos (+660) upsets Ronny Markes (-840)

Technical Knockout (strikes), Round 1

UFC Fight Night 38: Shogun vs Henderson, 3/23/2014


  • The Setting

Ronny Markes was a young fighter who showed a lot of promise but was never able to make the leap into the upper echelon of the 185-pound division. Because of this, the UFC eased him along with favorable match ups for the most part to help ease him along and that was the intention of this fight. Thiago Santos had never looked particularly impressive in his career and was coming off a quick submission loss in his UFC debut. This was the epitome of a “gimme fight”. However, things did not go as planned. Right off the bat, Markes got hit with a body kick and proceeded to turtle up until the ref stepped in. It was quick but it was also painful. Not only that, the performance was enough to get Ronny fired from the UFC.

-Opening line: +435– 5Dimes

-Peak line: +660 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +660 — 5Dimes



Sergey Golyaev (+700) upsets Takanori Gomi (-1100)

Split Decision, Round 3

WVR Sengoku: Sixth Battle: 11/1/2008


  • The Setting

Takanori Gomi was PRIDE’s king at 160 pounds pretty much since the promotions inception. He had a few stumbles here and there, but they were generally against experienced and/or high level fighters. That is, until his loss to the unknown Sergey Golyaev. At this point, PRIDE had already fallen, as had Gomi’s #1 world ranking. He was just looking for fights to stay busy without any real aspirations of reclaiming his position as the world’s best lightweight. Despite that, he was still fully expected to crush Golyaev. Obviously that isn’t what happened and the competitive nature of the bout was extremely surprising itself. Then, when the judges awarded a controversial decision to his opponent, things took a turn for the surreal. Gom didn’t completely fall from grace from grace until his next bout, though, where he was upset yet again. Although this time, by a much more known commodity in Satoru Kitaoka.

-Opening line: +550 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +700 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +700 — 5Dimes

Bobby Lashley vs Chad Griggs


Chad Griggs (+700) upsets Bobby Lashley (-1200)

Technical Knockout (retirement), Round 2

Strikeforce: Houston, 8/21/2010


  • The Setting

Former WWE wrestling star Bobby Lashley entered MMA in a similar fashion to the then-UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesner. As such, he had similar expectations of fast track success from fans, even if they were unwarranted. Chad Griggs would deliver a wake up call. Lashly did well earlier but it wasn’t long before his cardio began to fail him. By round two he was completely out of steam and became a living, (barely) breathing punching bag. Griggs began to take over and land some good blows but the round would expire and Bobby seemed to be saved by the bell. Then, he quit on the stool between rounds. The storyline afterwards was less about how shocking the upset was, and more about just how pathetic it was.

-Opening line: +300 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +700 — Bookmaker

-Closing line: +700 — Bookmaker



Matt Serra (+700) upsets Georges St-Pierre (-1000)

Technical Knockout (punches), Round 1

UFC 69: Shootout, 4/7/2007


  • The Setting

Coming off a surprisingly easy win over the then-greatest welterweight of all time, Matt Hughes, Georges “Rush” St-Pierre seemed poised to unleash terror across the entire division. Matt Serra, despite not holding a single skill advantage over the new champion, had other plans. The opening moments lacked much action until an overhand right from the powerful Italian grazed the back of St-Pierre’s head. The champion’s legs became weak and he hobbled around the cage, falling face first onto the mat. Georges got back to his feet but Serra followed up with a barrage of punches, refusing to relent for even a couple seconds. Eventually, the French-Canadian tumbled onto his back and “The Terra” hopped into mount where he unloaded more punishment until the referee had no choice but to step in. At the time, this was the biggest upset in UFC history. Bigger upsets have occurred in the promotion since then, but this still remains the most shocking in the eyes of many.

-Opening line: +500 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +850 — Bovada

-Closing line: +700 — Bookmaker



Frankie Edgar (+725) upsets B.J. Penn (-1100)

Unanimous Decision, Round 5

UFC 112: Invincible, 4/10/2010


  • The Setting

Frankie Edgar is currently the only man to appear twice on this list. In both instances, he is the underdog winning and defying the odds. B.J. Penn had always been one of MMA’s biggest underachievers but it had seemed as if he was finally starting to live up to his potential. After a string of dominant title defenses, the UFC’s 155-pound champ appeared unstoppable in the division. There seemed to be no answer to the problem his extremely well rounded game posed. That is, until Edgar came along. “The Answer” used crisp boxing and smooth footwork to stay competitive with Penn over the course of five rounds and force a close decision. The good majority of MMA fans had the champ retaining his belt in but the judges did not agree. All three awarded the bout to the challenger, including a highly controversial 50-45 score from Doug Crosby. Edgar would go on to silence the critics in a rematch, where he won a deserved 50-45 decision.

-Opening line: +525 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +725 — Bookmaker

-Closing line: +725 — Bookmaker



Johnny Eduardo (+735) upsets Eddie Wineland (-935)

Knockout (punches), Round 1

UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs Silva, 5/10/2014


  • The Setting

Eddie Wineland was a perennial top five fighter in the bantamweight division and, like so many men on this list, was given an easy opponent to make a highlight reel out of. Johnny Eduardo’s biggest win by far at this point was a decision over a highly washed up Jeff Curran. In addition, the Brazilian hadn’t fought in two years and was no spring chicken given his 35 years of age. This had all the makings for a great showing from Wineland. However, it was anything but. The former UFC title contender had trouble finding his rhythm right out of the gate. His punches seemed to lack intent and were coming up short, distance-wise. Soon, out of nowhere, Eduardo landed a massive right hook that made his opponent do the “stanky leg”. He followed up with another and the the coffin nails were fully in place. Wineland was out cold in the first round in a true shocker.

-Opening line: +305 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +735 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +735 — 5Dimes



Joey Beltran (+750) upsets Rolles Gracie (-1500)

Technical Knockout (punches), Round 2

UFC 109: Relentless, 2/6/2010


  • The Setting

Rolles Gracie was the man many people hoped would put the Gracie name back in contention in the UFC. As such, he garnered a decent level of hype before he even made his promotional debut. The UFC tossed him Joey Beltran, an unknown brawler who was coming off a surprising win over UFC veteran Houston Alexander. To say Gracie underperformed would be an understatement. He looked okay in round one until he completely gassed out and simply had nothing to offer come round 2. What ensued was pathetic. Rolles sauntered about the cage, barely able to stand, until Beltran eventually took the grappler’s back and pummeled him until the referee intervened This performance was so dreadful it caused the immediate termination of Rolles Gracie’s UFC contract. Yep, it was that bad.

-Opening line: +275 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +750 — Bovada

-Closing line: +750 — Bovada



T.J. Dillashaw (+765) upsets Renan Barao (-1250)

Technical Knockout, Round 5

UFC 173: Barao vs Dillshaw, 5/24/2014


  • The Setting

Renan Barao was being touted by the UFC as the world best pound-for-pound fighter heading into his UFC bantamweight title defense against the promising, yet raw, T.J. Dillashaw. He seemed to have an edge in every area on paper in what appeared to be an easy fight to call. Not to mention the champ held a 33-1-1 record and was unbeaten in his last 33 professional fights while Dillashaw was a young 9-2 in his pro campaign. What transpired was nothing short of shocking. Not only did T.J. get the upset, but he dominated the then-champion from bell to bell in every area of the game. He was crisper and faster on the feet, had the better combinations, rocked the champion repeatedly, and even won the limited time spent on the mat. Then, ultimately, he put the stampcdown in round five with a vicious assault that left “The Baron” unable to defend himself. This wasn’t just a lucky punch or a bad judges decision like some of the other upsets on this list — it was a 23 minute beatdown. Also, this marked the third week in a row where a new top five upset in MMA history occurred. The previous week had Will Brooks upset Michael Chandler at +800, who you’ll see later on this list, while the week before that had the aforementioned Johnny Eduardo upset Eddie Wineland at +735.

-Opening line: +305 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +765 — Bookmaker

-Closing line: +765 — Bookmaker

Will Brooks vs Michael Chandler


Will Brooks (+800) upsets Michael Chandler (-1000)

Split Decision, Round 5

Bellator 120: Rampage vs King Mo, 5/17/2014


  • The Setting

Michael Chandler’s shocking upset loss as a 10-1 favorite against Will brooks came just seven days after Eddie Wineland’s equally surprising defeat — and previous top 20 upset entree — to +735 Johnny Eduardo. Yep, two of MMA’s biggest upsets occurred on back to back cards. Chandler, the former Bellator lightweight champion, was originally supposed to face the current champ, Eddie Alvarez, in a trilogy match for the title. Alavrez pulled out due to a concussion only six days before the bout so “Ill” Will Brooks stepped in to take his spot. On paper, Brooks had no shot. So, accordingly, no one gave him any. Style-wise, there was not a single thing he did better than the former champ but this is why they fight. Brooks was mostly useless for the first couple of rounds until his opponent began to uncharacteristically tire. Will soon began to take over and nearly finished Chandler en route to clearly winning rounds three and four of the interim title bout. The final, deciding round five was competitive until “Ill” was dropped and almost submitted in the final minute of action, which seemed to seal up a clear cut win for Michael. The best case scenario for Brooks was a draw thanks to an unlikely — but deserved — 10-8 score for round three form the judges. However, the judges inexplicably rendered a split=decision that gave him the win! Two of them gave him round five — where he was nearly knocked out and submitted. Despite a competitive fight, this was one of the biggest robberies in MMA history, in my opinion. There is just no way you can even argue that Brooks won three of the five rounds. But alas, that’s MMA judging for you.

-Opening line: +435 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +900 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +800 — 5Dimes



Larue Burley (+925) upsets Bubba Jenkins (-1400)

Technical Knockout (punches), Round 3

Bellator 100: Lima vs Saunders 9/20/2013


  • The Setting

Bubba Jenkins entered MMA as a blue chip prospect and started his career off as well as you could hope. After a 4-0 start with four finishes, he continued his rise as he took on the unknown LaRue Burley. The intention was the keep developing Bubba by getting him cage time against relatively safe competition but things didn’t exactly go as planned. Jenkins did well early, even securing dominant position at times. But what ultimately failed him was his cardio and defense. Eventually he just didn’t have enough left in the tank to actively fight on and defense himself, and he was overwhelmed by an onslaught of punches. He’s since gotten back on track but I doubt we’ll ever see him as a 14-1 favorites again. At least not any time soon.

-Opening line: +625 — 5Dimes

-Peak line: +925 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +925 — 5Dimes



Emanuel Newton (+975) upsets Muhammed Lawal (-1175)

Knockout (spinning back fist), Round 1

Bellator 90: Martinez vs Shamhalaev


  • The Setting

More marketable and popular? check. Better MMA record? check. More proven? check. Better skill set? check. On paper, much like just about every other upset victim on this list, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal had all the ingredients required to win his fight against the relatively unknown Emanuel Newton. That still wasn’t enough — not even close. Everyone had already crowned “King Mo” as the champ, before he even won the Bellator tournament required to get a title shot, let alone beat its holder. Perhaps Lawal had done so himself as well, because he seemed to have a complete disregard for Newton’s power. From the opening bell “The Hardcore Kid” repeatedly made Mo pay for his hubris with hard right hooks and uppercuts. Mo simply walked through them all, no worse for wear, until the dagger came — a surprise spinning back fist that just barely clipped his jaw. Lawal slowly leaned over before tumbling backwards right into a rear naked choke attempt from Newton, but the choke was not needed. The fight was over and the second biggest upset in MMA history was complete. The pair eventually rematched for the interim Bellator 205-pound title, and while “King Mo” put up a better fight, he still would not be crowned, as Emanuel picked up a clear cut decision in another upset (+340).

-Opening line: +600 — Bookmaker

-Peak line: +975 — 5Dimes

-Closing line: +975 — 5Dimes



Rameau Sokoudjou (+1350) upsets Antonio Nogueira (-2300)

Knockout (punch), Round 1

PRIDE 33: The Second Coming, 4/24/2007
  • The Setting

Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogeuira, then 12-2 as a mixed martial artist and 9-1 over his last 10 fights specifically, was fed a completely unknown fighter named Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Two fights removed from his Fight of the Year against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Nogueira had been relatively inactive so they gave him a perceived softball who was coming off a KO loss against another then-unknown, Glover Teixeira. No even one gave the Cameroonian a snowball’s chance in hell. This was not the first squash match the PRIDE Fighting Championship put together, nor the last. However it was the first time and last time an underdog priced over +1000 won a fight in mixed martial arts, as Sokoudjou stormed out of the gate and crumpled the Brazilian with blistering speed and power in just 23 seconds. It was actually a missed punch that connected with the forearm area that put Rogerio’s lights out, which goes to show the kind of power “Soko” packs in his stocky frame. “The African Assassin” would go on to score an additional upset as a 3-1 underdog vs another established PRIDE veteran, Ricardo Arona, in his next fight. Unfortunately, just five fights into his MMA career, that would be Sokoudjou’s peak as he never did much afterwards. He had failed stints in the UFC and Strikeforce, compiling a combined 1-4 record, making him the ultimate flash in the pan.

-Opening line: +1350 –Bookmaker

-Peak line: +1550 — Bookmaker

-Closing line: +1350 — Bookmaker



  1. (+1350) Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou upsets Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  2. (+975) Emanuel Newton upsets Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
  3. (+925) Larue Burley upsets Bubba Jenkins
  4. (+800) Will Brooks upsets Michael Chandler
  5. (+765) T.J. Dillashaw upsets Renan Barao
  6. (+750) Joey Beltran upsets Rolles Gracie
  7. (+735) Johnny Eduardo upsets Eddie Wineland
  8. (+725) Frankie Edgar upsets B.J. Penn
  9. (+700) Matt Serra upsets Georges St-Pierre
  10. (+700) Chad Griggs upsets Bobby Lashley
  11. (+700) Sergey Golyaev upsets Takanori Gomi
  12. (+660) Thiago Santos upsets Ronny Markes
  13. (+650) Mike Wilkinson upsets Niklas Backstrom
  14. (+600) Pat Curran upsets Roger Huerta
  15. (+585) Joe Lauzon upsets Jens Pulver
  16. (+550) Frankie Edgar upsets Tyson Griffin
  17. (+525) Tito Ortiz upsets Ryan Bader
  18. (+500) Zoila Frausto Gurgel upsets Megumi Fujii
  19. (+500) Jan Nortje upsets Bob Sapp
  20. (+475) Chan Sung Jung upsets Mark Hominick
Luca Fury
Luca Fury is a professional sports bettor as well as the founder of FurysFightPicks.com. After sharing his highly profitable MMA bets publicly for multiple years, Luca is considered by many to be the #1 handicapper of the sport. Whether you're a serious gambler and fan of MMA, or new to both, you can benefit from Fury's expert advice that has proven to win consistently and profit longterm.

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