The UFC never fails to bring a wow moment. A champion taking a shock defeat, or a heavy favourite losing out on their number one contender fight, we get to see it all. In this article, we’re going to give you our list of the top five upsets from recent years inside the UFC. We hope you enjoy reading.
5. Renan Barao vs TJ Dillashaw
Renan Barao was a dominant champion if ever there was one. On a 32 fight win streak and the UFC bantamweight champion for four years beating everyone in his way. He beat names like Uriah Faber, Michal Mcdonald and Brad Pickett in his time of total dominance before coming up against TJ Dillashaw.
Dillashaw had impressed in previous fights, but nobody expected him to dethrone the Brazilian champion in the fashion that he did. Dillashaw had lost to John Dodson and Raphael Assuncao in previous fights but beat Mike Easton in a fairly unimpressive fight by decision before getting his shot at the 135-pound strap. At UFC 173, Renan Barao was scheduled to fight Raphael Assuncao, but Assuncao had a rib injury from his previous fight which hadn’t healed properly. This left the door open for Dillashaw to fill in at short notice and he jumped at the opportunity.
Dillashaw looked like the champion in that fight, he completely dominated and Barao was outclassed in every aspect of the fight. Dillashaw was first with every punch and kick and Barao had no answers for the questions being asked of him from the American. In the fifth round Barao couldn’t withstand any more punishment, Dillashaw landed a head kick which would have toppled over an elephant before landing some finishing punches to end the fight.
Barao’s unbeaten streak was over and it was TJ Dillashaw who would now carry the torch for the UFC’s 135lb division.
4. Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt
Despite being plagued with injuries, Dominick Cruz was dominant in the bantamweight division for nine years. He never lost his title but was forced to hand in his beloved champion status due to not defending his belt. Although, he won it back the first time of asking, despite fighting only once in a five year spell away from the sport. Cruz has beaten some of the best fighters MMA has to offer over the years, with names like Demetrius Johnson, Uriah Hall and the before mentioned TJ Dillashaw, all falling victim to “The Dominator”.
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt was up and coming and was fierce. He clearly had no fear of Cruz and felt he was the man to end Cruz’s reign at the top of the bantamweight division. “No Love” was knocking out everyone in his path with his explosive fists. He possesses such punching power he would illuminate the octagon when he caught his opponent with a deadly hook or uppercut. But Cruz was confident in his footwork and imagined he would be able to evade the devastating strikes from Garbrandt, but boy was he wrong!
“No Love” finally got his shot at UFC 207 after enduring a 10 fight win streak. Early on in the fight, it was clear that Garbrandt was much faster than Cruz had imagined. Garbrandt was able to close the distance, strike Cruz, and return to a safe distance before Cruz could land a counter strike. This was infuriating for “The Dominator” as this is what he had done to opponents for so many years. Garbrandt was literally dancing and mocking Cruz, then landing more strikes and returned to mocking. “No Love” won the fight with a convincing decision victory, leaving the UFC bantamweight division shocked and impressed. Garbrandt is the real deal and nobody will ever underestimate him again.
3. Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman
Anderson Silva holds the longest-serving middleweight champion title of all time inside the UFC. He held the belt for over seven years and was on a 16 fight win streak, defending his middleweight crown 10 times. Many wondered if Silva was apart of the matrix by the way he dodged and ducked his opponent’s strikes and landed his own strikes with such ease and fluidity. Many think Silva is the greatest fighter of all time and he has earned that accolade with victories over Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Forest Griffin, just to name a few. Nobody expected the king of the middleweight division to be dethroned quite the way he did.
Chris Weidman, however, was hungry. He had procured a 9-0 pro record and was looking great in his fights. “The All-American” had shown he had knockout power of his own, but he also had a great ground game and a wrestling ability to match. Weidman also looked fearless in his fights and was ready to face the Brazilian. Make no mistake about it, the king was not going to be receiving any respect from the hungry American.
At UFC 162 we all expected another highlight reel finish from Silva to add to his growing collection. We all knew Weidman had great potential, but we didn’t expect what was soon to follow. “The All-American” started off strong, however, neither fighter was in complete control of the fight. But, in the second round, Silva was ducking and swaying Weidman‘s punches, until Weidman caught the Brazilian right on the chin. As Silva dropped like he’d just been dealt a swift kick in the crown jewels, Weidman pounced, and Silva’s inability to recover forced the referee to call an end to the action and the middleweight division had a new champion in Chris Weidman.
2. Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm
Ronda Rousey was the reason female MMA took off so well in the UFC. Her Olympic judo and exceptional arm-bars became a thing of beauty and a regular occurrence during her time at the top of the woman’s UFC bantamweight division. Rousey had an undefeated record of 12-0 and was easily dismantling every challenge the UFC put in front of her. She was relishing her time at the forefront of women’s MMA.
Holly Holm had only been on the MMA circuit a short while, however, she had an extensive record in both boxing and kickboxing and had collected multiple accolades in her time in both sports. She had also gained a 9-0 pro-MMA record in four short years and had earned her toughest fight yet, a shot at Ronda Rousey, The Pioneer of women’s MMA period.
Many didn’t know what to expect from this fight. It was the most intriguing fight MMA fans and experts were most excited for. Rousey had made no reason to ever doubt her abilities by being so dominant, but Holm had tools which Rousey had never had to deal with prior to her fight with “The Preachers Daughter”. But it was at UFC 193 Holly Holm shocked the world. Rousey marched to the octagon with her war face on, ready to demolish another victim, while an anxious Holm awaited her fate. But after Bruce Buffer announced the two ladies and the referee let them know what was expected of them, the fight commenced.
Rousey flew at Holm trying to close the distance early on, but Holm was able to keep the distance and land her shots on the champion. Rousey grew more and more frustrated as “The Preachers Daughter” was able to dodge and duck all the champions efforts and kept on landing her own shots. Holm was making a mockery of Rousey and there was nothing she could do about it. 57 seconds into the second round, Holm landed her famous Cro–Cop styled head kick, and the champion dropped. Holm had done it! The UFC’s greatest female champion had been defeated, and Holm was the new queen of the women’s bantamweight division.
1. Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping
Luke Rockhold was enjoying life in the UFC. Prior to signing with the UFC, he was the Strikeforce middleweight champion and showed the wide range of skills that he possessed. Legit knockout power in his hands, ferocious kicks, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game even Royce Gracie would approve of. Despite losing to a roided up Vitor Belfort in his first fight for the UFC, Rockhold went on a five-fight win streak to win the UFC middleweight title, defeating Michael Bisping, Lyoto Machida and the champion Chris Weidman all in fairly straightforward fashion. Many thought we may see another middleweight champion as dominant as Anderson Silva if previous fights were anything to go by.
Michael Bisping, however, was waiting to fulfill his destiny, and since losing to Rockhold had gone on a three-fight win streak defeating CB Dollaway, Thales Leites, and Anderson Silva. The 10-year UFC veteran knew his time was running out to ever become the UFC champion he had forever wished he’d one day become. But at UFC 199, Rockhold was scheduled to fight Chris Weidman in a rematch, but an injury forced “The All-American” off the card. On just 10 days notice, Bisping got the call he had always dreamed of, a title shot. “The Count” was pursuing his acting career and was in the middle of shooting a film, but turning down the fight wasn’t an option. He accepted immediately and got a flight straight home to begin the growling weight cut to 185lbs.
Rockhold looked arrogant as always and seemed to think he was too good and couldn’t be touched. After the last time these two collided, Rockhold felt that Bisping had nothing in his arsenal that could trouble him and it was only a matter of time that an opportunity would present itself and he’d be able to finish Bisping again. But he couldn’t have been more wrong. After throwing a straight punch at Bisping, the Englishman was able to move to the left of Rockhold and land a left hook over his opponent’s shoulder. Rockhold dropped like a led balloon. Every fan watching in the UK was leaping out of their seats as Rockhold scrambled back to his feet, but Bisping landed another left hook which dropped Rockhold again. Bisping then landed a three punch combination to the face of the stunned American and the ref jumped in to save him. Bisping had done it! 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears were worth it as Bisping roared when Bruce Buffer announced: “AND NEW”.
What an amazing sports MMA really is. We look forward to many more of these moments in the future.