When fighters step into the Octagon, neither they nor the audience know what will go down. UFC matchups are highly unpredictable, and events have seen some massive upsets over the years. Fighters who sportsbooks, pundits and fans believed had less chance of winning have proved everyone wrong.
Underdogs are considered less likely to win, so betting on them is riskier but, if they produce an upset, will pay out more. Their inconsistency makes it harder to predict what the outcome of an event will be, and the underestimation of them by sportsbooks can lead to value betting opportunities if you get your betting strategy right. Below is a look at the importance of analyzing historical upsets and at some of the biggest upsets in the UFC.
Why analyzing upsets is important for your betting strategy
Betting on underdogs is thrilling, but before betting on an underdog, you should look at stats, recent performances and other data because sometimes an underdog isn’t as outmatched as data might suggest. Despite their inconsistent form, do they have a history of rising to the big occasion, for instance?
When it comes to betting on underdogs, it’s worth noting in other sports that underdogs who are playing in their home stadium tend to win more. The home crowd is on their side and the team doesn’t have to travel for the game, whereas the visiting team must travel and has less time to rest before the game. Is the underdog fighting in their hometown, city or state?
Betting on an underdog isn’t always about past performance, however. Sometimes fighters have “beef” with each other or there are other motivating factors that drive an underdog to fight harder. Recent comments or a historical matchup might encourage them to push heavier for the win.
Huge UFC upsets
Sometimes, the whole world expects a fighter to be dominant in a matchup, to absolutely overwhelm the other fighter and for the match to last only a short duration. Other times, the fighter may be considered capable of going the distance but still not expected to get their hand raised at the end of the bout. The UFC has witnessed some great upsets, however.
Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey (UFC 193)
Stylistically, Holly Holm was Ronda Rousey’s worst nightmare, but she was relatively new to the Octagon and Ronda Rousey had been so dominant in the cage that everyone thought the champ successfully defending her belt against Holm was a foregone conclusion so the UFC odds. were stacked in the favor of Rousey. On the night, Holm struck Rousey with vicious shots and then quickly moved, making it difficult for Rousey to land anything of her own or get within grappling range. Holm rounded off the performance with a brutal head kick that dropped Rousey before moving in to deliver some hammer fists that forced the referee to step in and end the fight in Holm’s favor. Holm may well have felt secretly satisfied to walk away the champion since there had been animosity towards her from Rousey.
Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk (UFC 217)
When “Thug” Rose challenged Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the women’s strawweight title at UFC 217, Jędrzejczyk had been dominant in her division. Namajunas was an underdog at +500 on the betting lines, and her best chance of beating the Muay Thai specialist was thought to be on the ground. In the buildup to the fight, Jędrzejczyk had been brimming with confidence — some might say to the point of cockiness, arrogance or disrespect — but Namajunas didn’t respond to the words or the aggression. Instead, she remained calm and focused, and on the night dropped the champion twice with punches in the first round and finished the job at the second time of asking in that round.
Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman (UFC 162)
“The Spider” Anderson Silva was another formidable champion and could have been the most dominant one in history if Chris Weidman hadn’t stopped him at UFC 162. As the Brazilian took control of the first round, he taunted Weidman for not engaging with him. The taunting continued in the second round, but Wiedman, realizing he was gradually closing the distance between him and Silva, stayed calm and focused until he saw his opportunity. A moment of carelessness from Silva allowed Weidman to catch him with a left hook that felled the champion, creating opportunity for Weidman to follow up with further punches and take Silva’s title from him.
Betting on underdog fighters if you research correctly and choose the right betting strategy can be lucrative. UFC matches are immensely unpredictable and have seen some wild upsets. Other shock defeats witnessed inside the Octagon include Michael Bisping beating Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, Julianna Peña submitting Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 and Matt Serra triumphing over George St Pierre at UFC 69.