Top 20 Upsets in MMA History: Part Two
Ok here it is, part two of the top 20 upsets in MMA:10-1. Once again, these are in no order and from memory. Let's take a look.
10. Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic vs Kevin Randleman
Mirko Cro Cop was a force to be reckoned with when he and Kevin Randleman met in the PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2004.
With nine wins in MMA including two draws with Nobuhiko Takada and Wanderlei Silva, and only one loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko was one of the favorites to win the tournament and a fight with Heavyweight Champ Fedor Emelianenko was on the horizon.
Then the fight with Randleman happened. The two men engaged standing for a bit, then Randleman rushed Mirko into a corner and held on for about a minute until the ref broke them up. With Cro Cop now cautious of Randleman's brute strength and takedown ability, he was less worried of taking a punch than getting slammed on his head.
Randleman faked a shoot attempt that made Cro Cop drop his hands slightly, then after a few seconds it happened.
Kevin throws a hard left hook to Mirko's head that lands square on the jaw, dropping the Croatian to the mat. Randleman jumps on top and finishes the job off by landing a series of punishing hammer fists to Cro Cop's jaw and the ref ends the fight.
Cro Cop was out of the tournament and Randleman went on to face Fedor Emelianenko.
9. Randy Couture vs Tito Ortiz
After coming out of retirement and beating Chuck Liddell for the UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Championship belt, the next step for Randy Couture was to fight the Champion at the time, Tito Ortiz.
Tito, who was twelve years younger than Randy, was the UFC's Light Heavyweight Champion since winning the belt in his fight against Wanderlei Silva in 2000, and successfully defended it five times after that against Yuki Kondo, Evan Tanner, Elvis Sinosic, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Ken Shamrock.
For their entire five round fight, Randy Couture dominated Tito Ortiz primarily in the one spot where Ortiz is strongest, on the ground.
Which is no surprise considering that it is Randy Couture, a four time alternate for the Olympic Greco Roman Wrestling team, but to see the young dominant champ being out done and literally spanked by a forty-year-old man that was retired before his last fight was truly something to behold.
By the way, he won and became the UFC Light Heavyweight Champ.
8. Anderson Silva vs Rich Franklin
It's hard to consider Anderson Silva an underdog or to not pick him as a favorite in a fight these days, but many people did just that when he fought Rich Franklin for the Middleweight title in 2006.
Rich Franklin was on an eight-fight win streak with five of those being in the UFC, and with a total record of 20-1-1, he was definitely the top Middleweight in the world. Enter Anderson Silva.
Anderson was coming into the UFC with a less than stellar list of wins as far as high caliber fighters go. But his destruction of Chris Leben, a guy that many thought was impossible to knock out, in his UFC debut got the attention of everybody quick.
After the fight with Leben, Silva was set to fight Franklin for the Middleweight Title on October 14, 2006. That night in Las Vegas, Anderson Silva announced to the world that he had arrived when he destroyed Rich Franklin in the first round with a beautiful Muay Thai clinch, well-placed knees, kicks, and punches to take the Middleweight belt.
7. Forrest Griffin vs Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was thought by many to be the number one Light Heavyweight fighter in the world before his fight with Forrest Griffin in 2007 at UFC 76: Knockout.
Forrest, on the other hand didn't have a huge list of wins over top competition like his opponent. However, the Ultimate Fighter 1 winner was given the opportunity to fight Rua and actually wanted to do it.
The majority of MMA fans thought that Rua would get right past Griffin en route to the title that was held by Quinton Rampage Jackson, whom Rua beat in PRIDE.
That majority didn't include Randy Couture who, once again, was right about a huge upset. The fight was mostly controlled by Griffin with a very high pace that made both men tired. Rua, who is known as a cardio machine, looked exhausted by the second round and was on his back often.
By the end of the third round it seemed that Rua wouldn't even be able to continue and Griffin would grind it out to a decision. Then, with fifteen seconds left in the round, Griffin takes Rua's back and sinks in a Rear Naked choke, forcing Shogun to tap.
Griffin scored his biggest win in his career and one of the biggest upsets of all time.
6. Takanori Gomi vs Nick Diaz
This was a very controversial fight due to Diaz's failed drug test, with the final ruling being a No Contest. But it still doesn't take away what happened.
After Gomi's loss to Marcus Aurelio in 2006 he went back to his winning ways beating David Baron, Marcus Aurelio, and Mitsuhiro Ishida before his fight with Diaz at PRIDE 33.
Diaz was on a three fight win streak after suffering three straight losses to Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs, and Sean Sherk in the UFC.
Diaz and Gomi's fight, which was pretty much a boxing match, was one of the best of the entire year. Both fighters showed tons of heart, but after Diaz was rocked by Gomi and fell to the ground, the Fireball Kid pounced on him only to be caught in a Gogoplata, losing the fight.
That night Diaz beat arguably the best Lightweight on the planet at the time, but thanks to his love for the devil's lettuce it won't count as a win on his record.
5. Randy Couture vs Tim Sylvia
The Natural does it once again. The scenario for this fight was much like Couture-Liddell 1 with Randy coming out of retirement, coming off two straight losses to Chuck Liddell, and fighting one of the best fighters in the UFC who also happened to be the Heavyweight Champion.
Two major differences in this fight: Randy was three months away from turning forty-four years old, and he was fighting at Heavyweight, a weight that he had problems dealing with in fights with Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett.
With that in mind, the fact that Randy was going to take on the much bigger Tim Sylvia for the Heavyweight Title was a little crazy.
But this was Randy Couture we're talking about, the king of upsets.
On March 3, 2007 Randy Couture totally dismantled Tim Sylvia for five rounds from start to finish, almost knocking the big man out in the first few seconds of the fight and won the Heavyweight belt.
We saw a new and improved Randy at Heavyweight, a man with the body and conditioning of someone half his age coupled with the ingenious game plan execution that he's famous for. Randy was back.
4. Kazuyuki Fujita vs Mark Kerr
In reality, Igor Vovchanchyn was the first man in MMA to beat Mark Kerr but it was during the early days of PRIDE when they would sometimes let illegal moves go by and then sometimes enforce them.
In Igor's case he was able to get Kerr in North-South position on the ground and knee Mark into unconsciousness, winning the fight at the time. However, they later changed the ruling to a No Contest because knees to an opponents head on the ground were not legal yet but the ref allowed them.
Anyway, Mark Kerr's official first loss on his record would come by way of Kazuyuki "Ironhead" Fujita in the Pride Grand Prix Finals in 2000.
Kerr, who of course was undefeated, was one of the top heavyweights in MMA at the time, winning two UFC Heavyweight tournaments and dominating everyone that he faced. It was hard to get anyone to fight the massively built and powerful Kerr who was one of the top wrestlers in the game along with Mark Coleman, Kevin Randelman, and Randy Couture.
But it was Fujita who outwrestled Kerr in their match, getting the decision win in the process.
3. Matt Hughes vs BJ Penn
Matt Hughes was, and still is, one of the most dominant fighters in MMA during his first fight with BJ Penn. His list of fights and wins is a who's who of MMA.
After winning the UFC Welterweight Title in 2001 against Carlos Newton, Matt Hughes would successfully defend his title five times against Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton, Gil Castillo, Sean Sherk, and Frank Trigg.
Needless to say, BJ penn, who was moving up from Lightweight, was a big underdog in this fight.
But within the first round BJ was able to take Matt Hughes's back and sink in a Rear Naked choke with less than a minute left in the round. BJ won the Welterweight Title, and then vacated it and left the UFC shortly after.
2. Forrest Griffin vs Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Many people might not view this as an upset after Forrest Griffin's win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and the fact that the decision for this fight was controversial. But I think this is a huge upset.
Quinton Jackson is one of the most dangerous Light Heavyweights on the planet with wins over Chuck Liddell (x2), Dan Henderson, Matt Lindland, Ricardo Arona, Igor Vovchanchyn, and Kevin Randleman to name a few.
Stylistically, Forrest Griffin wasn't a longshot to win this fight, but other than his win with Rua, his record didn't have any top name wins like Rampage.
Forrest was still able to hang in there though for five rounds in the competitive Light Heavyweight title fight, clearly dominating one round on the ground. Forrest put leg kicks to good use and made Rampage limp during the fight from repeated kicks to his left leg.
After the fight, it wasn't very clear who won, at least to me and my friends, but when Forrest's name was said as the new champion one thing was sure; a huge upset had happened.
1. Georges St. Pierre vs Matt Serra
Many will agree that this may be the greatest upset in the history of MMA. After George St. Pierre won the title from Matt Hughes with ease in 2007 it seemed that nobody would be able to take the title away from the young Canadian champion any time soon.
I'm sure nobody on the planet thought that the guy to do it would be Matt Serra.
Matt Serra was a fighter in the UFC that failed to find success after losing to top competition like BJ Penn, Din Thomas, and Karo Parysian. Then he was given the chance of a lifetime on The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback.
After getting past Pete Spratt and Shonie Carter, Serra beat Chris Lytle by split decision in the finals, winning the show and getting a guaranteed shot at Georges St. Pierre for the Welterweight Title.
So on April 7, 2007, Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra fought for the Welterweight title and to everyone's amazement, Serra destroyed St. Pierre at 3:25 of the first round with a series of hooks that dazed Georges and dropped him, leaving Serra to finish him off with ground and pound.
In a fight where he played possibly the biggest underdog of all time, Matt Serra also created possibly the greatest upset of all time.
Mark Hunt vs Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva, Igor Vovchanchyn vs Kazushi Skuraba, Igor Vovchanchyn vs Mark Coleman
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