Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 10 Greatest Upsets in MMA History

10. Kazuyuki Fujita vs Mark Kerr-Pride 2000 Grand Prix
Mark Kerr was probably the favorite in this whole tournament and thats saying something because at the time this was the deepest pool of talent ever brought together in MMA. Kerr truly was a beast in the ring with amazing strength, wrestling and the best striking of any wrestler at the time. This was only Fujita's 4th pro MMA bout so not much was known about him. As the fight began Kerr looked like he was gonna walk right through the Japanese wrestler and landed a huge knee to the chin of Fujita. But "Iron Head" just ate the knee that would have knocked out any normal human being(of course now we know about his legendary chin) and ended up outworking Kerr for a decision win.

9. Randy Couture vs Vitor Belfort-UFC 15
If you know anything about MMA you knew before even reading this article that Randy "The Natural" Couture was gonna be on this list and probably more than once. Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort was truly gonna be the young Mike Tyson of MMA. I mean this guy ended fights quick, the longest fight he had before he met Couture was a minute and 17 seconds. This is the fight that started the legend of Randy Couture as he just completely dominated the Phenom with wrestling, dirty boxing and ground and pound, eventually stopping Vitor at 8:16 of the first round.

8. Fedor Emelianenko vs Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera-Pride 23 Body Blow
Back in good ole 2003(bad if your a Cubs fan like myself!)Minotauro Nogueira was an unquestioned dominate fighter, he had won 13 consecutive fights and most recently avenging a loss to Dan Henderson. Not much was known about Fedor except that he dominated the RINGS organization for a awhile and won his first 2 fights in Pride (Semmy Schilt and Heath Herring) with relative ease, but Nogueira was the man. What followed was a beautiful display of punching someone's face over and over and over again, but seriously Fedor put on an MMA clinic against Nogueira. Fedor just completely dominated the best fighter in the world at the time and he even went to the ground on purpose to show that Sambo was better than jiu-jitsu.

7. Randy Couture vs Chuck Liddell 1-UFC 43
Chuck Liddell was running through people before he faced Randy Couture. It was clear from the sound of the bell that Couture had a good gameplan and he was gonna stick to it. Using his incredible Greco-Roman wrestling and an unorthodox striking style Couture just stayed on Liddell like a shadow, he did't let him breathe for a second. He eventually got the stoppage in the third round to seal the upset.

6. Forrest Griffin vs Mauricio Shogun Rua-UFC 76
This is a fight that quite frankly astounded me when I watched it. Shogun was just coming over from Pride and he was a machine. Shogun would just come at his opponents with tremendous cardio, muay-thai, aggressiveness and heart. Which is why when he gassed against Forrest I was pretty damn shocked. Taking nothing away from Griffin but most in the MMA world were expecting Shogun to not let Griffin out of the first round.

5. Takanori Gomi vs Nick Diaz-Pride 33
This fight is one of the best fights you'll ever see in the history of MMA and produced one of the best submissions in MMA also. The outcome was a pretty big suprise, Gomi was considered the best lightweight in the world. We knew Diaz was good but against Gomi most thought he couldn't handle the Fireball Kid. Diaz got rocked in the first round but quickly regained his composure and kept a torrid pace on Gomi. Long story short Gomi gassed, and fell into a beautiful gogoplata by Nick.

4. BJ Penn vs Matt Hughes 1-UFC 46
Matt Hughes literally tore through his opponents in the welterweight division before running into the Prodigy. Everyone knew Penn was talented, but he had failed to win the lightweight title and was trying a move to welterweight. The only way to describe this fight is complete and total domination by Penn, this is a fight that started the MMA fan's love affair with the Prodigy. Penn sunk in a rear naked choke to seal the deal in the closing seconds of the first round.

3. Kevin Randleman vs Mirko Crocop-Pride Total Elimination 2004
In 2004 Crocop was considered the man that would finally take down the Russian Experiment Fedor Emelianenko. He was running through everyone and in brutal fashion. Randleman was a solid fighter, but he was a wrestler and Crocop basically owned any pure wrestler that stood in his way. The Monster Randleman caught Crocop with a beautifully placed left hook and dropped the Croatian Sensation and finished him with some brutal ground punches that ended the fight in under 2 minutes.

2. Gabriel Gonzaga vs Mirko Crocop-UFC 70
Crocop was at the height of his career at the time of this fight he had just won the Open Weight Grand Prix tournament, beating Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett. Also dominating in his first UFC fight against Eddie Sanchez. To the suprise of most watching the fight, Gonzaga landed a Crocop-like high kick that completely knocked the croatian unconscious. Crocop also went on to lose his next UFC fight against Cheik Kongo, another fight he was heavily favored to win.

1. Matt Serra vs Georges St. Pierre-UFC 69
Matt Serra was just coming off winning the Ultimate Fighter 4, the show where fighters with experience had a shot to resurrect their careers. Georges St. Pierre looked like an unstoppable force at the time with his amazing athletic skills and coming off beating some impressive opponents. In succession he beat Jason Miller, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, BJ Penn and then Matt Hughes for the title. Well, easy pick right, wrong Serra came out confident and showed some heavy hands stunning GSP on numorous occasions. Finishing with a flurry of uncontested shots to GSP's face on the ground. This was the greatest upset in MMA history in my opinion.

There have been so many big upsets and especially the last year that its hard to boil it down to just 10, but this is my list of fights that really shocked me.


Anonymous said...

Good list. Sok vs. Minotoro and Sakuraba vs. Schembri are honerable mentions lol.

Anonymous said...

Well said

Anonymous said...

Matt Hughes "literally" tore through his opponents? Really?

Anonymous said...

might also want to add that the vegas odds of GSP vs Serra were 11-1 at one point. biggest upset by far!

Anonymous said...

Great list, though I'm surprised to see Couture vs. Sylvia missing.

MCJ said...

Wise choices, excellent layout--another good post, my friend.

Anonymous said...

These are almost all recent fights.

Ryan said...

This list is horrible. ONLY 1,2,3,4 and 10 were real upsets. The rest were great style match ups.

Real upsets are like Sakuraba vs Schembri, Mat Lindland vs Falaniko Vitale. Joe Lauzon vs Jens Pulver, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

An upset is when the underdog is losing the fight or supposed to lose in a spectacular fashion but ends up winning with a KO or submission.

Anonymous said...

During the Pride 2000 grandprix, a relative unknown fighter name Sakaraba fought the infamous Royce Gracie for over an hour and made him quit.

Anonymous said...

okay list but you left out Mo Smith vs Mark Coleman, Chuck vs Kevin Randleman(the monster was thought to be unbeatable back then), and the greatest upset of them all time was a relatively unknown professional wrestler name Sakaraba fighting the Mighty Royce Gracie for over an hour and made him quit.

Anonymous said...

It's an ok list. Sakuraba vs. Nino should probably be near the top of any upset list, though, and it isn't even on there. What about Coleman-Williams and Sok's 2 big wins in PRIDE over little Nog and Arona? Those are probably bigger upsets than most of what is on this list.

Anonymous said...

Where is Marcus Aurelio choking out Pride 160 lbs champion Takanori Gomi? That was a relative unknown/ underdog submitting a champion!

Anonymous said...

Fedor first fought nogueira pride.25 not pride.23

Anonymous said...

fedor fought nogueira for the first time in pride.25. they never fought at the pride.23

mr. incredible said...

good list! it is tough to name all the great upsets but you did well! i liked watching all those fights too!

Anonymous said...

Nice list, even if you don't know what literally means.

Avinoam said...

chuck vs jardine?

Anonymous said...

Pulver vs bj was a bad one for me.

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head, the 2 that stand out the most(bc im still not happy about them) is GSP vs. Serra 1 & Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell :( that i think about it almost all of Keith Jardines fights,lol(vs.Griffin, vs.Houston Alexander,vs. Liddell) Randleman vs. CroCop for sure and here's an old school one for ya, Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman!!