The world is still reeling in shock from the unbelievable upset at UFC 193. The world’s most dominant and unstoppable female fighter has fallen, reminding us once again that no fighter is truly invincible in this world. Holly Holm’s knockout win over Ronda Rousey provides an exhilarating moment that reminds us of the many times seemingly unbeatable fighters have fallen to an opponent that no one ever believed in.
Today, Evolve Daily takes a look at 8 Of The Most Shocking Knockout Upsets In Combat Sports:
1) James “Buster” Douglas vs. Mike Tyson
Back in 1990, Mike Tyson was undefeated in 37 fights with 33 of the most viscous knockouts ever witnessed in boxing’s long, rich history. So naturally, when James “Buster” Douglas – a journeyman from Columbus, Ohio – challenged “The Baddest Man on the Planet” for the WBC, WBA, IBF and The Ring Heavyweight titles, he was rated as the 42-1 underdog. In other words, no one on earth with a sane mind gave him a chance at all.
But when the two met at the Tokyo Dome in Japan back in 1990, the world witnessed arguably the biggest upset in all of combat sports history. Douglas dominated for almost the entire fight before knocking Tyson out a furious combination in the 10th round, handing Tyson his first and most shocking defeat and singlehandedly changing the entire landscape of boxing at that time.
2) Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman
Back in 1974, George Foreman was the epitome of dominance and devastation in the boxing ring. Even a fighter as great as Muhammad Ali, was not given the slightest chance against the Big Geroge. Hell, even Foreman believed he was going to tear through “The People’s Champion” with ease. And understandably so; Foreman was demolishing every single person that’s been put in front of him in all of his 40 bouts leading up to the fight.
But in one of the most dramatic upsets in history, Ali used the now famous “rope-a-dope” tactic to tire Foreman and knock him out cold in the eighth round. The moment is the reason why the fight dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle” will always remain perhaps the greatest moment of Muhammad Ali’s legendary career.
3) Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey – one of the greatest and most dominant female athletes in the world. That was what everyone believed, and after all that she has done in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), that was what Rousey deserved to be regarded as. Up till November of 2015, many considered Rousey to be the most dominant and relentless fighter since boxing’s Mike Tyson. But that all changed on November 14th 2015 when Rousey was knocked out cold by Holly Holm at UFC 193.
For anyone who doesn’t watch MMA, it’s hard to imagine that an undefeated MMA fighter like Holm who was also a former 18-time boxing world champion, would ever be an 8.25-1 underdog against any other fighter in the world. But that was just how hard it was to imagine UFC’s first Women’s Bantamweight Champion ever being beaten. Nevertheless, Holm performed everyone’s expectations and proved once again that no one in the world of combat sports in truly unbeatable.
4) Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre I
Many would compare the Rousey-Holm upset to the Serra-GSP upset at UFC 69. At that time, newly crowned welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was the face of UFC; the fighter that represented the future of the fastest growing sport in the world. But all that hype came to a screening halt when he collided with Serra for his first title defense.
Serra, was regarded as the “undeserving” title contender by many. But it took him no more than the first round to prove to everyone that he had every right to be in there with the champ. With one swinging right hook, Serra sent St-Pierre scrambling all over the cage. After that shot, it was only a matter of time; Serra continued to hurt the young champion with a series of strikes before raining down more punches on the ground to earn himself the TKO victory.
5) Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva I
Before UFC 162, the entire MMA world was pretty convinced that Anderson Silva was indeed invincible. And it’s not hard to see why; with his knockout ability and godlike reflexes, “The Spider” did things in the cage that no one thought was ever possible. But unbeknown to most MMA fans, current UFC Middleweight Champion Weidman wasn’t an ordinary fighter either. That night at UFC 162, he shook up the MMA world, impressively braving through Silva’s usual taunting antics and knocking the supposed G.O.A.T. out cold with a single left hook.
6) Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao IV
Having already seen three of their heavily contested bouts together, many fans might not consider Juan Manuel Marquez’s knockout over Manny Pacquiao in their fourth meeting to be an upset; but it is certainly one of the most emotional and heart-breaking knockouts to watch. With one perfect right cross, Marquez broke the hearts of millions around the world and put an end to his long-time rival.
Manny Pacquiao isn’t just one of the greatest boxers to ever live; he’s also one of the most beloved champions in history. Like it or not, this moment will remain as one of the biggest upsets in history for many boxing fans around the world.
7) TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao I
Before UFC 173, then reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion, Renan Barao was undefeated for 9 years and 32 fights. His role as the main event of UFC 173 was merely a last minute resort to an injured Chris Weidman pulling out of his fight against Lyoto Machida. So TJ Dillashaw, the only viable contender available, was asked to step in. And naturally, no one gave Dillashaw a chance. In fact, many have not even heard of the young Team Alpha Male fighter leading up to the fight.
But that all changed very quickly when the bell rung as Dillashaw shocked the MMA world with how much he had improved from the last time they saw him in the cage. He beat Barao to the punch; besting him in almost every exchange. In the 5th round, Dillashaw rocked Barao with a stunning head kick, which allowed him to finish the job with a multitude of strikes. This will most likely remain as one of the biggest underdog stories in all of combat sports.
8) George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer
In 1994, 27-year-old Michael Moorer was already a world champion in both lightheavyweight and heavyweight and undefeated in 6 years and 35 fights. George Foreman on the other hand, was 45 years old and way past the days where he was running through everyone like a freight train. The two met that year and as expected, Foreman was battered round after round. And then, “it happened”. Foreman knocked Moorer down in the 10th with stiff right hand in one of the most incredible comeback stories in boxing, becoming the oldest fighter ever to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
These moments no doubt remind us of why we love martial arts so much!