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Serra Lights Up St-Pierre or Holm Kicks Rousey: What Is the Biggest UFC Upset of All Time?

There’s nothing like an upset in a sport as purely physical as MMA. It’s just strength, technique, mental makeup and size — nothing more, nothing less — that makes a great fighter. Luck is rarely involved. And yet, every once in a while we get someone who is clearly inferior in one or multiple of those departments to pull out a win against the elite of the elite. That’s the good stuff. Today we’re looking at the two greatest upsets in UFC history and debating which was more profound — and we’re going to rank them Nos. 1 and 2.

Biggest UFC Upsets Ever: Serra-St-Pierre and Holm-Rousey

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2. UFC 69: Matt Serra def. Georges St-Pierre

Pre-Fight Odds to Win: +850

There are plenty of UFC fans who will swear that this is the greatest upset of all-time, and there is plenty of evidence to back that up. St-Pierre was a -1300 favorite, was seven years younger than Serra, had a massive size and reach advantage on him, and was 13-1 for his career compared to Serra’s unimpressive 9-4. There’s also the matter of Serra following up this win with losses in three of his next four fights — including the rematch with St-Pierre — before retiring in 2010.

St-Pierre, on the other hand, never lost again and is rightfully on the shortlist of greatest fighters in UFC history.

Just look at those two touch gloves. Visually this is an insane mismatch, and on paper it’s even more lopsided.

Yet the UFC doesn’t operate on paper (is canvas paper? No, right?). Serra’s small stature worked to his advantage, as he was a small target that St-Pierre couldn’t seem to hit. He frustrated St-Pierre enough to get him on his heels, and then Serra caught St-Pierre in the second round to put him on the ground.

St-Pierre got up but was dazed, and Serra took advantage, catching him over and over until St-Pierre stopped recovering.

Was this a fluke? Almost certainly. Was it awesome, nonetheless? Absolutely.

So why is it not No. 1? Well, and this is no slight to St-Pierre, the loser of our No. 1 fight is possibly the most famous UFC character ever and arguably had the most dominant run in the promotion’s history.

1. UFC 193: Holly Holm def. Ronda Rousey

Pre-Fight Odds to Win: +830

Though Holm was not quite as big of an underdog at UFC 193 as Serra was at UFC 69, she gets the top spot for one simple reason: People had legitimate reason to believe Rousey would never lose. She seemed completely invincible at that point in her career, having won four straight fights in under a minute (eight wins in under a minute total) and getting a finish in the first round in all but one of her 12 wins.

The famous armbar was her calling card, but Rousey won via strikes in three of her last four fights. She was the total package, and though Holm was undefeated and one of the biggest threats to Rousey yet, few were truly concerned.

But then, come UFC 193, Holm got through the first round — convincingly. She outstruck Rousey despite throwing fewer, and just one minute into the second round, Rousey seemed frazzled and dazed as she approached Holm. Then the unthinkable happened.

With Rousey stunned and unprotected, Holm landed a brutal head kick to put Rousey out. And thus, the streak was over.

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