The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday made its debut in Beijing, and the event turned out to be something of a sleeper: A number of fights ended in highlight-reel finishes, many of which were of the upset variety. In total, five fighters won as outright underdogs, and they are front and center in this installment of Beating the Books.
Francis Ngannou (+200)
The UFC Fight Night 141 main event saw a huge upset go down when Ngannou needed just 45 seconds to brutally knock out Curtis Blaydes. Ngannou had previously defeated Blaydes via TKO in 2016, but after a rough start to this year -- two losses to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis had him reeling -- most figured the red-hot Blaydes would be able to win their rematch. That was not the case, however, as Ngannou clubbed Blaydes with a huge right hand early in the fight and managed to finish it when the referee stepped in due to Blaydes not defending himself. The odds on Ngannou to win the rematch with Blaydes were +200.
Alistair Overeem (+115)
The co-headliner saw Overeem get back in the win column with a first-round TKO of the previously undefeated Sergei Pavlovich. Overeem had lost back-to-back fights by knockout to Blaydes and Ngannou, and most expected Pavlovich to do the same to him. However, Overeem refused to let that happen and showed the MMA world he still has plenty left in the tank with an impressive win over Pavlovich, who endured a most disappointing UFC debut. The odds on Overeem springing the upset were +115.
Alex Morono (+120)
The “Fight of the Night” featured Morono and Kenan Song going toe-to-toe in an entertaining three-round battle, with the former pulling off the unanimous decision after 15 minutes. Morono had dropped a decision to Jordan Mein in his last fight, while Song was coming off of two straight knockout wins. Morono cashed at +120 underdog odds.
Yanan Wu (+290)
The biggest upset of the night in terms of odds saw Wu submit Lauren Mueller in the first round. Wu was not expected to emerge victorious in this fight over the undefeated Mueller. No only did she secure the win, but she got the finish, as well. She entered the cage as a massive +290 underdog.
Rashad Coulter (+105)
Coulter netted his first UFC win when he defeated Yaozong Hu via decision. Coulter had been knocked out in his three prior Octagon appearances at heavyweight, but he appeared to be in better shape at 205 pounds and it showed; he won by decision for the first time in his career. Coulter opened as the favorite but closed as a +105 underdog.
Adam Martin is a mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2011. He is currently the lead odds analyst for Sherdog.com, as well as the lead staff writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com. Adam is also the co-host of “The Parting Shot Podcast” on iTunes. His favorite fight of all-time is Dan Henderson-Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and he wishes Pride Fighting Championships never died. Adam is based out of Toronto, and he is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Centennial College. Get in touch with him on Twitter at @MMAdamMartin.