It was a busy weekend for MMA fans, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship staged two events that featured 25 combined fights. “The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale” took place on Friday in Las Vegas, while UFC Fight Night 142 went down on Saturday in Adelaide, Australia. While most of the betting favorites emerged victorious, a few underdogs saw their hands raised. There were six upsets between the two cards:
Mauricio Rua (+415)
Far and away the biggest underdog of the weekend to cash was the legendary “Shogun,” as he violently finished Tyson Pedro with punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 142 co-main event. With Rua coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Anthony Smith, few predicted he would turn the page so quickly against a prospect like Pedro. After a tough first round, Rua dominated the fight and put it to bed in the third. The odds on “Shogun” winning as an underdog were +415.
Anthony Rocco Martin (+130)
In a battle of welterweights on the rise, Martin got the best of Jake Matthews with a third-round submission. Martin is now a perfect 3-0 since moving to 170 pounds, and after he choked Matthews unconscious, many believe he deserves a step up in competition. For now, he will have to settle with winning his backers cash at +130 odds. It was his second straight win as an underdog.
Wilson Reis (+125)
Another upset saw Reis outwrestle Ben Nguyen to a unanimous decision. Reis entered the cage on a three-fight losing streak, but the oddsmakers must have forgotten that two of those losses were to Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo. Pitted against a fighter with suspect takedown defense in Nguyen, Reis in hindsight should have been the betting favorite. As it stands, he was the underdog and cashed out at +125 odds.
Macy Chiasson (-105)
Historically, there have been plenty of upsets at “Ultimate Fighter” finales, and we can add Chiasson to the list of underdogs who have won the reality show. The women’s featherweight final between Chiasson and Pannie Kianzad at “The Ultimate Fighter 28” Finale may have been listed as a pick-’em fight at the sportsbooks, but the fight itself was not even close. Chiasson dominated Kianzad in the striking and grappling exchanges before she drew the curtain with a second-round submission. Chiasson cashed as a slight -105 underdog for those who bet on her.
Kevin Aguilar (+105)
One of the most memorable performances at “The Ultimate Fighter 28” Finale was provided by Kevin Aguilar, who battered Rick Glenn to a unanimous decision in his UFC debut. Aguilar’s showing on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series was not overly impressive, but the former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion showed Glenn why he was such a highly touted prospect. After spending most of fight week as the favorite, Aguilar ended up closing as a +105 underdog.
Joseph Benavidez (+100)
After Benavidez lost a split decision to Sergio Pettis his last time out, many bettors were down on the longtime contender: He was an underdog in his fight against upstart Alex Perez at “The Ultimate Fighter 28” Finale. As good as Perez has looked in the Octagon thus far, Benavidez jumped back in the win column and showed there are different levels to this game with a vicious first-round technical knockout. Even if the UFC jettisons its flyweight division as expected, Benavidez figures to stick around at 135 pounds.
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.