Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) gave us a lot this year. From memorable title fights to massive events staged during a global pandemic, UFC helped produce some of the best MMA action of 2020.
Outside of the blockbuster matchups that helped make 2020 what it was the promotion also saw countless upsets unfold inside of the Octagon. With so many fights coming together on short notice this year — as well as many unknown fighters competing for the first time — the upsets were bountiful.
Based on pre-fight betting odds and overall action, we’ve compiled the Top 5 biggest UFC upsets of 2020. Enjoy!
5. Damon Jackson (+300) def. Mirsad Bektic (-365) via submission at UFC Vegas 11
There were a couple of 2020 matchups that have bigger underdogs winning but Damon Jackson’s submission win over featherweight contender Mirsad Bektic at UFC Vegas 11 was pretty impressive.
Jackson, who hadn’t competed inside of the Octagon since 2016, stepped up on a few days notice to challenge Bektic in “Sin City.” The veteran fighter had to take a beating over the course of the first two rounds, but Jackson came back in Round 3 and secured a beautiful guillotine choke.
It was Jackson’s first UFC victory despite fighting three times for the promotion from 2014-2016 and easily the biggest win of his career.
4. Sasha Palatnikov (+425) def. Louis Cosce (-540) via TKO at UFC 255
Casual fight fans may not know who Sasha Palatnikov or Louis Cosce are, but the two welterweights turned in one of the best fights of 2020 this past November at UFC 255. Just goes to show that an opening “Prelims” bout can deliver as much as a main event.
Palatnikov, who came into the fight a 4-1 underdog, looked outmatched in the early going. Cosce was able to land his touted power and nearly ended the fight in the opening minutes. Palatnikov was able to push through the adversity and Cosce eventually tired out. That’s when Palatnikov started to take over with crisp combinations and heavy kick attacks. He ended up finishing the welterweight scrap via third-round TKO, winning his UFC debut and handing Cosce his first professional loss in the process.
3. Roxanne Modafferi (+650) def. Maycee Barber (-1000) via UD at UFC 246
Considering Maycee Barber was being talked about as one of the best up-and-coming prospects in women’s MMA today her loss to veteran Roxanne Modafferi had to make this list.
The two women collided at UFC 246 all the way back in January. Barber had some success early but Modafferi was able to weather the storm and take control with her grappling. She even scored a knockdown in Round 2. A bad knee injury for Barber added to the storm and the young prospect was never able to recover in the fight. She lost via unanimous decision.
As of now, Barber has yet to make her return to the Octagon. She is currently scheduled to fight Alexa Grasso at UFC 258 in February.
2. Trevin Jones (+460) def. Timur Valiev (-595) via TKO at UFC Vegas 7
Trevin Jones only had a few days to prepare for his Octagon debut earlier this year at UFC Vegas 7 but “5 Star” truly made the most out of it.
In a catchweight bout with highly-touted prospect Timur Aliev, Jones was forced to dig deep early and fend off a brutal first-round defeat. In Round 2, Jones came back to land a massive right hand. Valiev toppled to the canvas and “5 Star” jumped on top for the finishing sequence. He was a +460 underdog.
Unfortunately, Jones later tested positive for marijuana and his victory was turned into a no contest.
1. Shana Dobson (+1150) def. Mariya Agapova (-1900) via TKO at UFC Vegas 7
It’s pretty crazy to think that the two biggest upsets of 2020 happened on the same card, but that’s actually what happened at UFC Vegas 7 this past August. After Trevin Jones defeated Timur Valiev to spark the “Prelims” card it was veteran fighter Shayna Dobson who shocked the MMA world when she took out touted prospect Mariya Apapova via second-round TKO as part of the main card.
Agapova had come into the women’s flyweight bout a massive -1900 favorite, but Dobson was still able to take her down, limit her striking opportunities, and eventually found a finish. It is the biggest statistical upset in UFC history and one that easily tops the charts for 2020.
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