The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday made its yearly trip to the O2 Arena in London, and while the majority of the 12 bouts at UFC Fight Night 147 saw the betting favorite come through with a win, there were still some notable upsets. The four underdogs who saw their hands raised are the subjects of this installment of Beating the Books.
Jorge Masvidal (+185)
The main event resulted in a back-and-forth battle that saw Masvidal spring the upset in enemy territory, as he brutally knocked out Darren Till in the second round. Till actually dropped the American Top Team standout early in the first round, and it appeared as if the young English superstar was going to score a major win in front of the partisan crowd. However, Masvidal showed his durability, experience and knockout power with a vicious second-round comeback. Despite entering the bout on a long layoff, it was perhaps the most impressive victory of Masvidal’s long and understated MMA career. It sets him up for a significant opportunity in his next appearance, with Leon Edwards and Ben Askren as possibilities. “Gamebred” cashed as a +185 underdog.
Marc Diakiese (+165)
In one of the event’s more lopsided pairings, Diakiese outstruck and outgrappled Joseph Duffy for 15 minutes, netted the most important win of his career and perhaps saved his spot on the UFC roster in the process. Diakiese entered the Octagon on a three-fight losing streak, and while Duffy had not fought in over a year, most saw it as a favorable matchup for the Irishman. That was not the case. Diakiese made it look easy, as the raucous support of his countrymen buoyed his efforts. The odds on his springing the upset were +165.
Saparbek Safarov (+150)
In one of the ugliest fights to take place in the Octagon all year, Safarov outwrestled Nicolae Negumereanu to pick up his first victory in the UFC and the first decision win of his career. The bout was not without controversy, as Safarov grabbed the cage numerous times in a first round that saw him get a point deducted by referee Leon Roberts. It turned out that the penalty did not come into play, as Safarov won the second and third rounds with takedowns. Safarov cashed as a +150 underdog.
Mike Grundy (+310)
By the numbers, the most significant betting underdog to cash was Grundy, who put away Nad Narimani with punches in the second round of their featherweight prelim. Going into the matchup, most figured that Grundy would have the edge if the action went to the mat, with Narimani holding the advantage if the fight remained standing. Instead, Grundy had the advantage everywhere the fight took place, as he outstruck Narimani in the first round and then brutally finished him with a standing TKO late in the second. It was the first knockout win of Grundy’s MMA career. The odds on Grundy pulling off the upset were +310, making him one of the biggest underdogs to win in MMA this year.
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 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.
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