In our first instalment of Ultimate Upsets we looked back at the night Holly Holm destroyed Ronda Rousey down under, and for our follow up we are focusing on another fight featuring a head-kick heard around the world – Mirko Crop Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70 in April 2007.
In our first two editions of Ultimate Rivalries we re-lived two of the rivalries that helped the Ultimate Fighting Championship go from underground fight league to mainstream brand – Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture – but for our latest instalment we are looking back at a feud that took the UFC to new box office heights a decade ago, Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir.
Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has revealed that a friend of his once cost him a $20,000 winning bet on a major mixed martial arts fight card – and he was in his friend's corner when it happened!
Leon Edwards has enjoyed a rapid rise in the UFC welterweight division, and ahead of his huge UFC London showdown with former champion Tyron Woodley we have been taking a look back at the five fights that put ‘Rocky’ on the radar of MMA’s biggest promotion.
BettingPro.com's look at the UFC's Ultimate Rivalries continues with the legendary trilogy between Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.
Jon Jones will look to cement his status as the number one light-heavyweight fighter on the planet when he defends his UFC title against Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC 247 on February 8, and ahead of his latest defence we have been taking a look back at some of the wins that made ‘Bones’ the undisputed king of the 205lb division.
Valentina Shevchenko makes the third defence of her UFC women’s flyweight title when she meets Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247, but will it be another successful outing for the champion that sets up a trilogy fight with Amanda Nunes?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has produced many, many surprise results over the years, and for the first instalment of ‘Ultimate Upsets’ we simply have to go back to the famous night where Holly Holm proved that Ronda Rousey was not an unstoppable force.
UFC/MMA Betting Tips
Mixed Martial Arts has been the fastest growing sport the world has seen over the past decade, with the Ultimate Fighting Championship leading the charge, and now almost every weekend there is a major fight card happening somewhere thanks to the UFC and the likes of Bellator MMA, One Championship and Cage Warriors.
And of course, with the rise in popularity has come the rise in betting on mixed martial arts, especially for UFC bouts. No longer restricted to just a handful of markets for MMA, punters can now sink their teeth into a range of betting options for every UFC fight on every UFC card.
The bookmakers have not stopped there though, with ONE Championship, Bellator and Cage Warriors receiving their attention throughout the year, but with so much MMA scheduled what bets should you be placing on the sport of mixed martial arts? We have the answers right here at BettingPro.com!
Not only do the BettingPro.com team have a wealth of knowledge from over 20 years of watching combat sports, they are also vastly experienced writers with decades’ worth of experience. So keep this page bookmarked to get the latest big fight tips.
|DATE||EVENT||MAIN EVENT/KEY FIGHTS||VENUE|
|January 31||ONE Championship: Fire & Fury||Joshua Pacio vs. Alex Silva||Manila, Philippines|
|February 7||ONE Championship: Warrior’s Code||TBC||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|February 8||UFC 247||Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes||Houston, United States|
|February 15||UFC Fight Night||Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz||Rio Rancho, United States|
|February 19||ONE Championship: One Warrior Series 10||TBC||Singapore, Singapore|
|February 21||Bellator 239||Ed Ruth vs. Yaroslav Amov||Thackerville, United States|
|February 22||UFC Fight Night||Paul Felder vs. Dan Hooker||Auckland, New Zealand|
|February 22||Bellator European Series||James Gallagher vs. Cal Ellenor||Dublin, Ireland|
|February 28||ONE Championship: King of the Jungle||TBC||Singapore, Singapore|
|February 29||UFC Fight Night||Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo||Norfolk, United States|
|March 7||UFC 248||Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczk||Las Vegas, United States|
|March 14||UFC Fight Night||TBC||Brasilia, Brazil|
|March 20||ONE Championship: Heart of Heroess||TBC||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam|
|March 20||Cage Warriors 112||TBC||London, England|
|March 21||UFC Fight Night||TBC||London, England|
|March 28||UFC Fight Night||Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik||Columbus, United States|
|April 11||ONE Championship: Reign of Dynasties||TBC||Chongqing, China|
|April 16||ONE Championship: One Warrior Series 11||TBC||Singapore, Singapore|
|April 17||ONE Championship: KIngs & Queens||TBC||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|April 18||UFC 249||Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson||Brooklyn, United States|
|April 18||Cage Warriors 114||TBC||Birmingham, England|
|May 16||Cage Warriors: Belfast||TBC||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|May 29||ONE Championship: Code of Honor||TBC||Manila, Philippines|
|October 10||Bellator European Series||TBC||Milan, Italy|
About The UFC
Mixed Martial Arts’ rise to being one of the most popular sports on the planet has been nothing short of spectacular, and of all of the promotions out there the biggest is undoubtedly the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Founded in 1993, the UFC was designed to answer some age-old questions. Could a wrestler beat a boxer? Could a karate fighter beat a jiu jitsu expert? And how would a sumo wrestler fare in the world of combat sports?
Those questions were answered in brutal – and sometimes bloody – fashion as mixed martial arts became an outlawed sport across much of the United States, with senator John McCain famously branding it “human cock-fighting”. Media outlets made the most of the fact there were “no rules” – which wasn’t actually true – and an increasing number of pay-per-view carriers dropped the UFC due to pressure.
UFC 12 had to be moved from Buffalo to Dothan, Alabama after MMA was effectively banned by the state, and the company continue to haemorrhage cash as each event went by. In an attempt to stem the tide against mixed martial arts UFC bosses introduced weight classes, rounds and five minute time limits – as well as a number of other rules – but the promotion continued to lose money and in January 2001 parent company Semaphore Entertainment Group – on the brink of bankruptcy – sold up.
Step forward, Dana White and the Fertitta brothers. White persuaded the Las Vegas casino chiefs to spend $2million to buy the promotion in 2001 – although Lorenzo Fertitta later admitted all he wanted from the deal were the letters U, F and C.
“I had my attorneys tell me that I was crazy because I wasn’t buying anything,” Fertitta told Fighter’s Only magazine. “I was paying $2million and they were saying ‘What are you getting? And I said ‘What you don’t understand is I’m getting the most valuable thing that I could possibly have, which is those three letters: UFC. That is what’s going to make this thing work. Everybody knows that brand, whether they like it or they don’t like it, they react to it.’”
The Ultimate Fighter
The UFC shifted its operations to Las Vegas – considered the fight capital of the world – and the trio of Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture began to lay the foundations for the success that has come since. Ortiz’s brash and outspoken antics earned him the attention of the mainstream media while Liddell’s devastating knockout power made him a fighter that could not be missed. Ken Shamrock – a star in the early days – returned to the company to reignite his rivalry with Ortiz and their UFC 40 bout reportedly kept the company afloat.
However, during their three-year ownership the Ferittas had lost in excess of $34million trying to kick-start the franchise and they were considering whether or not to part with the UFC when the opportunity for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality television series came around. TUF had a simple formula – a bunch of fighters move into a house together and compete for a six-figure contract with the UFC. The catch was, the UFC would have to pay $10million to produce the show.
The Fertitta’s decided to take the gamble and a deal was signed with the Spike TV station in the United States, but would the final roll of the dice be successful? The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’. TUF was an instant success and the epic final fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar has been hailed by UFC president White as the fight that saved the UFC. In fact, it was so important the two men were later inducted into the Hall of Fame in respect of what they did that night.
“This was our last $10 million,” White told Yahoo Sport. “People say, ‘Oh, TUF, it’s just a reality show.’ No. This was more than a reality show. Everything was on the line. The way Lorenzo puts it, it’s like you’re out gambling and you’ve gotten your ass kicked all night and then you get everything you saved and everything you have and you put it up on the table and you tell them to cut the cards. That’s what it was!”
The Rise Of UFC
The Ultimate Fighter became a permanent fixture on Spike TV and the season three success of Michael Bisping – who would become the first British fighter to hold a UFC title – helped catapult the sport into the public eye in the United Kingdom. Events in the UK would become regular occurrences and as the years went on the UFC would host events across the United States and the glove – a makeshift stadium was built in Abu Dhabi for one card.
In 2011 the UFC inked a seven-year deal with broadcasting giants FOX Sports and the first ever fight on the network made history as it became the most watched combat sports event since Lennox Lewis defended the world heavyweight boxing championship against Vitali Klitschko in 2003.
The UFC was on a roll, buying up other promotions to sign the best talent available and in the likes of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar they had fighters that would smash all sorts of records – from gate receipts to television ratings to pay-per-view buy rates.
And in March 2016 the company finally made the breakthrough it had been fighting for ever since UFC 12. New York became the 50th US state to legalise mixed martial arts and it was soon announced that the first ever MMA card at Madison Square Garden would be held on November 12. The hottest ticket in town offered the most spectacular card in UFC history and represented the moment the UFC was truly a mainstream sport that could go where it wanted when it wanted.
But before that epic night, the Fertitta brothers called time on their reign over the sport. In July of 2016 parent company ZUFFA announced it had sold the company to talent agency WME-IMG for a staggering $4billion – not a bad profit on a $2million purchase, even with those losses in the early days. So what’s next for the UFC under WME-IMG?
More growth we expect, and as the UFC and the sport of MMA continues to reach more and more people the bookmakers are offering more and more to its punters. At one time you could only find a handful of markets to bet on for the big fights, but now the bookies are queuing up with a whole hosts of betting markets and special promotions – even for the undercard!
BettingPro.com has it all covered, offering exclusive UFC tips and giving you a rundown of key bookmaker promotions.