The popularity of UFC (and mixed martial arts in general) has skyrocketed in recent years. A big reason for this is that even though it seems like every year there are fighters that look unbeatable, eventually an unexpected underdog almost always comes out of nowhere and ends their reign. When this will be exactly is always anyone’s guess.
And this is why there is also a rise in popularity with betting on UFC fights. While already exciting in their own right, these unpredictable upsets become even more memorable when you do predict the unexpected victory and place a wager on the underdog.
Betting on sports, in general, is unpredictable but when you’ve put a wager on the underdog and it comes through as a win, the buzz is crazy! Many say sports betting creates more anticipation and fun when watching live and if you’ve ever placed a wager on a sporting event, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
Every fight probably has its big betting winners and losers, but here are some of the more sizable public wagers on UFC underdogs we’ve heard about in the recent past.
UFC 193: Holly Holm Over Ronda Rousey
Few seemed to disagree that Ronda Rousey, who had successfully defended the inaugural UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship six times (most of them handily) looked unbeatable from February 2013 to late 2015. One person that thought different, however, was sports handicapper Vegas Dave (real name Dave Oancea), who won $240,000 after betting $20,000 on 11:1 underdog Holly Holm to pull off the shocking upset at UFC 193 in Melbourne.
This was far from dumb luck for Dave though, who just a month earlier cashed in a ticket for $2.5 million after wagering around $100,000 on a futures bet that the Kansas City Royals would win the 2015 World Series. Due to bets like these two and a slew of others (including one more below), Oancea has taken many sportsbook and casinos for so much that they’ll no longer accept his wagers.
UFC Fight Night 61: Ten Underdog Wins
More memorable perhaps than the upsets of stars like Anderson Silva and Edson Barboza at UFC Fight 61 was that they were not alone: at the February 2015 event in Porto Alegre, Brazil, a record 10 of the 11 favorites lost (and all 10 came consecutively). The baffling night was estimated to have cost online gambling site Bovada over $1 million with a reported dozen different punters having parlayed these 10 underdogs for wins that paid out $10,000 or more.
One particular lucky bettor walked away with a crazy $48,291 after betting a dollar on the underdogs in nine of those fights, and sportsbook Oddsmaker.ag was beaten so badly that they had to cap payments off at $150,000, even though a $5 bet on nine underdogs paid out a theoretical $536,000. A Bovada manager was quoted as saying that the night was so unprofitable that it would be difficult for the sportsbook to finish in the green in regards to combat sports takes/payouts for the year.
UFC 196: Miesha Tate Over Holly Holm
Vegas Dave was back at it again with another huge underdog bet on a women’s title fight for UFC 196, this time betting against the very fighter that won him $223,000 just months earlier. This time he placed $77,000 on +250 underdog Miesha “Cupcake” Tate. Tate’s surprising fifth-round win (by rear-naked choke) won Dave what he claims is the biggest MMA ticket in history.
So sure was Oancea in his wager, he texted Tate herself before the fight letting her know that he had increased his bet to $77k. For those keeping score at home, that’s $460,000 won on two women’s UFC underdogs. While rumors are swirling that it might not actually happen, it will be interesting to see who Dave backs if Tate clashes with Rousey for another title bout in the near future.