Mixed martial arts have become an absolute phenomenon in the world of competitive sport since it first came to prominence. Full of action and fist-pounding drama, it has made stars out of fighters like George St Pierre and Randy Couture in its time. While you may love to tune in for the knockouts and submissions, one thing is also sure to get fans excited –. betting on who will win to make some money! With sports betting now legal in many US states, this is likely to become more popular in the future with US MMA fans.

This can be seen by just looking at upcoming MMA events like UFC 242 where Khabib Nurmagomedov will be facing off against challenger Dustin Poirier. Many fans are starting to make the most of NJ sportsbook promos to bet on this exciting match-up well in advance. Already people are placing bets on sportsbooks with Khabib being the hot favorite at odds at around 2/7.

Of course, it does not always go to plan and this can see some equally thrilling upsets. When the underdog comes from nowhere to spring a surprise win, there is nothing more exciting in sport. This is especially true if you put your money there instead of the favorite. In honor of just how exciting upsets in MMA are, we look at some of the best from recent years.

Nate Diaz v Conor McGregor I

Come 2016, the flamboyant McGregor was all set to reign across two weight divisions in the UFC. Interestingly, McGregor should never have fought Diaz as he was matched against Dos Anjos originally to fight for the lightweight title. Injury forced Dos Anjos to pull out just 11 days before the fight thought and little-fancied Nate Diaz stepped in. Although McGregor did well early on with his stand-up striking, Diaz wobbled him later in the second round with a huge punch. This enabled him to get McGregor in a rear naked choke eventually and claim the shock win.

Holly Holm v Rhonda Rousey

Another big MMA upset came in 2015 via the UFC again but this time involving two female athletes. It has really stuck with fight fans since due to how spectacularly it unfolded. Until then, Rousey had moved from being a decorated athlete to enjoying a rapid rise to fame in the UFC. She not only became the first women’s bantamweight UFC champion but also defended the title 6 times. That was until ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holly Holm showed up to fight her. After some fierce stand-up exchanges, the real clincher for Holm was a stunning head kick which floored Rousey to knock her out. While the idea of Holm winning was maybe not that shocking, the way it happened and how such a strong champion was sparked out was.

Luke Rockhold v Michael Bisping II

Happening at UFC 199, this rematch proved that sometimes fighting again can reveal a different outcome. In their first match-up in 2014, Rockhold has won out by applying first a head kick then a guillotine choke on Bisping. Come 2016 though, it was a different story altogether. Stepping in for an injured Chris Weidman, Bisping seemed to have little chance with such short notice to get ready. However, he cleverly exploited Rockhold’s habit of dropping his hands after punching sometimes to land a couple of huge left hooks. This ended the contest and saw Bisping pinch the title for himself against the odds.

Will Brooks v Michael Chandler I

Not all the best MMA excitement is confined to one championship. Bellator has also seen its fair share of upsets but this is probably the biggest one to date. Michael Chandler has gone down in Bellator history as one of the all-time greats and was expected to beat Will Brooks pretty easily in their 2014 match-up. Chandler was seen by many as the much superior fighter in all aspects and Brooks as a real no-hoper. In truth, the fight was close with Chandler dominating some rounds but Brooks also getting some heavy shots in. In the end, it went by a split decision in Brooks’ favor to hand him the Bellator lightweight title and a shock victory.

Nothing is certain when the gate closes

What the above list of upsets from recent years shows is that nothing is ever certain in MMA. One contestant can look to be on for an easy night but that can all change with a big punch or explosive kick. Of course, this is what makes the sport so exciting and sees so any people tune in to see how it will all pan out!