Upset [noun] – an unexpected result or situation.
The story of the underdog is as old as fighting itself and is commonly an outcome that stays close to the heart of fans over time. Who can forget when Holly Holm stirred the pot by upsetting Ronda Rousey? Or how TJ Dillashaw picked apart Renan Barao for four and a half rounds? It’s moments like these that resonate with viewers in the long run.
2020 boasted its fair share of upsets in the realm of combat sports, yet it’s an MMA bout that takes pole position in the charts. The words “that wasn’t supposed to happen” were definitely uttered succeeding a flyweight brawl back in August, and has since remained prevalent in fans’ minds.
Shana Dobson defeating Mariya Agapova via second-round TKO is The Scrap’s 2020 Upset of the Year.
Honorable mentions: Roxanne Modafferi defeating Maycee Barber via unanimous decision, Teofimo Lopez defeating Vasyl Lomachenko via unanimous decision, and Jan Blachowicz defeating Dominick Reyes via second-round TKO.
Coming off a three-fight losing streak, Shana Dobson (4-4) was set to face the highly-touted Mariya Agapova (9-2), a 23-year-old that had garnered the attention of fans and oddsmakers worldwide and called her out after her last win. She was that highly rated, in fact, that she entered the contest as a -1250 favorite — a staggering line considering she was fighting another professional fighter. While a potential win for Dobson would do wonders for her career, the repercussions of defeat would come just as heavy; she was fighting for her job.
Shana Dobson embracing the underdog role and finishes Mariya Agapova—the biggest favorite on the card—in the second round. Big performance for “Danger.” #UFCVegas7
— Mike Heck (@MikeHeck_JR) August 23, 2020
After losing the first round to a visibly tiring Agapova, Dobson began the second frame with some heat. Her shots were beginning to land but just as she was stringing together any sort of consistency, the youngster landed yet another one of her takedowns. Rather than search for a route to the feet, Dobson remained patient, reversing positions and landing in half guard. She eventually was able to take the back, and this is where her ground and pound took over.
Using one hand to assert wrist control and the other to punch, “Danger” pummelled a shielding Agapova. Although she was able to momentarily transition to a safer position, Agapova would once more have her back taken and be flattened out. This time, Dobson put an end to things.
“They wanted an underdog and I brought the dog out tonight” stated Dobson, reflecting on her win in the post-fight press conference. “They really doubted me, so that was a bit more fuel in the tank for me.”
At the time of writing, her win is officially the biggest upset in UFC history. And just like the odds she was given, the chances of this record being broken remain slim.