With the immediate ramp up to UFC 184 last week, the historic, record-breaking night in Brazil was quickly forgotten. So let’s take a moment to rewind and consider what happened down at UFC Fight Night 61, or #UFCPOA. Frank Mir’s knockout of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was pretty remarkable, especially given that Mir was a near three-to-one underdog at one point leading up to the event. But that upset was just one of many, 10 to be precise, which made the event the biggest night of upsets in recorded MMA history. Only one fight, the very first one, ended with the favored fighter’s hand raised, with 10 consecutive upsets to follow. Fans suspected a trend while the upsets continued to pile up. But when Frankie Saenz defeated -900 favorite Iuri Alcantara, the cat was out of the bag. Underdogs continued to roll, right up through the main event when Mir’s boxing collapsed Silva to close out the night in disappointment for the Brazilian fans. But not everyone was disappointed. The epic streak of upsets had interesting consequences for betters, and even bookmakers. First, here’s how the event stacks up in UFC history. The 10 total upsets were the most on a single card, and the average winners’ fight odds had the highest return for any event.
In both cases, Fight Night 61 just barely surpassed another Brazilian fight card from nearly a year ago, one that saw a remarkably unlikely comeback from Dan Henderson in the main event against Shogun Rua. That card had nine upsets, with the average winner also being a nearly two-to-one underdog. And like Fight Night 61, it wasn’t the main event that was the biggest upset, but rather significant underdogs on the rest of the card that came through. In fact, Mir’s odds attracted lots of late action and he actually closed at just +145, down from as high as +275. Clearly the sharps were on the right side of that one. The ripple effect of such an improbable streak led one bookmaker to claim they will have a tough time being profitable on combat sports this year. But their loss is another’s gain, and the longshot parlays that led to monster payouts weren’t the only profitable plays; the MMA Oddsbreaker Premium Picks also had a huge night of returns. Despite going head-to-head with the Academy Awards ceremony on a Sunday night, viewership was healthy. So those who skipped the Oscars were rewarded with a fun night of fights from Brazil, and a few lucky bettors were rewarded with big profits.