UFC Fight Night 143 was full of surprises and upsets on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, serving as a terrific introduction to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s partnership with ESPN. It featured a number of exciting fights, including a handful that saw underdogs emerge for unexpected victories. In the 13 fights available to bet on, six fighters came through as underdogs. They are front and center in this edition of Beating the Books.
Henry Cejudo (+185)
The main event offered up an early “Knockout of the Year” candidate, as Cejudo blitzed T.J. Dillashaw and finished him in just 32 seconds to retain the UFC flyweight championship. It is hard not to be impressed by the Olympic gold medalist, as Cejudo has now won back-to-back fights against Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson. Perhaps he will get some respect from the bettors in his next appearance. Against Dillashaw, Cejudo closed as a +185 underdog.
Allen Crowder (+360)
By far the biggest underdog to win was Crowder, who defeated Greg Hardy in the co-main event. Of course, the fight was not without controversy, as Crowder was on the wrong end of an illegal knee and won via disqualification. There is a good chance he would have gotten finished had Hardy not made a huge mistake, but either way, Crowder got his hand raised and scored as a hefty +360 underdog.
Donald Cerrone (+180)
Turning back the clock, Cerrone looked amazing in his return to the lightweight division, as he brutally knocked out rising contender Alexander Hernandez with a head kick and punches. Cerrone has won three of his last four fights, and his stock is as high as it has been in years. He called out Conor McGregor after the fight, and he might get his wish: The Irishman replied on Twitter that he was interested in the matchup.
Joanne Calderwood (+215)
The second-biggest underdog to cash was Calderwood, who used her underrated grappling game to neutralize Ariane Lipski and win a clear decision. Calderwood is now 3-0 as a flyweight in the UFC and seems to have finally found her optimal weight class. As a result, she may finally be living up to her potential. Calderwood hit as a +215 underdog.
Dennis Bermudez (+105)
Snapping a four-fight losing skid, Bermudez used his relentless wrestling game to land key takedowns and defeat Te Edwards by decision. It was the best Bermudez has looked in years, and yet, he used his post-fight interview as an opportunity to announce his retirement from the sport. He will be missed. In his MMA swan song, Bermudez helped his backers by cashing as a +105 underdog.
Chance Rencountre (+145)
In the curtain-jerker, Chance Rencountre picked up his first UFC victory when he submitted late-notice replacement Kyle Stewart with a rear-naked choke. Rencountre did not look good in his UFC debut and does not have a sexy record, so he was the underdog in this fight despite having a full training camp. He made Stewart look like an amateur by getting a quick takedown and then dominating the fight on the mat. Rencountre closed as a +145 underdog.
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