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Top 10 Biggest Sports Upsets Pt. 2

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Justin Giglio.

There’s no shortage of shocking sports upsets in sports history to keep you rooting for the underdog. Whether it’s a big game like the Super Bowl, a tennis match involving a star like Rafael Nadal or even the Daytona 500, any sporting event can end in an upset. WatchMojo takes a look at ten more times the underdog won in our list of another top 10 biggest sports upsets.

Special thanks to our users MichaelMaikeru64 and Freddy Comebackkid Ramirez for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Sports%20Upsets%20Part%202

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Transcript
Script written by Justin Giglio.

Another Top 10 Sports Upsets


Sometimes, the underdog comes out on top. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for another top 10 sports upsets.

For this list, we’re taking a look at even more of the most shocking single-game upsets in professional sports. That means no series upsets, and this time no college upsets.

#10: Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm
UFC 193 (2015)

Going into her fight with Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey was touted as one of the greatest pound-for-pound female mixed-martial-artists in the UFC, arguably of all-time. She’d won all of her previous fights convincingly, either knocking out her opponents or forcing them to submit, sometimes just seconds into the fight. Needless to say, Ronda was confident before the fight and was expected to defend her belt for a long, long time. But that all came crashing down in the most attended UFC match to that point, when former boxer Holly Holm stepped into the octagon and knocked Ronda out with a devastating high-kick to the head in the second round to become the new UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion of the world.

#9: Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos
Super Bowl XXXII (1998)

Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers were the defending Super Bowl champions and 11-point favorites over John Elway’s Broncos, who’d already lost in three Super Bowls during the Hall of Fame quarterback’s tenure. Broncos running back Terrell Davis ran for 157 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns despite a blinding migraine. But it was Elway’s “Helicopter” – dramatic dive into the end-zone where the QB sacrificed his body and got flipped around in mid-air by Packers defenders – that became one of the most iconic moments in any Super Bowl and a signature play in his incredible NFL career. The Broncos played power football and beat the favored Packers to become Super Bowl champions.

#8: Everyone vs. Trevor Bayne
Daytona 500 (2011)

At 20 years and one day old, Trevor Bayne defeated several far more experienced drivers and avoided multiple wrecks to become the youngest person ever to win the Daytona 500 – and, only the second person to win the race on his first try. Racing in just his second career Cup start, Bayne suited up with Wood Brothers Racing, a team with a lack of sponsorship that was in the midst of a 10-year winless drought. Beating legends like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bayne shocked the racing world by crossing the finish line ahead of everyone and becoming possibly the most unlikely Cinderella story in the race’s history. Bayne’s achievement will probably remain the biggest upset in NASCAR history for quite some time.

#7: Japan vs. South Africa
Rugby World Cup (2015)

South Africa is an undisputed Rugby powerhouse, taking home the World Cup twice since the tournament began in 1987. Japan has qualified for every single Rugby World Cup since the tournament’s inception, but had only won a single game in their seven previous appearances before 2015. Japan stunned the world when they defeated South Africa 34-32 in the opening game of the pool stage – which happened to be their first win in the tournament since 1991. Japan didn’t go far in the later stages of the tournament, but finished the pool stage with 3 victories and their best record so far. But their astonishing upset over the Springboks has put them on the World Rugby map for good.

#6: Rafael Nadal vs. Robin Söderling
French Open (2009)

Rafael Nadal was seemingly unbeatable on the clay courts of the French Open, taking home four consecutive titles from 2005-08. That’s why tennis fans were so surprised when he lost to the relatively unknown Robin Söderling in the fourth round of the 2009 tournament. While many cite the knee tendinitis that kept Nadal out of Wimbledon a few weeks later as the cause of this dramatic upset, we can’t forget to mention Söderling’s play, as he absolutely dominated one of the greatest tennis stars of all-time. Söderling ultimately lost in the final to Roger Federer, but he and Nadal would meet again the following year in the final of the French Open, where Nadal came out on top.

#5: George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali
Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship (1974)

It was infamous boxing promoter Don King’s idea to have dictator Mobutu Sese Seko pay for and host a fight between Ali and Foreman in what was then the African nation of Zaire. The result was The Rumble in the Jungle. For context, Ali had been stripped of his title for dodging the Vietnam draft and lost by decision to Joe Frazier in The Fight of the Century – his first title fight since his comeback. The 32-year-old faced off against the young champion Foreman to finally reclaim his title as Heavyweight Champion and did so in tremendous fashion: The Champ sat back and let Big George tire himself out by using what later became known as the rope-a-dope technique, finally knocking Foreman out in the closing moments of the 8th round.

#4: St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots
Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

In the New England Patriots’ first ever Super Bowl win, 6th round draft pick, and backup-turned-starting-quarterback Tom Brady went from being a relative nobody to a household name. He did so by becoming the youngest quarterback at the time to ever win a Super Bowl, leading his team to victory over Kurt Warner and the offensive juggernauts, “The Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams. The Rams entered the game 14-point favorites, but it didn’t matter because this was the first time in Super Bowl history that the game was won on the last play of the game. As the clock wound down, Adam Vinatieri managed to kick a 48-yard field goal to secure the win for the Pats, 20-17.

#3: Serena Williams vs. Roberta Vinci
U.S. Open (2015)

Serena Williams was just two wins away from making history. Having reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open after already winning the rest of Grand Slam events in the 2015 calendar year, she was pitted against the unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci. A victory for Williams would’ve put her within one win of accomplishing something no woman had done since Steffi Graf in 1988, and only three women had done before at all: to complete a calendar year Grand Slam. Unfortunately for Williams, Vinci came to play. While the first set went to Serena, Vinci took over and decisively ended Williams’ chance at the elusive calendar year Grand Slam. Unfortunately, Vinci lost in the final to Fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta.

#2: Man o’ War vs. Upset
Sanford Memorial Stakes (1919)

Even though the horse was named Upset, no one could’ve predicted just how much he would live up to that name at the Stanford Memorial Stakes in the Summer of 1919. The famed thoroughbred Man o’ War was on a six-race win streak when Upset managed to win the race by a nose, becoming the only horse in history to defeat the legendary Man o’ War. In fact, some would have you believe that the term “upset” originated as a result of this win, as the term is used to refer to surprising or unlikely sports wins. While this isn’t necessarily true, Upset definitely had a hand in popularizing the term.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants
Super Bowl XXV (1991)
- England vs. the United States
FIFA World Cup (1950)
- Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
World Series (2011)
- Dominican Republic vs. the Netherlands
World Baseball Classic (2009)
- Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Montreal Alouettes
97th Grey Cup (2009)

#1: Germany vs. Denmark
UEFA Euro (1992)

The Danish National Team was called on to replace war-torn Yugoslavia less than two weeks before the start of the 1992 Euros. Most fans saw their unlikely advancement in the tournament as a stroke of luck that would inevitably fade away as they edged their way to the final against a much stronger German squad. Very few expected to see Denmark actually win the game while keeping a clean sheet, but they did it: The Danes were crowned champions of the tournament after a convincing 2-0 upset over a team that was much better than them on paper. One of the sports world’s great underdog stores, this monumental final stands as a reminder that anything can happen on match day.

Do you agree with our list? Which underdog story is your favorite? For more exciting Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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