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5 worst shows in UFC history

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 19:24 IST

UFC 119 - headlined by Frank Mir and Mirko Cro Cop - might make this list
UFC 119 - headlined by Frank Mir and Mirko Cro Cop - might make this list

Everyone remembers the best UFC shows – the likes of UFC 189, UFC 40 and UFC 52 helped to shape the promotion and make it into the juggernaut it is today.

Of course, not every show can be as great as those ones – due to the amount of cards the UFC puts on today, most of them are largely forgotten by the time the next big one comes along – but for many fans, the shows that stick out as much as the great ones are the really bad ones.

In all honesty, the UFC doesn’t put on many outright bad shows – the law of averages suggests that there’ll be at least one or two decent fights on any card – but over time, there have definitely been a handful of true stinkers.

As a disclaimer I’ll note that I’m only considering shows after the 2001 Zuffa buyout for this list – it’s almost impossible to compare the old SEG-era shows to today’s ones – and I’m also only considering the ‘numbered’ shows that are usually on pay-per-view, rather than the free-TV Fight Nights.

So without further ado, here are the 5 worst shows in UFC history.

#5 UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov – 06/14/2014

A weak main event between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov helped to make UFC 174 a poor show
A weak main event between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov helped to make UFC 174 a poor show

2014 was the first year that the term ‘oversaturation’ began to be heavily associated with the UFC, as they put on more and more shows to help to build the newly-launched Fox Sports 1 channel, to the point where it felt like there was a UFC every single week. And with legends like Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva gone temporarily, the promotion also hit new lows in terms of a lack of star power.

UFC 174 was the nadir of that year when it came to pay-per-view shows. One of 4 shows (!) in June, the UFC’s third visit to Vancouver was headlined by a Flyweight title fight that saw Demetrious Johnson defend against the tough – but largely unheralded – Ali Bagautinov. It was a largely dull fight that saw Johnson edge out a unanimous decision over the Dagestani import. The undercard wasn’t much better.

The co-main event saw Rory MacDonald beat Tyron Woodley essentially by backing him into the cage with his jab – another unanimous decision – and yet somehow, two of the other three main card fights were even more boring; Ryan Bader pulled a lay-and-pray special to defeat Rafael Feijao while the less said about Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub, the better.

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A strange opener between Ovince St. Preux and Ryan Jimmo, which ended when Jimmo verbally tapped due to a broken arm, was probably the highlight of the main card, but it wasn’t exactly a good fight either.

Realistically, none of the fights on offer would make a list of the worst in UFC history, but put together they certainly added up to make one of the dullest shows the promotion has ever put on.

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Published 23 Oct 2018, 02:20 IST
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