One of the most insane things about 2018 was the number of upsets we saw, and sadly for Asian fighters they tended to be on the wrong end of the upsets. We had fighters like Daigo Higa, losing to Cristofer Rosales, Ryota Murata, losing to Rob Brant, and Yoshihiro Kamegai, losing to Greg Vendetti. We also saw some near misses, with Hiroki Okada only just edging Cristian Rafael Coria and Can Xu just taking the win over Enrique Bernache.
For us however the upset of the year was the surprising win by Filipino icon Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight quarter-final, where he defeated Ryan Burnett.
Burnett started as a 1/7 favourite. Few gave Donaire any chance. He was 35 years old, had lost 2 of his previous 3 and was dropping from Featherweight to Bantamweight for the bout. In fact not was Donaire dropping several weight classes, but was making Bantamweight for the first time since October 2011, more than 7 years earlier!
He was expected to come up short to the unbeaten Burnett, the WBSS #1 seed. Instead of coming in looking old and drained he looked strong, and tried to walk down the smooth moving Burnett. He was surprisingly holding his own through the first 4 rounds, before the bout was halted due to a freak injury suffered by Burnett.
Whilst the result was tainted, in a big way, by the injury that didn't stop it being a massive upset, and one of the very, very few upsets we've seen in the WBSS, which had the other 3 Bantamweight see progress to the semi-finals.
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