MMA Betting Guide

How to bet on MMA? Parlays, Futures, Strategies & Props

MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, has exploded over the past several years. What started as a niche sport to watch and wager on is now rivaling some more traditional sports in popularity and coverage. Typically, there is another massive pay-per-view every month hosted by one of the many operating MMA promotions. Check How to bet on MMA here.

In the article below, we will be going over everything you need to know about MMA and MMA betting. We will cover everything from the promotions, types of bets, betting strategy, and common mistakes new bettors make in the industry. 

What is MMA

Like boxing, MMA bouts feature two fighters squaring off to test their will against each other. What makes MMA unique is the attacks and techniques available to each fighter. While boxing is strictly a striking match utilizing the hands, MMA features multiple disciplines and employs kicks, punches, elbows, grappling, and submissions. 

There are many disciplines MMA fighters are trained in before entering elite-level fights. While many of the fighters are a master in one or two of the most crucial martial arts, you need to be capable in all of them to be the best. Some of the more popular martial arts you will see in an MMA bout include:

-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

-Boxing

-Kickboxing

-Wrestling

-Karate

-Judo

-Muay Thai

MMA Competitions

When discussing MMA competitions, every promotion has its own set of rules and regulations, but they are all similar at their core. Fighters can use multiple martial arts styles to defeat their opponents within a few timed rounds. Warriors can win by either knocking out or submitting their opponent using a variety of chokes or joint holds that will force them to “Tap Out” or go unconscious. 

If the fight does not end by knockout or submission and goes the entire length of the timed rounds, the judges decide who won the contest by scoring each round individually. Whoever won the most rounds wins the fight and gets their hand raised. 

In the early days of MMA, fights were promoted as no holds barred brawls that had no rules. Fighters would use any technique to win, including groin kicks, eye pokes, and head butts. As the sport evolved and moved into mainstream coverage, MMA bouts are typically sanctioned by athletic commissions across the country and prevent strikes or attacks that can cause life-changing damage. But this doesn’t mean serious injuries can’t occur, as any combat sport carries a level of risk. 

MMA Promotions

As the sport of MMA continues to grow, more MMA promotions continue to open up for betting. These promotions feature the most elite level of MMA fighters globally and are the pinnacle of the sport. The section below will look at some of the most popular promotions with the most betting options and coverage. 

UFC

The Ultimate Fighting Championships or UFC is hands down the king of MMA promotions. The UFC holds pay-per-views every month that do massive numbers, and when one star retires, another one is always there to fill that role. The divisions in the UFC hold the most depth of any MMA promotions, and the road to a world championship is the most challenging. 

One Of the UFC’s most significant advantages over traditional boxing is that the best always fight the best. The UFC puts together the fights that the fans want to see instead of boxing, where the most meaningful contests are few and far between. 

The UFC was formed in 1993 by executive and entrepreneur Art Davie. The UFC struggled to gain traction with both fans and commissions in its inception, almost leading to its early demise. Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased it along with their business partner Dana White in 2001. After a few changes and a hit reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC took off and never looked back. In 2016 WME-IMG (Endeavor) bought the UFC for roughly 4 billion dollars, and it continues to grow as the most popular combat sport in the world. 

Bellator

Bellator gets its name from the Latin word meaning “Warrior” and is the second-largest MMA promotion in the United States. Bellator was founded in Santa Monica, California, in 2008 and is a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. As one of the most extensive MMA promotions in the world, Bellator holds highly competitive, elite-level fights around the globe. 

PFL

PFL stands for Professional Fighters League and is another popular promotion. It was founded in 2018 after reorganizing the World Series of Fighting. What makes the PFL unique is that fighters compete in a season, with the winner of each season hauling in 1 million dollars. 

Invicta FC 

Invicta Fight Championships (FC) is an all-women’s fighting promotion created in 2012 by Janet Martin and Shannon Knapp. Invicta FC is owned by and is often an excellent place for women to build their name and create opportunities to enter into bigger MMA promotions such as the UFC or Bellator. 

Dana White Contender Series (DWCS)

Dana White Contender series is a series of MMA fights that allows fighters to compete for a contract to enter the UFC. Each card holds 4-6 contests, and only the most impressive fighters get offered a contract by UFC president Dana White. 

Most Popular Types of Bets

MMA is similar to boxing as there are multiple fights to bet on per night. However, the difference lies in the variety of outcomes that are possible. There is plenty of options and excitement to be had when it’s time to place your bets when it comes to MMA. 

Moneylines

Money Lines in MMA betting are the same as any other sport where you are wagering on who will win the fight. An excellent example of how money lines work is when “Fighter A” is a -200 favorite over “Fighter B” as the +175 underdog. A 200 dollar bet on Fighter A will pay $100 and your money back with a win, and a 100 dollar bet on Fighter B will pay $175 plus your money back with a win. 

Total Rounds

Betting on the total rounds is wagering on the over/under of how long the fight will last. If the over/under is set at -150 for 1.5 rounds and the fight lasts 2 rounds, you would win $150 on betting the over. These bets can be problematic in MMA as there aren’t many rounds in a standard fight. Styles make fights, and there is often a potential for a decision. Keep your eye out for defensive style fighters and the opportunity to bet on the over when you see those styles collide. 

Winning Methods

Winning methods is when you wager on how an MMA fight will end. In most cases, a bout will end in one of three ways.

-Knockout

-Submission

-Decision

Knowing the fighting style of the fighters you plan to wager on is key to being successful at these styles of bets. If you see a fighter with weak grappling defense fighting a Jui Jitsu black belt, it could be an excellent opportunity to bet on a submission. 

Parlays

Parlays are when you chain together multiple fights into one single bet that is all required to be correct for success. If you pick four separate fights for your parlay, you will need to choose every fight correctly to win. 

Futures

Futures bets are offered long in advance of what you believe might happen in the future of the sport. For example, a futures bet might be on a current champion in an MMA promotion retaining his title throughout the entire year. 

Prop Bets

Prop bets are typically considered fun bets and can be made on just about any aspect of a fight. Examples of prop bets in MMA include how long a fight will last, any point deductions, which fighter will land the first punch, and more!

Live Betting

Live betting is placing wagers while a fight is taking place. The odds are constantly updating as the current fight is playing out, and if you see a specific move or technique coming, you can place a bet on it in real-time. 

MMA Betting Strategies

With so many outcomes and strategies available for fighters and bettors alike, having a plan of attack when placing your bets has never been more critical. The section below will look at strategies that can lead to more notable success when wagering on MMA bouts. 

Best Strategies for Moneyline Betting

Moneyline wagers often have the lowest payouts among the variety of bets available in MMA. The biggest payouts can be found when analyzing a card for the most significant underdog potential. MMA fights are highly competitive, even with some of the biggest underdogs, so finding the right bet can be highly profitable. This does, however, require a substantial amount of research on the fighter styles and the matchups as there is usually a reason fighters are underdogs/favorites. 

Best Strategies for Props Betting

You can increase your chances of winning on prop bets when you analyze the fighters’ styles and the build-up to the fights. For example, if the two fighters clearly do not like each other and are constantly at each other’s throats before the fight, it may be a good idea to bet that the two fighters will not touch gloves before the bout. Knowing the whole story surrounding a contest can give you insights that make for great prop bets. 

Best Strategies for Over/Under Betting

Do your research on the fighter’s records when betting over/under. See the trend here? If you notice that most of the fighter’s history consists of decision wins or losses, chances are these decisions will continue. The same goes for fighters with lots of knockouts or submissions as well. 

Biggest MMA Betting Mistakes

When betting on MMA, it is easy to make mistakes. Many newcomers to MMA betting follow the same trends when making their first couple bets. Below, we will look at some of the biggest mistakes that are made when betting MMA. 

Picking Your Favorite Fighter

This is probably the most common and significant mistake you can make when betting on MMA fights. Unlike boxing, finding a fighter with a perfect record is tremendously rare to come across. Unfortunately, at some point, everyone loses, and this includes your favorite fighter. Styles make fights, and nobody is perfect at everything. Picking with your heart is one of the quickest ways to lose money when betting MMA. 

Not Doing Research

As discussed, there are many things to research and consider when wagering MMA. When you don’t explore each fight or fighter properly, you are only hurting yourself and your wallet. Take the time to do your research and make better-informed decisions that work for you. 

Relying on Records

While records are a significant statistic to look at when analyzing a fight, it should not be the only thing you look at. Additionally, it would help if you looked at who each fighter has faced throughout their career to determine the strength of their resume. If a fighter is on the rise, they may not have met the level of competition that a fighter who has been in the top 5 encountered. 

Fighters frequently change camps, move around to different weight classes, and switch to various organizations that may impact how their next event plays out. Being aware of these changes will give you other details to consider, along with a fighter’s record. 

Always Choosing Favorites

With so many martial arts disciplines involved in MMA, you never know when the next upset creeps around the corner. How to bet on MMA is notorious for encountering multiple underdog victories throughout a fight card, and you are sure to lose out with only wagering on the favorites. Research the fighting styles, strengths, and weaknesses of the fighters involved in finding those hidden underdogs that can win big! 

Tips for Betting on MMA Fights

Picking How to bet on MMA fights can be unpredictable at times. But this is what makes it so exciting and entertaining to bet on. With a few steps and sound research, you can improve your chances tremendously and find success a lot more often. Below are a few tips for improving your odds on your next MMA wager. 

Betting on Heavyweights

Betting on heavyweights is probably the trickiest thing to wager on in MMA. Typically, How to bet on MMA bouts feature smaller gloves than a boxing event. Mix in the tremendous power of heavyweight fighters, and all it takes is one punch to land for the fight to be over. If you are betting on heavyweights, make sure you are well informed on both fighters’ strengths and weaknesses before treading into that water, as it is difficult to predict how these fights will play out. 

Do Your Research

Fighting is unpredictable, but armed with the proper knowledge is a step in the right direction for raking in your winnings. This should be obvious by now. Knowing everything you can learn before placing bets on a fight will increase your chances of winning. 

Pick the Right Site

Wagering on MMA fighting is exciting, and you may be eager to get started. You still need to do your due diligence when finding a good site or multiple sites for placing your bets! Before creating an account, look for the best bonuses, odds, options, and a trusted reputation. This will make for a better and more diverse experience. 

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How to bet on MMA FAQs

When betting on MMA fights, the favorite will have a negative sign listed next to their name, and the underdog will have a positive sign. For example:

-200 Favorite

+175 Underdog

The most popular MMA promotion globally is the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) and is covered similarly to any other traditional sport. You will find the most betting options, sites, and information on UFC fights and their fighters.

One of the best aspects of MMA is that there is typically an event taking place every weekend of the year. MMA is year-round, with many promotions putting on events throughout the year making betting options easy to find.