Intro to MMA Betting
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the most popular contact sports among today’s modern fighting disciplines. It’s said that the sport originated in the 20th century and was gradually shaped and built on the pillars of a combination of different fighting techniques.
Some of these techniques were extracted from Asian fighting disciplines, such as Ju-Jitsu, and copied from constant fighting displays throughout major tournaments on the continent. Yet, most point to Brazilian Vale Tudo as the seed from which the essence of MMA originates.
Still, the debate over which techniques MMA truly originates is open. To experts, displays of boxing, Sambo, Karate, Taekwondo, and even Capoeira are evident in modern MMA fighting.
The sport gradually developed in the U.S. However, it wasn’t until 1993 that the first official promotion of an MMA tournament, referred to as the Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC), would be coined in the fighting world.
Since then, MMA has been built and supported around the structure of a professional league under the UFC brand and with President Dana White as its central figure.
MMA consists of full-contact duels between two adversaries. Rules are still quite limited yet have been gradually developed and reinforced given the pressure built by broadcasting networks and other major sponsors.
Some of the main techniques allowed and promoted in MMA are ground fighting, striking, and grappling. A fighter becomes victorious when immobilizing their opponent, knocking them out, or displaying a strategic balance of superior defensive and offensive fighting.
The sport has gained significant popularity worldwide. By 2018, MMA had surpassed 450 million fans globally. However, on pay-per-view, MMA has always trailed right behind boxing. That same year, over a million PPVs were sold for a total of eight fights.
In plain numbers, the UFC generates anywhere from $20 to 50 million dollars per fight when the event surpasses the 300,000-view mark.
It is also said that MMA, or cage fighting, is gradually becoming the most popular fighting sport in the world. MMA has allowed for more freedom in the cage, and with a great combination of endless fighting styles, the sport continues to captivate many fans worldwide.
MMA Betting Picks
The top MMA betting events are UFC fights. Official league events are usually promoted and moved around sportsbooks to become a competitive dynamic to bet on. The first type of obvious betting pick is on individual events.
Here, fans can easily choose which fighter they believe will take the event. On single events, fans can also pick on winning variants. For instance, they can decide on a contender beating their rival by a knockout, technical knockout, submission, or by points. These allow for a greater range of betting alternatives fans can explore.
Although there is no specific UFC season, the league releases approximately 40 live events per year, most fighters will gradually make their way to the more popular pay-per-view events. Therefore, fans and bettors are recommended to keep a close eye on rising contenders, and those events are not entirely covered as PPV fights. These will also reach sportsbooks as attractive options to consider.
Once fighters have gotten through preliminary events, they will reach more popular PPV fights. These events have the most coverage and, therefore, some of the most appealing alternatives for bettors.
As fighters make their way to the top, they will also participate in a series of tournaments based on their weight category. Bets on long-term tournament champs can also be made. Although they are not as common, most sportsbooks will offer an opportunity for fans to make their top predictions.
Under the UFC, there is an ample range of fighting categories or divisions. The divisions, according to their weight restrictions and limits, are as follows:
- Heavyweight: 265 lb (120.2 kg)
- Light Heavyweight: 205 lb (102.1 kg)
- Middleweight: 185 lb (83.9 kg)
- Welterweight: 170 lb (77.1 kg)
- Lightweight: 155 lb (70.3 kg)
- Featherweight: 145 lb (65.8 kg)
- Bantamweight: 135 lb (61.2 kg)
- Flyweight: 125 lb (56.7 kg)
- Strawweight: 115 lb (52.5 kg)
Fans are recommended to explore all fighting categories and divisions as each one will have its own tournament and specific top events.
On some occasions, bettors can choose different prop options. These can range from a points handicap alternative to the overall length of the fight in minutes.
MMA Betting Odds
MMA does not differ much in how odds are interpreted and read like in most sports. Starting with basic odds, if contender A is placed with -200 odds, they stand as the favorite pick. This implies that bettors will need to wager $200 to make a $100 profit from their original investment.
On the other hand, if a bettor was to opt for the underdog, let’s say, contender B, if their odds stand at +200, for every $100 wager, bettors can make a $200 profit. So the tip is to pick one’s winner carefully and keep a close eye on how odds vary.
Bettors can also choose Over/Under bets. In this case, this category will be directly linked to the number of rounds bettors are expecting the fight to last.
If the fight is expected to last only three rounds, the over/under could be set at 1.5 and or 2.5. So, for instance, if a bet is placed on the over, fans expect the fight to last longer than the number of rounds indicated.
Bettors can also choose other variants within specific events. For instance, if they select an event to finish with a knockout or expect the fighters to complete all rounds, these variants can exponentially increase their earnings.
One could also opt for live betting and move their money around as odds fluctuate. Although the odds may be appealing, bettors could also choose to wager on the potential champion of a given tournament. It’s always a long shot, but bettors can make top earnings by hitting the correct picks.
MMA Betting Stats
MMA stats can become very functional when understanding the sport and placing a wager. Starting with individual fighter starts, these are the basic guidelines all fans can review when they wish to get a good preview of how a fight might end.
So, for instance, if contender A is 10-0, that means he is currently undefeated. This record will impact a potential contender B with a 6-4 record. Odds will generally favor those fighters with the most recent wins or most victories overall.
Other factors that might come into play are weight stats. To experts, betting against the heaviest fighter will give bettors over a 60 percent chance of making the right pick. These tend to be standard numbers offered in the preview to every fight. Fans are recommended to take every piece of data at their disposal to make the best possible decision.
Another stat that might be appealing to consider is a fighter’s grappling numbers. These will never guarantee a win, but the contenders with the highest grappling numbers will walk into the fighting cage with an apparent lead over their rivals.
In this same category is a fighter’s striking stats. Contenders with higher striking numbers will tend to top the odds. To experts, a fighter with better striking stats might have a 70 percent of winning the fight before even stepping onto the cage.
It’s not all about a fighter’s weight, as the overall size tends to have a lesser effect on the event’s outcome. Therefore, these stats can’t be considered vital to determine the result of an event.
MMA Betting Trends
Some of the most important MMA trends can allow bettors to make the most of each wager they place. The first and most important trend to keep track of is to stay on top of your favorite fighters.
Contenders who continually top the list as the favorite pick to take over the event and ultimately do so will have better odds of winning any fight. Bettors need to make sure that they are reviewing their fighters’ previous stats before placing a wager on them.
Experts also recommend fans keep a close eye on underdogs and their potential turnaround. For example, in 2021, underdogs cashed 36.2 percent of all events. This means that underdogs made their solid appearance in almost four of every ten fights and managed to make some lucky and analytical bettors some good earnings.
Another trend to stay on top of is divisional results. In this case, when approached from a division scope, bettors can subdivide all MMA results and stats into more manageable portions. For instance, favorites to win the fight may have successfully conquered the affair in eight of ten total events in the league.
Yet, the favorite contenders were successful in only six of every ten fights. That means that favoring the underdog in this division will always drive probabilities of making a win higher than they would if the exact pick was made in another division.
Finally, make sure to keep an eye on overall tournament results. For instance, some fighters may get great event results throughout the preliminary series but manage to fall short in higher events.
This is where bettors will have a chance to decide how long they should favor a specific fighter. These success trends throughout events are also helpful when determining this point in the race.
How to Bet MMA
Betting on MMA is as simple as betting on any other sport. Starting with Moneylines, let’s pretend contender A leads with higher odds over contender B. In this case, if contender A is the favorite one to win the fight and his odds stand at -150, that means that bettors will need to place a $150 wager to make $100 in return.
On the other hand, if a bettor opts for the underdog with odds at +200, that means that a $100 wager can result in a $200 profit.
In terms of over and under, the principle is similar. For example, let’s say a sportsbook has determined that the number of rounds the fight between two contenders will be set at 1.5 and -150. If a bettor places a $150 wager on the fight lasting two rounds or more, favoring the over, they will earn a $100 profit from their original investment.
Other types of bets follow the same patterns. For example, contender A is set to win by knockout, and his odds are set at +150. This implies that if a bettor places a $100 wager, they will make a $150 profit from their investment.
Whether a knockout by submission or points, the odds will vary but not differ in how they are meant to be interpreted.
MMA Betting Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Bettors need to check that their sportsbook not only offers MMA as an alternative but that they are placing the wager within the boundary of a pro-betting state.
Bettors have opted for various prop bets and long-term results given their high payouts. In this case, picking on how a contender will win the fight is among the top alternatives.
Bettors are recommended to check a sportsbook of their choice and validate that MMA fighting is offered as one of the alternatives.
Yes. As in any other sporting event, all wagers placed on MMA fighting are regulated and must comply with the sportsbook’s terms and conditions.
The UFC has hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, making it the most popular fighting league to bet.
Yes. Given the number of events, the array and selection of betting options, and all related stats and numbers, MMA are by far one of the most popular sports to choose.
Among some of the top fighters in the league are:
- Jon Jones (UFC, 26-1, 1 N.C.)
- Kamaru Usman (UFC, 20-1)
- Francis Ngannou (UFC, 16-3)
Anytime there is a specific MMA event, bettors can track the time and date, as well as all related stats, to be sure they make the most of their wagers.
The Bellator featherweight division is one of the most popular MMA divisions in the UFC.