Although the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has only been holding events since 1993, its popularity has been increasing steadily over the years, and so has the brand's value. With world-class fighters like McGregor or Ronda Rousey, how could it not?.
According to the latest data, the UFC is now one of the most valuable brands worldwide, with a total estimated $609 million in revenue and brand value of $2 billion.
Considering the surging popularity of UFC and MMA in general, it comes as no surprise that UFC betting has also become a widespread practice.
Whether they're in it to support their favorite fighters or just make some money, people are betting big on UFC, and the industry doesn't show any signs of stopping.
As a beginner, you might be tempted to think that MMA betting is the same as any other type of sports betting, but it's really not, for a few reasons.
Then, there's the fact that MMA is an individual sport, so fans often get attached to their favorite fighter and end up betting with their hearts rather than their heads. So, even as a fan with expert knowledge, it's crucial to stay disciplined and informed.
If you're an avid UFC/MMA fan and you want to take your first steps in the world of betting, this UFC betting guide will help you understand the most important things about it.
As of May 2018, any US state that wishes to legalize sports betting is free to do so. However, not all legislators have been quick to do so, which means that if you want to bet on the UFC, you should check in advance if your state has legalized sports betting. For example, Utah is famous for its anti-gambling stance, and things are unlikely to change, at least in the near future. Fortunately, this is a rare case, since most states have either legalized betting (New Jersey, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, etc.), or plan on doing so soon (Connecticut, Massachusetts, California). You can have a look at this list for updated information on the legal status of sports betting in each state.
If you're used to betting online and travel abroad a lot, remember to check if this activity is allowed before making plans. For example, if you're traveling to countries like Turkey or China, you should know that online sports betting is currently prohibited, so you won't be able to access your favorite websites and apps.
Developing a successful UFC betting strategy starts with understanding how odds work.
It's simple, because most sports odds are represented in the same way:
In UFC, you have a favorite, represented with the minus sign (-)
And an underdog, represented with the plus sign (+)
Odds are typically based on people wagering $100, but you can bet whatever sum you like.
So, when you see odds like +110, it means that the player is an underdog and that the sportsbook gets $10 from your bet.
This is called a juice, or vig, and it's how sportsbooks get their money to operate.
In general, the way UFC betting odds work is that you need to put down less money for underdog bets because these bets are riskier.
So, if a fighter's odds are +125, you need to put down $100 to make $125.
If a fighter's odds are -245, then he's the favorite, and you profit $100 if you bet $245.
Important! The “odds” represent how much money you can win from a bet, and not how likely you're to win the bet.
Keep in mind that UFC betting odds can change from the moment betting is open to the day of the fight. The two most common factors behind changing odds are:
In UFC betting, money is generally with the underdog.
While safer, bets on favorites don't bring a lot of profit, so it comes down to your risk appetite: do you want to place safe bets and make small profits, or do you want to risk and potentially win big?.
Yes, you can parlay UFC fights.
Parlay betting, also known as accumulator or combo betting, is a form of betting where you link individual wagers together to combine the payout odds.
If you get all of them right, you win more money than if you bet on the same fights separately. If you get only one of them wrong, you lose the whole bet.
For parlay betting, you need to bet on at least two fights.
Over/under bets are a popular type of bets, and, if you've bet on other sports before, such as soccer, you probably already have a general idea of how they work.
With over/under bets, it doesn't matter who wins the fight or how they win it. What matters is when they finish it, after how many rounds.
This type of bet is recommended to MMA fans who are a bit more experienced and can not only estimate the winner but also how quickly that fighter will win.
Usually, you'll get these three options:
Yes, you can, and it can really pay off. You can place a bet on its own, or you can pair several bets if you did your research.
For example, if you're certain that Henry Cejudo will win a fight, you can place a bet for him to win. But then you can go further.
You can bet on him to win in under 2.5 rounds, and you can bet on him to win by knockout, for instance.
Unlike in the case of parlay betting, you won't lose everything if you get one of the victory conditions wrong.
But, if you do, you'll make a pretty nice profit.
Pairing different types of bets is a great way to make more money off favorites, but again, you'll need to do your research and not pick bets randomly.
Read predictions, analyze how each fighter has been winning, and read the news to get an idea of their physical and mental shape.
In theory, betting on both fighters is an excellent idea because you're getting some money back either way. However, the reverse is also true: you're also losing money either way.
So, even if you can bet on both fighters, the amount you can earn on such bets is limited, leaving you with little to no funds for future bets.
In most cases, you lose money or break even. Best case scenario, you make some money, but only a little bit.
You should also keep in mind that most bookmakers make the UFC betting odds, so you don't make too much money on this. After all, there's always a vig, and there are other low-risk ways to bet on UFC.
In most other sports, such as the NFL, players aren't allowed to bet at all, and there are great disciplinary consequences if you do.
In the UFC, fighters are actually allowed to bet on themselves or on other fighters, and so can their corners. For example, Ronda Rousey said that her corner best $20,000 on her.
However, there are some restrictions:
One of the most famous examples is that of Floyd Mayweather, who tried to place a $400,000 bet on the fight against Conan McGregor ending under 9.5 rounds at -200 odds, but was denied because the sportsbook questioned the legality of the move.
Then, he attempted to bet on himself that he would win by knockout, but in the end, he gave up because of the long waiting time.
Successful bettors make it look like predicting fight outcomes is easy, but there's a lot of work behind this. You can't replicate their success overnight, and you definitely can't sustain yourself from UFC betting, so it's important to have realistic expectations and be disciplined.
You should also take the time to develop a long-term betting strategy. Here are a few points to help you along the way:
Don't attempt to bet on every fight, at least not right away. As a beginner, it's impossible to know everyone's fighting style, and the whole thing will become so stressful that you won't enjoy the game anymore.
Instead, focus on one or two fighters that you know well and take smart, calculated decisions.
Don't imagine that betting on all fights at once will somehow maximize your profit because things can go wrong quickly, and you'll end up in dangerous gambling territory.
Don't neglect the location.
If one of the fighters has to make a long-haul flight one or two days before the fight, that can impact their shape. The location alone isn't a decisive factor, especially not for the best of the best, but it's something to keep in mind when the fighters are otherwise equal.
Follow the news, but think for yourself.
In MMA, like in all sports, any news leading up to the big event can have an influence on the outcome, so Twitter and MMA websites should be on your radar.
However, it's just as important to learn to make the difference between news and noise. In the days before a high-stakes fight, online magazines will try to get as many clicks as possible, so they'll post all sorts of stories, but not all of them are relevant.
Some are real, of course, and they matter.
For example, if you read that one of the fighters hurt themselves while training, that's something you need to take into account.
However, the fact that a celebrity supports them is simply irrelevant. As for the news that has to do with a fighter's state of mind, such as them ending a relationship or a loved one passing away, these are questionable.
Some fighters have strong morale and aren't affected in any way; others give in to the pressure. Again, it's a matter of knowing the fighter and what makes them click.
Watch out for fighters in their prime. Fighters in their prime are very dangerous to bet against because they're simply unstoppable. At the same time, they're not too profitable to bet for either because the payout is meager so if you can avoid them altogether.
Check multiple sportsbooks to get the best UFC betting odds on a bet. Thanks to online legit betting sites, you can shop around for multiple lines and pick the one with the highest payout. This is especially useful when the two fighters are from different countries.
Find out who they're training with. Talent and personal skills matter most, but don't forget that the fighter's trainer has a major influence on their success. If they've trained world champions before and are a legend in their field, their students will probably fight better.
Consider the types of fights, not just the record. If you're bet on other sports before, such as football, you're probably used to checking both sides' records.
However, it's a little more complicated in MMA because the record might not tell the full story.
For example, your fighter may have a perfect record, but for the next fight, he might be against an opponent with a totally different fighting style whom they don't face too often.
If you want to bet on MMA, an online betting site is your best choice. It's fast, it's convenient, you can bet from your phone or tablet, and you can get access to many great betting options, bonuses, and promotions that maximize your earnings.
But you need to be very careful because not every online betting platform out there is reliable. To avoid unpleasant surprises, check that they're secure, reliable and that they have transparent terms and conditions.
Here are three of the most trusted places to bet online on MMA you can start with:
MyBookie.ag was launched in 2014 and is one of the US fan favorites when it comes to MMA betting, not only because it covers just about every MMA event under the sun, but also because it has good bonuses for new and returning members alike.
This is clearly a legit, approved website, one of the longest standing in the history of online sports betting, in fact, so they're very professional and offer 24/7 customer service.
Mybookie.ag has safe (and low limit!) credit card deposits, a wide variety of withdrawal options, a friendly user interface and, one of the most important perks of all, they offer nice bonuses all year round.
Launched in 2015, the BetNow sportsbook is a trusted online betting platform that focuses on the US betting market. It has some of the most competitive UFC betting odds out there, including for parlay betting, and you get a choice of big bonuses when you deposit at either 100% up to $250 or $1,000 at 25% .
Withdrawal processing times are also pretty fast, and, considering that they only launched five years ago, it's impressive that they have such a strong reputation.
Bovada is the only online sportsbook that is available exclusively for US bettors, so keep in mind that it will not accept new members from states where sports betting is still not legalized.
Bovada is one of the oldest platforms of its type, so reliability isn't a concern. They offer 24/7 customer support, soft odds aimed at casual bettors, great promotions, and signup bonuses. They're also one of the fastest websites to process withdrawals, so you really can't go wrong with them.
Of course, these aren't the only options. There are many other UFC offshore betting sites out there, such as BetOnline and SportsBetting. Before you sign up, make sure you review the terms and conditions and compare signup bonuses.
If you enjoy UFC, betting online, where legal in USA is a great way to take your passion for MMA to the next level and make some money from it.
With a bit of research and discipline, you can become a successful bettor, but remember to always bet within your limits and stick to casual betting until you gain more experience.