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A guide to betting on MMA as the UFC targets May return


Most sports around the world have gone into lockdown due to the coronavirus over the past few weeks and months, but Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) looks set to be one of the first major sports to return.

UFC president Dana White has outlined his ambitions to host UFC 249 on May 9 in Las Vegas after its initial slot was cancelled due to the pandemic, although the event will be held inside an empty stadium.

As MMA and UFC look likely to restart before other major sports like football, tennis, and basketball, this is the best time to learn how to effectively bet on the combat sport.

Below is the ultimate guide:

Do your research

The greatest advantage sports betting has over casino betting is the ability to access information that can greatly influence your decisions and therefore boost chances of success. MMA is certainly no different and the sport’s biggest company, the UFC, is covered by thousands of websites, blogs, YouTube channels and social media accounts providing all the information needed that can be used in betting decisions.

Use these many resources to gather as much information and intel as possible ahead of the fights you are planning to bet on. Some of the important info you will want to find include recent records, ranking, time between fights, if the fighter is returning from an injury absence, the fighter’s style and how they fare against other  styles, and other aspects that might affect the outcome of the fight.

You will also want to stay up to date with the news related to the fights in the buildup to the event. Is a fighter struggling to make weight? Has there been an injury scare in the training camp? What are the experts saying? All of this will ensure smart betting decisions and help to spot good value bets the bookies may have missed.

Types of Bets

Now you are tooled with all the info you need ahead of a UFC event, you need to know where and how to bet your money. Online MMA betting falls into three overall categories:

Money Line/Win Bets. The most basic form of betting on MMA fights is much the same as every other sport and that is to simply bet on who is going to win the fight. This type of bet is called the Money Line in the United States or Win Bets elsewhere. If two fighters are evenly matched, bookies could price them both at 10/11 in the fractional system; 1.91 in decimal odds; and -110 or +110 in the moneyline system.

Fighters with shorter odds are viewed by bookies as the favorites and therefore more money needs to be placed on them to make significant profit. There are therefore three ways to approach Money Line bets: place a lot of money on a big favorite to win a small profit but is theoretically a safer bet; wager on one of two more evenly matched fighters; or bet on the underdog with less money but get bigger returns.

Under/Over Rounds. There are either three or five rounds in MMA fights, so for this bet you would be picking how many rounds the fight will have in total. Often these bets are presented in differences of 0.5, so Under/Over 1.5, under/over 2.5 and so on. As each round is five minutes, betting on ‘under’ would mean the fight would have to finish inside the first two-and-a-half minutes of that round.

Likewise, the fight would have to finish in the second two-and-a-half minutes of the round – or go the full distance – for bets on ‘over’. Under/Over bets are popular when Win Bet odds are not very attractive (when you have a big favorite up against a big underdog).

Prop Bets. These markets offer the chance to bet on certain outcomes to take place during the fight. In the case of MMA, this could be betting on one fighter to throw more punches or to complete more takedowns. It takes Win Bets and Under/Over bets out of the equation, so it doesn’t matter who wins or how long the fight lasts.

Victory Bets. These bets offer you the chance to wager on the way a fight is won. In MMA, there are three common ways a fight is won: on points, by knockout, and by submission. These bets can be more challenging to predict, so the odds are typically longer – offering the opportunity to win more but with higher risk. However, if you have done your research, Victory Bets could be a great way to exploit the betting markets.

Other MMA betting advice

Like with any type of betting, be it sports, casinos, or virtual games, it is always important to bet sensibly and logically. Only bet what you can afford to lose and never bet based on emotion. If a fighter you support is a clear underdog, then don’t be afraid to bet against him, or alternatively, just avoid the bet altogether and focus your efforts on more neutral fights.