How To Bet On MMA: Ultimate Strategy Guide

  • Understand the basics of MMA and how to implement that for betting on MMA fights.
  • We show you how knowing your fighter can pay off on fight night.
  • UFC betting will be explained in detailed.
  • How to use a MMA betting strategy to make the biggest profit when betting.

The origins of Mixed Martial Arts date back to ancient Olympic games in 648 BC, that combined wrestling with striking. These days it’s become one of the fastest growing sports in the world, thanks to the Gracie family who introduced Brazilian JiuJitsu to the US in the 1990s. It has grown an incredible amount from UFC 1 in 1993, which had a 86k pay-per-views, to UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor which sold 2.4m PPV’s.

Rules Of The Cage

MMA combines punches, kicks, knees, elbows and grappling to form the most well rounded form of combat.

Two fighters enter the bout, one will come victorious unless theres a draw. Three judges are cage-side and judge the fight based on a 10 point scoring system. 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round, and 9 points or less to the loser. A (10-9) round is scored when a contestant wins by a close margin, a (10-8) is when a contestant overwhelms the other fighter with a mix of strikes and grappling. A (10-8) would be a complete one-sided dominant performance. In rare occurrences when the round is evenly matched, it is scored (10-10).

UFC 205: Majority draw between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson

Judges take a mix of different factors into consideration, such as effective striking, grappling, dominance, aggressiveness and defense. Effective striking is determined by the significant legal strikes landed and also illegal strikes, which can lead to a point deduction based on the referees opinion.

Takedowns are major component for MMA betting, take Khabib Nurmagomedov for example who landed 21 takedowns on Abel Trujillo at UFC 160. This also shows dominance in the judges eyes and once Khabib has his opponents down he tortures them with multiple draining shots to the head and limbs.

Know Your Fighter

MMA fighters traditionally came from one specific area that they are excel at. For example Demian Maia comes from a Brazilian JiuJitsu background, with 13 submission victories under his belt. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson comes from a kickboxing and karate background, so expect him to out-point his opponents and typically win by decision or TKO.

There are UFC fighter stat sites out there such as ufcstats.com that breakdown key strengths and weakness for specific fighters. It’s important to take note of knockdowns landed, strikes landed per minute, takedowns landed, accuracy and defense.

Submission Attempts via ufcstats.com

Knowing your fighters stance in any combat sport is essential, MMA isn’t any different. When we say stance we mean Orthodox (left foot forward, right foot behind and utilize the right punch for power) vs Southpaw (left foot forward, right foot behind and power left punch). Orthodox are more common and Southpaws tend to give fighters more difficulty, such as Conor McGregor when he faced Eddie Alvarez. These days fighters can switch between both, Anderson Silva was one of the first to become successful at switching stances between Orthodox and Southpaw.

A fighters MMA record speaks volumes, we use Sherdog.com. Try find consistent fighters that fight on a regular basis with enough time to heal in between fights. If you are picking an underdog that had recent back-to-back losses, perhaps see if the match-making will work in their favour this time.

Michael Bisping’s MMA record. Bisping took a short notice fight 3 weeks after losing to GSP, which didn’t work in his favour against Kevin Gastelum. As you can see here he was on an impressive winning streak prior to this. Image via Sherdog.com

Every little bit of knowledge absorbed will benefit you, we recommend keeping up to date with upcoming MMA events, watching/listening to MMA Podcasts to find all the latest fight info and get comfortable with the MMA scene. Watch the weigh-ins the evening before the event, as this can be key to seeing the size difference during the face-off and also the mental side of MMA such as nerves, which is a major component heading into a MMA contest.

How UFC and MMA Betting Works

Betting on UFC and MMA is typically broken down to the following areas of placing bets.

Moneyline

A moneyline bet simply refers to the final result of a fight, if you are betting on a single fighter to win. This is also referred to match betting and is combat sports betting in it’s simplest form.

Over / Under Round Bets

This is an estimate bet of how many rounds you think the fight will last. For example if you know a fighter is prone to finishing their opponent within the first two rounds such as Francis Ngannou, then you could find a sportsbook with an under 2.5 betting line to wager on.

Method of Victory

The method of victory is key to knowing your fighters as we explained above. The task here is to decide how the fight will end, either by knockout (KO), technical knockout (TKO), decision or submission.

  • Knockout (KO) is literally when one fighter is turned unconscious, even briefly and the referee protects the hurt fighter by stopping the fight.
  • Technical knockout (TKO) is more common in MMA, where the referee has to interfere as one fighter is unable to defend themselves due to strikes.
  • Submission usually involves one fighter “tapping” to a hold or move that the other opponent is performing on them. One fighter’s cornermen can also stop the fight, by “throwing in the towel” which is also counted as a submission.
  • Disqualification (DQ) can happen for a number of reasons during the fight or prior to it. There are a number of illegal moves such as eye gouging, head butting etc.. it is on the referee to warrant a DQ.
  • Decision involves the fight ending without any of the above, where the judges will decide who won on their scorecards.

MMA Betting Strategy

Betting on underpriced underdogs based on insightful knowledge of both fighters styles and recent performances is key to success in MMA betting. That’s why we can help with the latest UFC betting odds, predictions and tips, listed in out UFC and MMA section.

Placing single bets on overwhelming favorites isn’t worth it unless you are putting a few hundred down. These UFC fighters Jon Jones, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Amanda Nunes will more than likely be favorites heading into their next UFC fights.

MMA Parlay Betting

A parlay is a single bet that combines two or more individual wagers for a higher payout.

Betting Insider Journal Tip: Parlay a slight favorite with an underpriced underdog is sensible MMA betting strategy. We will use the first UFC on ESPN as an example:

  • Henry Cejudo (+200) vs T.J. Dillashaw (-260)
  • Gregor Gillespie (-500) vs. Yancy Medeiros (+375)

Picking Henry Cejudo an underpriced underdog at (+200) combined with a big favorite Gregor Gillespie (-500) over Yancy Medeiros who lost prior to this fight. This parlay combined is (+260), so if you were to wager $100 the parlay payout would be $260.

Tip: It’s tempting to parlay multiple MMA bouts together on the one bet. However we recommend limiting your parlays to 3 picks at a time, as your chances of predicting more correct picks are significantly less.

Live MMA Betting

Betting on a live MMA fight is different than the other major sports. The odds tend to change quickly, so you have to be prepared to wager before the fight drastically changes to avail of current odds before they are updated. Sportsbooks also tend to freeze betting at stages of the fight due to major bets being placed last second. We recommend doing your research and not overreacting to the fight and stick with your pre-fight picks until you are comfortable and profitable at MMA betting.

Now that you are more knowledgeable at MMA betting strategy, check out this how to bet on boxing guide, similarities can be drawn when it comes to betting on combat sports.