MMA, or mixed martial arts, is a combat sport in which athletes are put into a cage and have to fight each other. The popularity of the UFC exploded in the 2010s and nowadays it is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are numerous organizations around the world that arrange MMA fights, usually promoting local talents. The basic principles of MMA are universal, but in some countries, there may be slight differences in how fights are conducted. There may also be differences in the weight conditions for the different divisions.
What is MMA?
The big appeal of the sport is that “there are no rules”. This is not exactly true, as there are illegal moves that can disqualify a fighter. However, for the most part, there are no restrictions which allow fighters to employ all sorts of techniques. There are three major types of strategies that fighters can use:
Stand-up strategies are where fighters strike their opponents. Contestants can use moves from Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Boxing, Capoeira, and many more. These fights tend to get bloody and quite quickly.
Clinching or grappling is also favoured amongst fighters. They can use moves from Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sanda, and other disciplines. The moves usually involve clinching the opponent for takedowns or throwing the opponent off their feet.
Ground fighting also takes some techniques from Brazilian Jiu-Jistu and Judo, but it is more akin to wrestling. Fighters that go to ground can defend and also bring their opponents down quickly. There, they can put them in a hold and force them to submit.
What is the UFC?
The UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the most well-known MMA promotion company. It is the richest organization and organizes the biggest events in the sport. Fighters such as Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Luis Aldo, Anderson Silva, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Ronda Rousey all were contracted at the UFC. Fights are held frequently and they have international coverage. Therefore, there is a good chance you will be able to watch UFC fights and bet on them.
Betting on UFC & MMA Fights
MMA fights are packed with action and can be thrilling to watch. They can get quite heated and one slip or one definitive strike can cost one contestant the fight. If you want to bet on MMA fights, then you will find plenty of markets to pick from. Here, we will look at some of the main markets and explore what they have to offer.
- Total Rounds
- Method of Victory
- Winning Round
- Go the Distance
- Fight Props
- Live Betting
Fights in MMA can last either three rounds or five. Generally, championship fights last 5 rounds and other fights are played in three rounds. Rounds are 5 minutes long and there is a 1-minute break between each round, which allows fighters to recover.
There are a few ways a fighter can win. They can win the fight by a knockout or technical knockout – which is when their opponent cannot carry on (or is deemed unfit to keep fighting). They can also win by submission, which is when their opponent taps out. If the fight “goes the distance” – that is – lasts the full 3 or 5 rounds, then it will be decided by the judge's decision. The judges will determine which fighter dominated the fight and landed more critical strikes. Lastly, fighters can win if their opponent is disqualified. This is seldom, but disqualification can occur if a fighter does an illegal move.
A moneyline is a two-way bet where you have to pick which fighter you think will win. The odds on this bet are not extremely long as there are only 2 possible outcomes. It does not matter how your chosen fighter wins – if they can overcome their opponent you should receive your winnings.
You can bet on how many rounds a fight will last with the total rounds bet. It does not matter which fighter wins, as long as you predict how many rounds the fight will be won in. The bet uses the over/under format, which means you need to pick whether the fight will end with over or under the number of rounds defined by the betting line.
For example, if there is a championship fight and the betting line is 2.5 the bet for over will require the fight to last 3, 4, or 5 rounds. The bet on under will require the fight to end in round 1 or round 2. In an example of a 3-round fight, the betting line may be 1.5. This basically means you can either bet on the fight to finish in the first round with an under bet, or bet on the fight to last 2 or 3 rounds with the over bet.
Method of Victory
There are numerous ways to win a fight, and you can bet on how the fight may be won with this bet. Method of victory is usually split into three possibilities:
- Knockout or technical knockout or disqualification
- judge's decision
These are usually the options presented, but you may find that some bookmakers split KO/TKO/DQ into separate categories. However many ways this bet is split, you can be assured that the odds will be quite long and there are some great betting opportunities. This bet is popular amongst MMA bettors as there is plenty of research that can be done to help make more informed decisions. The method of victory will also depend on the fighting style that the fighters use. Grapple and ground fighters that use wrestling techniques are more likely to force a submission. Fighters that use a more direct fighting style will be more likely to win by KO or TKO.
This is simply a bet on which round the fight will be won in. It is different from the total rounds bet as it requires you to predict the exact round in which the fight will be won. It does not matter which fighter wins the fight or how they do it; as long as you pick the winning round you shall win your bet.
Go the Distance
Going the distance in fights basically means that the fight lasts the full 3 or 5 rounds. A go the distance bet is simply a yes/no bet on the fight to go all the way to the judge's decision. If a fighter is knocked out, disqualified or submits in any of the rounds then the bet is lost.
Combos (2 Selections)
Some bookmakers may offer combination bets. These markets offer far longer odds and you can win massive returns. However, they have more criteria and therefore are riskier to place. You may find a combo where you need to bet on a fighter and the winning round.
For example, in a fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, you would have these options:
- Oliveira to win in Round 1
- Oliveira to win in Round 2
- Oliveira to win in Round 3
- Poirier to win in Round 1
- Poirier to win in Round 2
- Poirier to win in Round 3
There are six possible outcomes, and this will lengthen the odds greatly. Other possible combos can combine moneylines + method of victory, or method of victory + winning round.
Combos (3 Selections)
The fight bet's equivalent of a jackpot is a combo that has 3 selections in it. Here, you will need to pick which fighter will win, how they will win, and the round they will win the fight in. Without getting your hopes up – it is extremely hard to predict. But if you do make a winning prediction, you can expect gigantic returns to come your way.
Not all bookmakers offers fight props for MMA fights, but if you find some then you will be in for a treat. First blood and which fighter will have the first takedown are extremely popular bets and they can potentially pay out in mere minutes.
Betting on which fighter will draw first blood sounds a bit macabre, but you can make some quick money if your fighter strikes first. It is a bet that can also be found in other combat sports such as boxing.
Betting on the first takedown is a bet that can even pay out in seconds. As soon as a fighter is knocked to the ground, you will either win or lose your bet. Hopefully, the fighter you picked will be on their feet and you will receive your winnings.
There are many live betting markets for MMA fights. As soon as the event starts, the pregame markets will close and be replaced with the live betting markets. The odds on the bets will fluctuate during a fight and you will have to make your bets fast. You may not be able to bet on the ongoing round, but you will certainly be able to bet on the winner of the next round. There will also be bets such as method of victory, winning round, and so on.
Many punters opt for live betting instead of making pregame bets because they can judge a fight better after watching the first few minutes. A fighter may have prepared better than their opponent or they may have done enough mind games to distract their opponents. If you want to take advantage of live bets, then you should be careful to look for signs that may indicate which fighter has the advantage and do not forget, to place your bets as early as you can. You may hold on to the last seconds and then suddenly your fighter overcomes their opponent and the opportunity is gone.
Betting on MMA comes with its own risks, but any find it exhilarating. The thrill of a fight is even more intense when you have some money riding on one of the contestants. When you are looking to place your bets, you can check out statistical information about the contestants to make well-informed bets. Making live bets is also a good way to take advantage, but it can be a dangerous game to wait for the right time to make bets.
Ultimately, you will need to trust your gut instinct and go with the bets that you think will come through. Remember anything can happen in a fight, so bet responsibly and enjoy the thrill of the fight.
Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.