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MMA & UFC Betting Tips: Best bets for this week's big fights writers offer free UFC betting tips for every numbered pay-per-view event as well as UFC on ESPN and UFC on ESPN+ cards.

Edson Barboza v Justin Gaethje (March 30)

Justin Gaethje arrived in the UFC with plenty of hype in 2017 and lived up to the billing has he took out Michael Johnson in the second round, but his ‘jets were cooled’ when he then suffered back-to-back stoppage defeats at the hands of two of the very best in the 155lb division, Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. Gaethje rebounded last August as he took out James Vick inside 90 seconds, and he will now look to record back-to-back wins inside the Octagon for the first time when he takes on veteran lightweight Edson Barboza.

Barboza first joined the UFC back in November 2010 and since then he has experienced several highs and several lows, compiling a 17-7 record while fighting for the premier organisation in mixed martial arts. The highs have been wins over the likes of Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis, while the lows have been submission defeats to Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson, as well as a TKO loss at the hands of Kevin Lee just under a year ago. Barboza also dropped a decision defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2017, so while his UFC record at first glance is not exactly spectacular it does show that this is a fighter who has competed with a who’s who of fighters and has only really been beaten by the best of the best. The question is, does Gaethje fit into that category?

Gaethje is undoubtedly a talented fighter and despite those two losses he could still make himself a legitimate title contender in the lightweight division. The problem is he seems reluctant to put all of his skills to use when he steps inside the Octagon. ‘The Highlight’ is a very talented wrestler and that makes him ‘kryptonite’ to Barboza’s style in many ways, but the issue is that the American does not turn to that side of his game in fights. He loves to stand and trade with his opponent and that can be a dangerous game against a striker like Barboza, who possesses brutal leg kicks.

If Gaethje takes the approach of using his wrestling and smothering Barboza then the fight is his for the taking, but his track record for wanting to turn things into slugfest really makes it difficult to have unwavering confidence that he will do that. And while he stands in front of the Brazilian he is going to be on the receiving end of some crippling leg kicks that will take away his base and eat into his ability to throw big shots back. Therefore I am backing Barboza to come away with the win here and I would not be shocked to see him halt the American, whose insistence on getting involved in wars could be catching up with him after those KO/TKO losses to Alvarez and Poirier.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz v Michelle Waterson (March 30)

Michelle Waterson has rebounded from those 2017 defeats to Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas by reeling off back-to-back decision wins over Felice Herrig and Cortney Casey, but they have not been enough to see her break into the top five in the women’s strawweight division. That could all change with a big win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz here, but can she get the better of the Pole?

Kowalkiewicz has gone 2-3 in her last five fights but in her defence all of those losses have come against high-level opposition. The worry is that she looked gun-shy before being knocked out by Jessica Andrade in less than two minutes last September, and you have to wonder how she will react to being taken out in such brutal fashion. That can often ruin a fighter mentally, so if she was on edge about striking before that KO loss where does she stand mentally right now?

The bookmakers have made her the favourite for this one, but I like the chances of Waterson springing an upset that could propel her into the title picture. She has shown plenty of improvement in her last two outings and while she may be nicknamed the ‘Karate Hottie’, she would be wise to get this fight to the ground where she will have a massive advantage. And if Kowalkiewicz is still carrying the after-effects that brutal KO loss, Waterson’s job could be a little easier.

Previous UFC Betting Tips For 2019

EventTip 1Tip 2Tip 3Profit/Loss:
10pt Stake
UFC on ESPN+Dillashaw by KO/TKO @ 2/1Hardy in Round 1 @ 8/15--U20
UFC on ESPN+ 2Moraes to win @ 4/7Aldo to win @ 11/10Walker by KO/TKO @ 2/1-+36.71
UFC 234Whittaker by KO/TKO @ 13/8 - FIGHT CANCELLEDAdesanya by KO/TKO @ 4/5--U10
UFC on ESPNVelasquez by KO/TKO @ 11/10---U10
UFC on ESPN + 3Struve by submission---+24
UFC 235Jones by KO/TKO @ 8/11Woodley by decision @ 12/5Askren by decision @ 8/11Walker in 1st Round @ 17/10U13
UFC on ESPN+ 4Dos Santos by KO/TKO @ 23/20---+11.50
UFC on ESPN+ 5Till by Decision @ 7/4---U10
UFC on ESPN +6Thompson by KO/TKO @ EVSBlaydes by KO/TKO @ 9/5--U20

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MMA's rising popularity means there is no shortage of bookmaker websites where you can place your bets on the sport, but with so many bookies to choose from which ones offer the most competitive odds and the best service?

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UFC Betting Tips Guide: How To Bet On MMA

Betting on mixed martial arts has never been so popular, with more and more bookmakers offering more and more markets for the fast-rising sport. But which markets should you be using to make a profit when betting on MMA? Here is our guide to the key markets…


This market could not be any simpler – you are betting on who will win the fight. It does not matter if the bout is won by decision, submission or knockout, as long as the fighter you back is victorious your bet will be a winner. Of course, that means the appeal of this market is solely dependent on how open the fight is and that means the only real opportunity to make a profit comes when the bookmakers are struggling to separate two fighters.

Method Of Victory

Just like the ‘Winner’ market you are picking out who you think will have their hand raised at the end of the fight, but the odds are bigger in this market because you have to also select how the fighter will win the bout. And of course, in the world of MMA there are three options to choose from because fights can end via KO/TKO, submission or via decision. By having to select a method of victory you are immediately getting a bigger price for backing your chosen fighter. For example, Khabib Nurmagomedov was an 8/15 favourite for his bout with Tony Ferguson at the time of writing, but if you backed him to win by Decision you would get odds of 15/8. If you backed him to win via KO/TKO, you would get odds as big as 3/1. Some bookmakers even offer an opportunity to back a fighter to win by KO/TKO or Submission, so there are plenty of options here and that means this tends to be a go-to market for our tipsters.

Total Rounds

The Total Rounds market gives you the chance to bet on how many rounds the fight will or will not last. So, using Khabib v Ferguson as the example again, you would back Over 4.5 Total Rounds at 1/2 if you fancied the main event to go the full five rounds. Alternatively, if you liked the chances of a fighter winning in the first three rounds you would back Under 3.5 Total Rounds at 11/10 – it would not matter if the fight lasted one round or two rounds, as long as it ended before the 17:30 mark in the fight your bet would be a winner.

Round Betting

One of the most popular ways to bet on combat sports is to bet on which round the fight will finish, and this market covers every single round in the fight. The odds can be quite lucrative too because you are pinpointing the ending of the bout down to just one round, so if you believed Numagomedov would tear through Ferguson in just one round you could get a price as big as 6/1, while a win late on for the Russian fighter, perhaps in Round 4, could be backed at 14/1. If there is a market in which you can make a big profit, it is this one.


Most UFC Titles: 5 - Randy Couture

Fighters To Have Won UFC Titles In Two Different Weight Classes: Randy Couture (Heavyweight, Light-Heavyweight), Georges St-Pierre (Middleweight, Welterweight), Conor McGregor (Lightweight, Featherweight), BJ Penn (Welterweight, Lightweight), Daniel Cormer, (Heavyweight, Light-Heavyweight), Amanda Nunes (Women's bantamweight, Women's featherweight).

Longest UFC Title Reign: 2,457 days - Anderson Silva (Middleweight)

Most UFC Fights: 29 - Michael Bisping

Most UFC Wins: 20 - Michael Bisping

Most Knockouts: 12 - Vitor Belfort

Most Submissions: 12 - Royce Gracie

Longest Win Streak: 16 - Anderson Silva (June 28, 2006 - July 6, 2013)

Fastest Finish: 6 seconds - Duane Ludwig beat Jonathan Goulet by KO (January 16, 2006)

Latest Finish In 5 Round Fight: Demetrious Johnson beat Kyoji Horiguchi by Submission at 4:59 in Round 5 (April 25, 2015)

Latest Finish in 3 Round Fight: Paul Craig beat Magomed Ankalaev by Submission at 4:59 in Round 3 (March 17, 2018)

Current UFC Champions

TitleFighterDate Won
HeavyweightDaniel CormierJuly 2, 2018
Light-HeavyweightJon JonesDecember 29, 2018
MiddleweightRobert WhittakerJuly 8, 2017
WelterweightKamaru UsmanMarch 2, 2019
LightweightKhabib NurmagomedovApril 7, 2018
FeatherweightMax HollowayJune 3, 2017
BantamweightTJ DillashawNovember 4, 2017
FlyweightHenry CejudoAugust 4, 2018
Women's BantamweightAmanda NunesJuly 9, 2016
Women's StrawweightRose NamajunasNovember 4, 2017
Women's FeatherweightAmanda NunesDecember 29, 2018
Women's FlyweightValentina ShevchenkoDecember 8, 2018


Conor McGregor celebrates becoming the first man to be world champion in two UFC weight classes at the same time. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images )

Mixed Martial Arts' rise to being one of the most popular sports on the planet has been nothing short of spectacular, and of all of the promotions out there the biggest is undoubtedly the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Founded in 1993, the UFC was designed to answer some age-old questions. Could a wrestler beat a boxer? Could a karate fighter beat a jiu jitsu expert? And how would a sumo wrestler fare in the world of combat sports?

Those questions were answered in brutal - and sometimes bloody - fashion as mixed martial arts became an outlawed sport across much of the United States, with senator John McCain famously branding it “human cock-fighting”. Media outlets made the most of the fact there were “no rules” – which wasn’t actually true – and an increasing number of pay-per-view carriers dropped the UFC due to pressure.

UFC 12 had to be moved from Buffalo to Dothan, Alabama after MMA was effectively banned by the state, and the company continue to haemorrhage cash as each event went by. In an attempt to stem the tide against mixed martial arts UFC bosses introduced weight classes, rounds and five minute time limits – as well as a number of other rules – but the promotion continued to lose money and in January 2001 parent company Semaphore Entertainment Group – on the brink of bankruptcy – sold up.

Step forward, Dana White and the Fertitta brothers. White persuaded the Las Vegas casino chiefs to spend $2million to buy the promotion in 2001 – although Lorenzo Fertitta later admitted all he wanted from the deal were the letters U, F and C.

“I had my attorneys tell me that I was crazy because I wasn't buying anything,” Fertitta told Fighter’s Only magazine. “I was paying $2million and they were saying 'What are you getting? And I said 'What you don't understand is I'm getting the most valuable thing that I could possibly have, which is those three letters: UFC. That is what's going to make this thing work. Everybody knows that brand, whether they like it or they don't like it, they react to it.'”

The UFC shifted its operations to Las Vegas – considered the fight capital of the world – and the trio of Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture began to lay the foundations for the success that has come since. Ortiz’s brash and outspoken antics earned him the attention of the mainstream media while Liddell’s devastating knockout power made him a fighter that could not be missed. Ken Shamrock – a star in the early days – returned to the company to reignite his rivalry with Ortiz and their UFC 40 bout reportedly kept the company afloat.

However, during their three-year ownership the Ferittas had lost in excess of $34million trying to kick-start the franchise and they were considering whether or not to part with the UFC when the opportunity for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality television series came around. TUF had a simple formula – a bunch of fighters move into a house together and compete for a six-figure contract with the UFC. The catch was, the UFC would have to pay $10million to produce the show.

The Fertitta’s decided to take the gamble and a deal was signed with the Spike TV station in the United States, but would the final roll of the dice be successful? The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’. TUF was an instant success and the epic final fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar has been hailed by UFC president White as the fight that saved the UFC. In fact, it was so important the two men were later inducted into the Hall of Fame in respect of what they did that night.

"This was our last $10 million," White told Yahoo Sport. "People say, 'Oh, TUF, it's just a reality show.' No. This was more than a reality show. Everything was on the line. The way Lorenzo puts it, it's like you're out gambling and you've gotten your ass kicked all night and then you get everything you saved and everything you have and you put it up on the table and you tell them to cut the cards. That's what it was!"

The Ultimate Fighter became a permanent fixture on Spike TV and the season three success of Michael Bisping – who would become the first British fighter to hold a UFC title – helped catapult the sport into the public eye in the United Kingdom. Events in the UK would become regular occurrences and as the years went on the UFC would host events across the United States and the glove – a makeshift stadium was built in Abu Dhabi for one card.

In 2011 the UFC inked a seven-year deal with broadcasting giants FOX Sports and the first ever fight on the network made history as it became the most watched combat sports event since Lennox Lewis defended the world heavyweight boxing championship against Vitali Klitschko in 2003.

The UFC was on a roll, buying up other promotions to sign the best talent available and in the likes of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar they had fighters that would smash all sorts of records – from gate receipts to television ratings to pay-per-view buy rates.

And in March 2016 the company finally made the breakthrough it had been fighting for ever since UFC 12. New York became the 50th US state to legalise mixed martial arts and it was soon announced that the first ever MMA card at Madison Square Garden would be held on November 12. The hottest ticket in town offered the most spectacular card in UFC history and represented the moment the UFC was truly a mainstream sport that could go where it wanted when it wanted.

But before that epic night, the Fertitta brothers called time on their reign over the sport. In July of 2016 parent company ZUFFA announced it had sold the company to talent agency WME-IMG for a staggering $4billion - not a bad profit on a $2million purchase, even with those losses in the early days. White would stick around as president and the question was what was next for the UFC?

More growth we expect, and as the UFC and the sport of MMA continues to reach more and more people the bookmakers are offering more and more to its punters. At one time you could only find a handful of markets to bet on for the big fights, but now the bookies are queuing up with a whole hosts of betting markets and special promotions - even for the undercard! has it all covered, offering exclusive UFC tips and giving you a rundown of key bookmaker promotions.

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