How To Bet On UFC/MMA

Professional writer of over 23 years. I started off as a junior reporter for a local newspaper before moving into sport. Spent four years at Teletext Sport with Press Association before being made redundant. Got involved with BettingPro under the previous owner, then after a break came back under Catena Media. Rugby League writer and author with four RL books on sale and one football book.

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There has never been more mixed martial arts betting markets to choose from and while some of you will be experienced MMA punters, some of you may never have placed a bet on the sport. So what markets are available to you and how do they work? Here we run down the mixed martial arts markets currently offered by the leading bookmakers…


There is no catch to this mixed martial arts betting market – you are simply betting on who will win the fight. It does not matter how they win it – KO/TKO, Submission, Disqualification or Decision – as long as your selection is victorious your bet will be a winner. So when is the best time to use this market? The nature of this market means it is not always profitable – it depends massively on how competitive the fight will be in the minds of the bookmakers. For bouts where there is a clear favourite in the minds of the bookies there is really only way you can make a healthy return, you have to back the underdog. However, for the more even fights where the bookies are struggling to pick a winner you will often be able to back your chosen fighter at a decent, but hardly lucrative, price. So while the Winner market is the most straightforward of all markets, it is not always the most appealing.

Method Of Victory

In mixed martial arts there are four ways to win a fight – KO/TKO, Submission, Disqualification or Decision – and in the Method of Victory market all you have to do is successfully predict how your chosen fighter will get the job done. While there are four ways to win a fight the options in this market are cut to three with KO/TKO and Disqualification being lumped in together, and the odds offered by the bookmakers will obviously vary from fight to fight, depending on who is in the bout. So, for example, if a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard like Demian Maia is in action then the odds on him winning by submission will be shorter than the odds on him stopping his opponent with strikes, while you will get shorter odds for a KO/TKO success for somebody like heavy-hitting Francis Ngannou than you would for them forcing an opponent to tap out to a submission move. This market carries a little more risk than the Winner market because you are narrowing down how your chosen fighter will win, but by adding that extra risk you will give the odds available to you a little shunt in the right direction. For example, Khabib Nurmagomedov was an 8/15 favourite in the Winner market for a previous bout, but ‘The Eagle’ has been known to dominate opponents and get the job done on the scorecards over the years so backing him to win by Decision was an appealing option. If you did that you would have got odds of 15/8 on him getting the nod from the judges. Alternatively, had you backed him to stop his opponent with strikes you could have got odds as big as 3/1. Unless there is a clear winner and clear method of victory in the minds of the bookmakers this is a market that tends to offer appealing options – it is certainly a go-to market for our tipsters.

Double Chance

The Double Chance market has a lot of similarities to the Method Of Victory market, but the major difference is that you are not selecting one method of victory for the winner, you are selecting two. That means the odds on offer will be shorter than those available in the other market, because there is less risk of course, but this is a market worth considering if you have a fighter that is known for winning fights in a variety of different ways. For example, Daniel Cormier shocked the world when he knocked out Stipe Miocic inside one round in the summer of 2018 so it would not be out of the realms of reality that he would do the same in the rematch. However, many of Cormier’s wins at heavyweight have come via Decision so you may be struggling to decide which method to select for the fight. Fear not – you can just back him to win by KO/TKO or on points at odds of Even money. Now, this price is shorter than 3/1 on him to win by KO/TKO or the 11/4 on him to win via points, but it is still a good way to make profit while betting on mixed martial arts.

How Will The Fight End?

Just like the Method of Victory market you are betting on how the fight will end, but you do not need to select a winner. Removing that factor you are lessening the risk though, and that means the odds will be shorter. This is a market that can lead to a tidy profit, but it really depends on the fighters and their styles. For example, two fighters with similar styles are likely to cancel each other out and go the distance, so the odds on a Points Finish could be very short. And if you have a meeting of two heavy-hitters than the chances are that a KO/TKO Finish will be short. But for those tough matches to call between two well-rounded fighters, this could be the market for you because you do not have to put all of your chips on one man. You are essentially backing both at the same time and your bet will be a winner as long as one of them wins via your selected method.

Round Betting

Depending on the position on the card and/or whether or not a title is up for grabs, mixed martial arts bouts will tend to take place over either three or five five-minute rounds. For the Round Betting market you are betting on who will win the fight and in what round they will win it, and because you are really narrowing things down you will tend to find appealing odds in this market. So for example, if you are backing a fighter who is known to use frightening finishing power to take out opponents in short order then you could back them to win in Round 1 at much better odds than backing them to win or win by KO/TKO. In a recent bout Greg Hardy, known for first-round finishes, was 10/11 to be victorious and 6/4 to win by KO/TKO, but if you backed him to win in Round 1 again you would have got odds of 9/5. Alternatively you may be backing a fighter who likes to take their time and wear down opponents and that makes backing them to finish things off in Round 3 (of a three-rounder) or the ‘Championship Rounds’ (rounds 4 and 5) of a title fight or main event bout a tempting option. And of course, as I have already noted you will receive a much bigger price for this then you would backing your selection to win the bout or win it by a selected method. As an example, Max Holloway was 1/4 to beat Frankie Edgar and 4/6 to get the job done via KO/TKO, but this is a man who is known for picking apart opponents before finishing them off and you could have got odds of 13/2 for a fourth-round finish and 6/1 for a fifth-round finish. So as you can see, the Round Betting Market offers an excellent way to make a very healthy profit when betting on mixed martial arts.

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.

Will The Fight Go The Distance?

The market name is the question you have to answer – will this fight be won inside the distance, whether it is a three-round bout or a five-round affair. This market is almost a combination of Round Betting and Method of Victory. If your answer to the question is ‘no’ then you are expecting a stoppage finish, whether it be via KO/TKO or submission, and if the answer is ‘yes’, you are expecting the judges to decide the winner. This market is offered for all major fights, but it is one I rarely use for my recommendations unless I am having a hard time choosing the winner. Having said that, it is not a market you should simply write off because it does sometimes offer tempting odds. For example, Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar can be very tough men to stop and for their featherweight title fight the bookies went 5/2 about their bout going the distance. When you consider almost half of Holloway’s wins have come via decision and more than 50% of Edgar’s victories have come via the judges’ scorecards, that price will come with some temptation. So as you can see, this is a market that can offer appeal – it just depends on the fighter’s involved and their track record for how they win fights.

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