UFC Betting Guide

When you think of mixed martial arts (MMA), you think of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The UFC is the premier mixed martial arts promotion, and fighters from all over the world hope to one day win a UFC Championship. With its soaring popularity (and a new five-year deal with ESPN), the UFC continues to capture the attention of new fans worldwide.

No matter if you’re a new fan who wants to place a bet on the UFC, or if you consider yourself an expert at placing bets on UFC fights, we’re here to help you force the bookmakers into submission.

If you’re ready to take your UFC betting to the next level, you’re going to want to bet with our top-rated UFC betting sites for these reasons:

  • Competitive UFC odds for every domestic and overseas event
  • Excellent range of UFC markets, allowing for high-value bets
  • Huge deposit bonuses and quick and easy withdrawals

Best Bookmakers for UFC Betting

1
Bovada
50% Up to $250
2
GTBets
100% up to $500
3
BetOnline
50% Up to $1000
4
Bookmaker
15% Up to $600
5
MyBookie
$1000 Bonus
6
JustBet
15% Up to $600

Understanding UFC Betting

If you’re already familiar with sports betting, UFC betting will be a walk in the park.

Betting on UFC isn’t as complicated as betting on other sports such as football, basketball, or baseball in which there is a multitude of factors that can influence the outcome. Instead, we can focus on analyzing just two athletes, and not a team of 11+ football players. This allows us to quickly gain an understanding of the possible outcomes of every fight.

Of course, there’s a particular element of unpredictability when it comes to combat sports, and UFC betting is no different. Unlike a basketball game in which a team is 30 points up at three-quarter time, the entire result of a UFC bout can be decided by one well-timed strike or a perfectly executed submission. The entire course of a UFC fight can change suddenly or unexpectedly, leaving fans and keen punters glued to their seats as they collectively gasp, scream, and celebrate with every blow.

“The volatility and uncertainty of every fight make the UFC one of the most vulnerable betting markets today.”

Seasoned punters are always finding ways to gain an edge over bookmakers who are without the ability to use highly-advanced predictive models to forecast upcoming bouts in the same way they would for a football or basketball game.

That’s why we bet on the UFC.

How to Bet on UFC

As we mentioned earlier, UFC betting won’t be a challenge for anyone who has previous experience with sports betting.

Like most sports, punters can put their money behind a winner. You’ll also have the ability to place bets on more speculative options such as predicting the exact method of victory, the duration of a bout, or who will receive the $50,000 bonuses at the end of every event. Several of these markets are more lucrative than others.

We will discuss each of the most popular UFC betting markets and share our opinion on what markets you should bet on:

Outright Winner (Moneyline)

The outright winner market is the easiest way to bet on the UFC.

Punters will see the outright winner market before anything else when they log in to one of our top-rated UFC betting sites. The outright winner market is the best for those who are just starting with UFC betting, as all bets cash no matter if your fighter wins by decision, KO/TKO, or submission.

For every UFC fight, regardless of whether it’s on the UFC Fight Pass Prelims or the main card of a pay-per-view event, punters will have the ability to bet on either fighter to win the fight.

Here’s an example of what the outright winner market looks like:

  • Conor McGregor: -150
  • Eddie Alvarez: +150

When Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez clashed at UFC 205 in November 2016, McGregor was the betting favourite, and Alvarez was the underdog.

Because McGregor finished Alvarez in the second round by KO/TKO, all punters who backed McGregor in the outright winner market at odds of -150   cashed in and made an excellent profit.

Remember, all that matters in the outright winner market is that your fighter wins the fight! If you’re certain that a fighter is going to win, but you’re not sure how then the outright winner market is the one for you.

SBO’s must-know tips:

  • When a “draw” occurs, wagers on both fighters “to win” are refunded.
  • Any fight that is deemed “no contest” will have all wagers refunded.

Whether you’re a UFC betting rookie or veteran, we highly recommend betting on the outright winner market as it holds the greatest potential for long-term profits.

Total Rounds (Over/Under)

You don’t always have to pick a winner when betting on the UFC.

Instead, punters can use their knowledge of mixed martial arts to predict whether a fight will last longer or shorter than a time specified by the bookmaker.

For example, the bookmakers might set the total rounds market for a three-round fight at 2.5 rounds, allowing punters the option of betting on the fight lasting longer or shorter than the 2:30 mark of the third round.

Here’s how the total rounds market looked for the Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez UFC Lightweight Championship bout:

  • Over 1.5 rounds: -180
  • Under 1.5 rounds: +165

Although this was a five-round title fight, the line was set at 1.5 rounds. The odds were shorter for the over 1.5 rounds selection than the under.

McGregor went on to stop Alvarez at the 3:04 mark of the second round and all bets on the over 1.5 rounds cashed in at odds of -180 .

SBO’s must-know tips:

  • If a fight is stopped at any point during the round, bookmakers will classify anything before 2:30 as under and anything after that time as over the halfway point of that round. For example, the midway point of the second round was the over/under line for the McGregor vs. Alvarez bout.

Similar to the outright winner market, the total rounds market is another favourite of ours and one that we highly recommend for punters of all experience levels.

Method of Victory

Choosing the exact method of victory is one of the best ways to boost your potential earnings when betting on the UFC.

Instead of merely betting on a fighter to win the fight, the method of victory market allows a punter to access higher payouts by predicting if a fighter will win the fight by KO/TKO, submission, or decision.

Here’s an example of the method of victory odds from the Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez fight:

  • Conor McGregor to win by KO/TKO: +110
  • Conor McGregor to win by submission: +1500
  • Conor McGregor to win by decision: +800

Of course, punters could have sided with Eddie Alvarez and backed him to win by either of these methods also.

Although McGregor’s outright winner odds were shortened all the way down to -150 , punters could still get favourable odds for McGregor to win by any of these outcomes. McGregor won by KO/TKO and punters cashed in a profit of £110 for a £100 bet at odds of +110 .

SBO’s must-know tips:

  • A KO/TKO is defined as a referee stoppage (while standing or on the canvas), doctor stoppage, corner stoppage, or when a fighter retires due to an injury.
  • A submission is defined as when a referee stops the bout due to tap out or technical submission, or when the fighter verbally submits to a submission or strikes.

While the method of victory market provides lucrative betting opportunities, we only recommend placing bets on this market if you spot outstanding value.

Round Betting

Another way to improve your potential returns when betting on the UFC is by selecting what round a fight will end.

If you were confident that Conor McGregor would finish Eddie Alvarez early at UFC 205 but you weren’t enticed by the betting odds for McGregor to win in the outright winner market, you could have improved your odds by narrowing down the time of victory and choosing the round of the stoppage.

Here are the round betting odds from McGregor vs. Alvarez:

  • Conor McGregor wins in Round 1: +400
  • Conor McGregor wins in Round 2: +600
  • Conor McGregor wins in Round 3: +1200
  • Conor McGregor wins in Round 4: +1200
  • Conor McGregor wins in Round 5: +1600

Because McGregor managed to finish Alvarez by KO/TKO in the second round, all bets on Conor McGregor to win in Round 2 made $600 profit from a $100 bet at odds of +600.

SBO’s must-know tips:

  • If a fighter retires in between rounds and fails to start the next round, the fight officially ended in the last round.

The round betting market can provide outstanding returns for bettors who genuinely understand mixed martial arts. We recommend betting on this market only if you are familiar with both fighters and their styles.

Understanding and Finding the Best UFC Betting Odds

If you’re new to sports betting, we recommend taking the time to learn all about the odds and what they represent.

Bookmakers determine the odds, and they can vary significantly depending on the betting site. To ensure that you have continued access to the best UFC odds, we recommend betting with our list of top-rated UFC bookmakers.

Depending on your location, you’ll have visibility of the odds format that is preferred in your region:

Here’s what you need to know about each type of odds format:

  • Decimal odds reflect the ratio of the entire payout in accordance with the stake. For example, a £100 bet at 2.50 will return a total of £250 and a profit of £150.
  • Fractional odds display the ratio of the amount won from the stake. Similar to 2.50 in decimal odds, a £100 bet on fractional odds of 6/4 will return £250 and profit of £150.
  • Positive moneyline odds represent the amount that a punter wins when they bet £100, and negative moneyline odds will show the required stake to win £100 in profit.

These odds aren’t created thoughtlessly. The profitability of a bookmaker largely depends on the odds that they are offering, and these odds are carefully calculated to reflect the implied probability of each outcome.

For example, McGregor entered the fight against Alvarez as a betting favourite because he was viewed to have a higher probability of winning.

  • Conor McGregor’s odds were -150   and that represented a 60% implied probability of winning.
  • Eddie Alvarez’s odds were +150   and that represented a 40% implied probability of winning.

You can read more about implied probability here.

Now that you understand the odds and can quickly identify the betting favourite and the underdog, you’ll have an easy time comparing odds from various bookmakers to find the best value for your bet on the UFC.

To make your betting journey much easier, we compile the best odds for every UFC event here at SBO in our MMA Betting Tips section.

Tips/Strategies for Betting on UFC

If you want to beat the bookmakers when betting on the UFC, you need to approach every bet carefully.

Of course, you can go in and bet blindly without any strategy, but you will probably end up losing in the long run. We want you to win, and win big, so we’re going to share some of our proven tactics to make money betting on the UFC.

Use Your Value-Goggles

It’s not always the best idea to pick the fighter whom you expect to win.

That might sound contrary to everything you ever believed about sports betting, but you can make some serious cash by recognizing high-value opportunities and putting your money behind them.

There’s probably no better example of this than Holly Holm’s historic upset victory against Ronda Rousey in 2016.

The bookmakers originally released the odds for this fight with Holly Holm as a huge underdog at odds of +825 . Those odds represented an implied probability to win of only 10.8%, yet anyone with a decent enough understanding of mixed martial arts (and those who had watched and researched Holly Holm) were convinced that Holm had a better chance of defeating Rousey than anyone else before her.

“These punters didn’t need to believe that Holm was going to defeat Rousey, all they needed to know was that the probability of her defeating the champion was much higher than the 10.8% chance that the bookmakers had originally declared.”

Everyone who locked in odds of +825   for Holm to defeat Rousey profited £825 from a £100 bet.

Opportunities like this don’t come around too often…

Raise Your Stakes When You Find an Edge

When you do find a betting edge like the one above, you’re going to want to raise your stakes.

Some punters employ a traditional even-stake method of betting that restricts them from changing their bet value regardless of their confidence level. In some cases, and especially when betting on the UFC, this can work against the punter because some opportunities are far greater than others.

We recommend raising your stakes in line with your level of confidence for every bet. For most people, a three-tier structure would be most appropriate:

  • Confident – 1x stake
  • Very Confident – 2x stake
  • Extremely Confident – 3x stake

Why does this work? Well, it’s not every day that you’re able to bet on a professionally trained fighter against someone of celebrity status…

Remember when CM Punk made his mixed martial arts debut against the extremely talented Mickey Gall? The odds for Mickey Gall to win in Round 1 opened at -105 . This is an example of a great value bet that deserves higher stakes than usual.

How about when Ronda Rousey returned to the cage against the hard-hitting Amanda Nunes? Despite the UFC hyping it up as a relatively even matchup, Nunes finished Rousey in just 48 seconds. Many punters and analysts picked this result from a mile away and cashed in on the outstanding +264   odds for Nunes to win by KO/TKO.

In hindsight, both of these outcomes were obvious to fans of mixed martial arts, and they deserved greater attention than the average bet on the UFC.

Explore The Markets

Possibly the best advice that we can share with those who are looking to place bets on the UFC is to explore all of the available markets for every fight.

It’s not uncommon for the bookmakers to nail the odds for every outright winner market and leave next to no value for prospective punters. However, that doesn’t mean there is exceptional value hidden away in the trenches!

We recommend studying the extended markets, such as the method of victory and round betting options that we mentioned earlier because there is often high-value opportunities that exist there.

For example, Aljamain Sterling scored his first submission victory in almost three years when he finished Cody Stamann with a kneebar at UFC 228. Because Sterling hadn’t scored a submission win in quite a while, the bookmakers forgot about his capabilities and offered +745   odds for him to win by submission despite the low odds of -161   to win the fight.

At -161   against an up-and-coming fighter such as Stamann, it didn’t make sense to back Sterling at those odds in the outright winner market. However, Sterling to win by submission was a clear high-value bet and allowed punters to profit £745 for a £100 bet.

Choosing the Best UFC Betting Sites

Now that you’re ready to start applying your knowledge and begin placing bets on the UFC, it’s time to select a bookmaker or two that stands out from the rest.

Choosing the right bookmaker is arguably as important as making the right bet selections. A terrible bookmaker will show you the worst odds and make it extremely difficult for you to profit in the long-term, while a great bookmaker will welcome you with a significant welcome bonus and keep you there by offering up the best odds in the industry.

Here’s how we determine the best UFC betting sites:

Security

Nothing is more important than the safety of your hard-earned cash.

When ranking bookmakers, we look for a proven track record of security and a continued commitment to delivering high-tech solutions to secure funds, personal information, and data. All betting sites should be encrypted with SSL technology to ensure that data is transmitted safely. We also appreciate betting sites that have created and maintained secure login methods on desktop and mobile.

Competitive Odds

A bookmaker might have all the bells and whistles, but if they don’t have competitive odds on their site, they’re not going to rank well in our list of best UFC betting sites.

There are sites out there that offer odds that are often 5-10% lower than the industry average. The typical punter might not recognize the low odds, but we certainly do!

Our top-rated sports bookmakers offer excellent odds across all UFC markets, not just the outright winner market.

Banking

Sports betting online is all about convenience.

When it comes to depositing and withdrawing money, it should be simple, fast, and free for all members. No punter should need to wait days and days to see the money in their account, and they should never have to pay high fees to access their funds!

Our recommended UFC betting sites have easy and convenient deposit and withdrawal methods available for punters worldwide.

Bonuses

Welcome promotions are so frequent now that you should never need to sign up to a bookmaker that doesn’t offer a substantial welcome bonus upon your arrival.

Keep an eye out for large deposit offers, cash back specials, and loyalty programs so you can start your UFC betting journey with some extra funds in your account.

Live Betting/In-Play

Betting on the UFC is already exhilarating enough, but if you’re ready to take it to another level and make some cash while you’re at it, you should prioritize a UFC betting site with excellent live betting/in-play betting options.

Any serious bookmaker will offer live betting on the UFC, allowing you to make bets from your phone or desktop while watching the action unfold.

Mobile Betting

Most punters rarely ever place a bet from their personal computer or laptop. If you’re watching the UFC, you’re likely either watching it in front of your television or you’re out and about at the local bar.

If you’re on-the-go, you need to be able to log in to your account quickly, find the market easily, and place a bet all within a matter of seconds.

That’s why one of our main ranking factors is the speed, design, and convenience of a bookmaker’s mobile betting app.

Get Started Today!

If you know a thing or two about the UFC, then it’s certainly worth investing your time and money into betting on UFC fights online. Unlike other major sports, the bookmakers haven’t locked down the UFC by using advanced predictive models, and that means there is plenty of value out there for keen punters! Don’t wait any longer, go ahead and sign up to our top-rated UFC betting sites.

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