The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the most recognized mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world today. The UFC represents the pinnacle of mixed martial arts competition, and fighters from all over the world strive to one day join the ranks of the rapidly growing organization.
As the UFC continues to spread their product throughout Europe and Asia, more people are being introduced to the sport of mixed martial arts for the very first time. And on a domestic level in the United States, the UFC has made big moves by securing a five-year deal with ESPN to air 30 UFC events yearly.
Whether you’re a fight fan of many years or have only recently discovered MMA, we’re here to guide you through the process of betting on the UFC online. We’ll help you understand the odds and markets, we’ll share the best resources for researching and analyzing potential bets, and we will also teach you how to find the best UFC odds so that you can start making money by betting on the UFC.
Why Bet On UFC Fights?
Unlike betting on NBA, NFL, MLB, Soccer, and other established sports, UFC betting is a smaller, more vulnerable market.
Well, these sports have been around for a very long time and bookmakers have established advanced statistical models that predict outcomes with incredible accuracy. There’s nothing like that when it comes to the UFC and mixed martial arts. Statistics can be helpful when guiding a UFC betting decision, but the process of watching and analyzing a fighter and not merely considering the statistics or outcomes of their previous performances is the differentiating factor between making good and bad bets. And unlike statistical models, watching tape is unscalable, meaning that it’s challenging for bookmakers to consistently set accurate lines on a near-weekly basis.
Of course, there are still ways for highly-skilled bettors to beat the bookmakers when betting on NBA, NFL, MLB, and Soccer, but an equally skilled and dedicated punter will be presented with an enhanced opportunity to make long-term profits with UFC betting.
Furthermore, with the increasing popularity of mixed martial arts and the UFC around the world, more and more bookmakers are opening up extended markets and improving their offers for fans of MMA. As more markets continue to be established, bettors will be presented with a growing number of opportunities to identify a betting edge.
Our Expert UFC Betting Tips
If you’re a regular visitor here at Wager Bop, you already know that we’re dedicated to uncovering exceptional betting opportunities across all major sports. You’ll also be aware that we provide these tips and world-class betting systems for free!
If you’re new here, you’re probably wondering why and how we can provide our detailed research and analysis at no cost to members.
Wager Bop is all about helping visitors profit from sports betting online. Unlike other sites that charge ridiculous monthly membership fees or per-tip access fees, we refuse to eat away at your potential profits. We rely on readers coming back to Wager Bop again, so we’ll keep providing members with free UFC betting tips backed by leading research, analysis, and countless hours of tape study for every UFC event.
Understanding UFC Odds
Odds for UFC events can be very confusing for new members. That’s why we are here to help you gain an understanding of how to interpret them and quickly identify superb betting opportunities.
Let’s say that you’re really excited about the upcoming Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega fight and you want to place a bet. You log in to your favorite UFC betting site and this is what you might see:
- Max Holloway to win: -150
- Brian Ortega to win: +150
Alright, great. There are some numbers here, but what do they even mean?
Odds can be displayed in American, Fractional, or Decimal format, depending on your location and preference. We’ll refer to American odds during this article for consistency, however.
American odds can be either positive or negative.
Positive odds show the winnings if you were to place a $100 bet. In this example, a $100 bet on Ortega at +150 odds would return $150 profit.
Negative odds represent the required wager to win $100 profit. In this example, a $100 bet on Holloway would return a profit of $66.67, and a bet of $150 would be required to win $100.
These odds basically represent the implied probability of each outcome, as determined by the bookmaker. While the true probability of success for either fighter is actually unknown and unable to be determined, the bookmakers use available information to estimate the probability of all outcomes during that event.
In this particular example, Max Holloway’s -150 odds represent a 60% implied probability to win. Brian Ortega’s odds of +150 show an implied probability to win of 40%.
So, if you were to believe that Brian Ortega had a better than 40% chance of defeating Max Holloway, that is enough reason to bet on Ortega at those odds.
To calculate the implied probability, you can use an online calculator like this one from AceOdds.
Remember, odds are essentially probabilities set by bookmakers and they’re not always right. If they were, we wouldn’t be able to identify betting opportunities and provide our readers with expert UFC betting tips because the bookmakers would have eliminated the edge.
Popular UFC Bet Types
Now that you have an understanding of how to interpret odds and identify prime betting opportunities, we can move on to discussing some of the most popular UFC betting markets. We’ll also share which of these markets have great value for bettors, and which of these markets you should probably avoid!
UFC Moneyline Betting
Moneyline betting is undoubtedly the most popular UFC betting market.
The moneyline betting market is essentially the basic odds for opposing fighters to win a fight, and you will have the ability to side with either fighter to be victorious.
All serious bookmakers offer moneyline betting markets for every UFC fight, regardless of whether it’s featured on a pay-per-view event, on the preliminary card, or only on UFC Fight Pass.
The moneyline is popular for good reason; it’s also the simplest of all UFC betting options. Because there are only two potential outcomes (win or lose), betting value can be identified at a quick glance.
In (almost) every fight, there’s a favorite and an underdog. The betting favorite is the one who has negative odds (in American format) and the underdog will have positive odds. The underdog is the fighter who has a lower implied probability to win the contest. In some rare cases when the bookmakers are unable to split the two fighters, the fight will be considered a pick ’em and both fighters will have inseparable odds and equal implied probability to win.
Here’s what a moneyline betting market on the UFC looks like:
- Stipe Miocic: -160
- Daniel Cormier: +140
We’ll use the UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between Stipe Mioic and Daniel Cormier from UFC 226 on July 7, 2018, as an example.
At the time of the fight, you would have heard UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik declare that Miocic was a betting favorite and that Cormier was the underdog. Now armed with your knowledge of betting odds, you can now see that Miocic was favored to defeated Cormier.
But despite what the bookmakers had believed, it was Daniel Cormier who proved victorious after he knocked Stipe Miocic out in just 4 minutes and 33 seconds. He won the fight and that means that anyone who placed a $100 bet on Cormier made $140 profit.
These bettors would have won $140 profit even if Cormier won by submission or decision, as well, because the moneyline betting market enables a bettor to profit on any win condition and the wager will be returned if the fight ends in a draw or a no contest. So, if you’re confident that a fighter is going to win but you’re unsure of the exact way the fight will finish, go ahead and place your money on the moneyline market to cover all options.
UFC Total Rounds (Over/Under) Betting
The total rounds market is another fantastic way to bet on the UFC. Just like the moneyline betting option, all serious bookmakers will release an over/under for total rounds for every UFC fight.
This UFC betting option enables punters to predict whether a fight will last longer or shorter than the time specified by the bookmaker.
In the aforementioned five-round UFC Championship fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, the bookmakers had set the line at 3.5 rounds. These were the odds:
- Over 3.5 Rounds: -130
- Under 3.5 Rounds: +110
In the leadup to this heavyweight clash, many analysts believed that the fight would last all five rounds. Of course, it didn’t even make it to the second round, however, as Cormier crushed Miocic inside the opening five minutes. That means everyone who had bet on the ‘Under 3.5 Rounds’ option for this fight profited $110 from a $100 bet.
If you’re wondering how there can be 0.5 rounds in the UFC, the bookmakers consider the 2:30 mark of every round as the halfway point. This definition is used to determine whether the fight lasts over or under the specified number of rounds.
It’s also important to note that with the exception of UFC main event and UFC Championship bouts, all fights are scheduled for three rounds. Main event bouts and title fights are always scheduled for five rounds.
Betting on total rounds is another fantastic way to leverage your knowledge of mixed martial arts to generate positive UFC betting outcomes. Keep an eye out for our advanced strategy for betting on UFC total rounds markets in the future!
UFC Method of Victory Betting
As the name suggests, betting on the method of victory enables punters to predict whether a fighter will win by KO/TKO, submission, or decision.
Because the implied probability of these individual outcomes is significantly lower than the generic moneyline betting type (that encompasses all paths to victory), the odds are far more enticing.
- Daniel Cormier wins by KO/TKO: +617
- Daniel Cormier wins by submission: +1200
- Daniel Cormier wins by decision: +450
As you can see, the odds for each of these outcomes are far greater than those received by bettors who merely backed Cormier to win at moneyline odds of +140. Using the AceOdds implied probability calculator from before, we can determine that Cormier had a 41.7% implied probability to win at those odds of +140.
Here’s how the implied probability changed for each of the method of victory betting options:
- Daniel Cormier wins by KO/TKO: 13.9%
- Daniel Cormier wins by submission: 7.7%
- Daniel Cormier wins by decision: 18.2%
Picking a method of victory winner can be much more challenging than merely backing a fighter to win, and it requires a deep understanding of a fighter’s skills, abilities, and tendencies. However, the profits can be much, much higher, as those who backed Cormier to win by KO/TKO realized.
Before you begin betting on the method of victory markets, it’s also essential to understand the bookmaker’s definition of a KO/TKO and submission.
This is how a KO/TKO is defined:
- Referee stoppage (while the fighter is standing or on the canvas)
- Doctor stoppage
- Corner stoppage
- Fighter retires due to injury
And here’s how a submission is defined:
- Referee stoppage due to tap out or technical submission
- Fighter verbal submission (including verbal submission due to strikes)
UFC Round Betting
Betting on what round a fight will end is another popular UFC betting market that enables punters to boost their odds.
Referred to as round betting, this bet type allows players to apply their knowledge of mixed martial arts and predict what round a fight will finish. If a fight results in a decision and there was no stoppage victory, all round betting selections are deemed losers. Also, if a fighter withdraws or retires in between rounds, the fight will be declared finished in the previous round.
To reference a different fight, let’s look back at the round betting odds for when Conor McGregor defeated Jose Aldo at UFC 194:
- Conor McGregor wins in round 1: +525
- Conor McGregor wins in round 2: +725
- Conor McGregor wins in round 3: +950
- Conor McGregor wins in round 4: +1150
- Conor McGregor wins in round 5: +1450
A bet on Conor McGregor to win in round one would have returned $525 in profit from a $100 bet. Tied with a lower implied probability, these odds were much higher than the -105 moneyline odds that were available at most bookmakers.
Much like method of victory bets, UFC round betting odds are juicier than other available options. It’s important not to get sucked into betting on these markets all the time, however, because they are, of course, naturally harder to predict.
Making Your Bet
Ok, so you know the odds and the markets, but how do you go ahead and confidently make a selection?
Of course, you can head on over to our MMA section and read what our analysts have to say about every major UFC event. Alternatively, you’re going to want to follow these five simple guidelines for mastering the UFC bet selection process.
Play to Your Strengths
When it comes to sports betting, bet quality is immensely more important than bet quantity.
Your objective isn’t to place a bet on every fight on the weekend. Instead, your goal should be nothing else than turning a profit. To do this, you’re going to want to stick to your guns and back the outcomes you are the most confident of.
Are you a fan of UFC bantamweight Aljamain Sterling and his fighting style? Maybe you’ve watched all of Sterling’s fights in the UFC so far, and maybe some of his career before then. If so, your chances of correctly predicting an Aljamain Sterling fight are much higher than a fight between two fighters you have only seen fight once or twice.
Likewise, if you are knowledgeable about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling, you should have a greater likelihood of accurately predicting a fight between two grapplers than two kickboxers.
By sticking to your strengths and making educated bets, the profits will soon come.
Look for Value, Not for Winners
One of the biggest mistakes that rookie sports bettors make is only betting on who they think will win a fight. Despite what you may initially believe, this is not always the best approach.
At the beginning of this article, we provided example odds of the upcoming Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega fight:
- Max Holloway to win: -150
- Brian Ortega to win: +150
We also shared that implied probability suggested that Holloway had a 60% chance to win and Ortega had a 40% chance to win.
Now, if you believe that Holloway is going to defeat Ortega, should you always take his -150 odds in this example? Not at all.
Instead, begin to analyze your confidence in the selection. Do you consider Holloway to have a 70-75% chance of winning, or is it closer to 52-55%? It’s this question that will determine where the value lies and which side you should bet, regardless of who you think will win.
If you believe Holloway should be a considerable favorite, you might want to back Holloway at those -150 odds. Alternatively, if you think his chances are slimmer than the bookmakers are implying, you’re going to want to support Ortega and not Holloway.
When hunting for an excellent betting option, value should be your priority.
Consider All Options
Sometimes the best value is hidden underneath the most popular markets. Rather than merely looking at the moneyline odds for who is going to win a fight, you can boost your value and gain an edge over the bookmaker by considering the method of victory or round betting alternatives.
For example, Anthony Pettis entered his bout with Michael Chiesa at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018, as a moderate betting underdog at odds of +160. Pettis had won just two of his last seven fights and wasn’t necessarily a good bet at odds of +160.
However, anyone who further explored the markets found that the method of victory odds for Anthony Pettis to win by submission were +800. With his slick submission skills and three of his prior four wins coming by way of submission, this bet represented superior value.
Pettis went on to submit Chiesa with a triangle-armbar in the second round and a $100 bet on Pettis to win by submission resulted in $800 profit.
Research the Fighters
Once you have identified a potential bet selection, it’s time to start researching the fighters.
If you’re going to beat the bookmakers, you need to have more information than them. There’s no magic secret that is going to help you win in the long-term other than understanding the simple fact that making winning betting decisions is an intensive process that involves lots of research, discipline, and an ability to remove emotion from your decision making.
Here are some free and paid online resources to help you make informed UFC betting decisions:
Tapology is a go-to source of mixed martial arts information for analysts, media members, and fans. With an impressive database of fight results and a streamlined design that enables quick and accurate research, you can quickly gain an understanding of a fighter’s history. We recommend using Tapology to identify specific fights to watch online.
UFC Fight Pass
UFC Fight Pass is the ultimate destination for UFC fans around the world. Here you can watch every UFC event and other smaller promotions that are signed to UFC Fight Pass, as well. With a UFC Fight Pass subscription, you can easily review fights and fighters.
Ever wondered how many significant strikes Conor McGregor landed against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205? How about the number of takedowns that Khabib Nurmagomedov secured against Michael Johnson? At FightMetric, you can review statistics for every UFC event and easily compare an upcoming matchup.
Find the Best Odds
The process of identifying the best odds can often be overlooked by inexperienced bettors who believe that most bookmakers present the same odds, or that there is no real benefit to finding better odds, or even worse… they feel a sense of loyalty to their chosen bookmaker.
The importance of researching the best UFC odds cannot be understated, and it is arguably the most important step of the entire betting process. Ultimately, the way you research odds can determine whether you run a long-term profit or not.
We’ve heard it all before.
“Oh, I can’t be bothered creating another betting account.”
“The odds aren’t that different anyway! What’s the big deal?”
If you’re shopping for a new car, do you just walk into any old car dealer and buy the car at the first price you see? Or would you do some quick research and compare the price to other car yards in the area?
Remember the Anthony Pettis method of victory example from before?
While the best odds for Pettis to win by submission were +800 at some bookmakers, if you were to place this same bet with some other sites, you would have only received odds of +635.
Sure, $635 profit from a $100 bet is still great, but these bettors missed out on an additional $145 in profit simply because they refused to compare odds. This is just one example, and you can imagine how this adds up over time!
Of course, we don’t expect anyone to open up 11 tabs on their Google Chrome browser and log in to every betting site that offers markets for the UFC. Finding the best UFC odds is much easier than that…
BestFightOdds is hands-down the best website for comparing UFC odds from a variety of bookmakers in the United States.
Featuring a streamlined design and a collection of incredibly useful features such as an archive, alerts, trends, and the ability to quickly change odds format, BestFightOdds is our go-to destination when comparing odds.
BestFightOdds currently pulls the best odds from 12 different sources including popular bookmakers such as 5Dimes, BetDSI, Bovada, William Hill, Pinnacle, BetOnline, and more.
The archive is every analyst’s dream and holds all of the betting odds and trends from prior events. This data is easily searchable by fighter, event, or organization. Furthermore, the alerts feature allows bettors to sign up for e-mail notifications and become notified when odds are released for specified UFC fights.
If you’re from the United Kingdom or anywhere else in Europe, you’re going to want to compare UFC odds using OddsChecker. OddsChecker lets you easily compare the odds from Bet365, Ladbrokes, PaddyPower, and 20 other major players in the European region so that you can maximize your profits.
Best UFC Betting Sites
Although the betting process largely relies upon comparing odds using a tool such as BestFightOdds, rather than simply logging in to your favorite site and taking the first odds you see, some UFC betting sites are typically better than others. Whether it’s because they release their odds faster than others, have more markets available for punters, or have some of the best odds out there in the industry, you’re going to want to bet with the following UFC bookmakers:
Pinnacle has been a favorite UFC betting site of ours for as long as we can remember. With a commitment to providing excellent value through the form of competitive odds and not ridiculous welcome promotions with hidden terms and conditions, Pinnacle’s UFC odds are consistently among the best in the industry. Furthermore, Pinnacle has been operating for over 20 years and now offers their modern betting experience in 17 different languages and over 200 countries.
BetOnline is another fantastic destination for those who are looking for competitive UFC odds and a great range of markets. Lines for the UFC Fight Pass Prelims are typically live on BetOnline before most other sites.
Bet365 is one of the most well-known sports bookmakers in the European region and usually hosts some of the best UFC odds across the industry. You’ll find odds for every UFC fight at Bet365, and they’ll occasionally offer up lines for European mixed martial arts event such as Cage Warriors, as well.
It Is All Over!
Congratulations on making it all the way to the end of this guide! We hope that this guide will take your UFC betting skills to a whole new level.
We’re continually adding MMA previews and analysis, so make sure to swing by our MMA section and check our best bets for every UFC event.
We would also love to learn from you! Is there anything that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.