← Back To Blog

How odds betting works in UFC

February 9th, 2018 Advanced, Beginner, Betting Markets, Matched Betting, Sports Betting

MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The rise of Conor McGregor and his historic cross over into boxing to fight Floyd Mayweather no doubt helped raise awareness for the sport.

With more people gaining interest in this brutal sport, it has also had consequences for the world of betting. More and more people are searching for betting odds for UFC fights and bookmakers are recognising this trend.

This article looks at how odds betting works in UFC.

Who are the UFC?

The UFC is a mixed martial arts events organisation that were founded in 1993. Mixed martial arts is a fighting discipline that allows both striking and grappling, in standing stances and on the ground. It uses techniques from a range of combat sports and martial arts.

The idea of MMA when it started was to bring together lots of different fighting styles in an attempt to find the most effective martial art for unarmed combat. Fighters were pitted against each other, with very few rules put in place – and if you think it is brutal now, it was far more brutal back then! But over time, in an attempt to help the sport become more mainstream, additional rules were put in place to increase fighter safety.

The UFC has no doubt been the main instigator in bringing MMA to the masses with their cutting edge promotions and work in developing the sport.

Fighters are contracted to the UFC and only fight on their events. There are also other competing promotions such as Bellator which you can also bet on. But there is no doubt that UFC have the best fighters and biggest names, such as the pride of Ireland, Conor McGregor.


What are the rules?

Before you start searching for betting odds for UFC, it’s important to have a grasp of the rules which govern their events.

Firstly, an MMA bout lasts for 5 minutes, in contrast to Boxing where rounds only last 3 minutes. However, unlike Boxing where there are usually 12 rounds, in the UFC, there are only 3. This is extended to 5 rounds for matches which are title fights, or main events.

Each fighter has numerous ways of winning the fight. Each round is scored so they can win on points if it goes the distance. Other ways to win are a straight knock out, technical knockout where the ref deems the fighter unable to continue, or a method unique to MMA – the submission.

A submission is where fighters use different methods such as locks, chokes and holds to force their opponent to ‘tap out’ when they can see no way out of their situation and want the fight to stop.

The other main difference to Boxing is the Octagon. This is the stage where MMA fighters do battle, and is basically a big cage in the shape of an Octagon – hence the name. It is also why you’ve probably heard MMA fighters called ‘cage fighters’.

There are numerous different weight classes that MMA fighters can fight at. The UFC has the largest number of different weight classes in MMA, with weight classes for both male and female fighters.

UFC Male Weight Class   UFC Female Weight Class  
Heavyweight 265 lb
Light Heavyweight 205 lb
Middleweight 185 lb
Welterweight 170 lb
Lightweight 155 lb
Featherweight 145 lb Featherweight 145 lb
Bantamweight 135 lb Bantamweight 135 lb
Flyweight 125 lb
Strawweight 115 lb Strawweight 115 lb

Different MMA fighting styles

So now you know the basics of the rules, but what are the key strategies to help you determine whether the betting odds for UFC are good value?

One of the main things that makes UFC interesting, is the variety of fighting styles, and how they determine the style of the fight.

In Football, when you have a long ball defensive team against an attacking team, it can help you gauge how the match will go. Styles make the fights what they are in UFC, and it can help give you an edge over the bookmaker.

Some of the most popular styles in the UFC are:

  • Boxing
  • Muay Thai/Kickboxing
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu
  • Judo
  • Wrestling
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Capoeira

You’ll notice that many fighters have adopt a mix of many of those styles, but some of them will come from particular backgrounds and favour one over the other.

For example, some fighters prefer to fight standing up, and rely on brutal strikes – such as Conor McGregor. That is why when you look at his record, you’ll notice that the majority of his fights are won by KO or TKO.

Other fighters much prefer to take the fight to the ground, and have a higher percentage of wins through submission. So it’s definitely important to analyse the styles, and recognise that a stand up fighter will really struggle if the fight is fought on the canvas.

Also, once you’ve picked out the betting odds for UFC that intrigue you, have a look on the UFC website for individual fighter stats, which will help give the UFC betting odds some context.


Other things to consider

Styles make fights in MMA, just like Boxing. But there are also other things for you to consider when looking at the betting odds for UFC.

UFC fights take place around the world, from Shanghai to Sydney, Las Vegas to Rio. This often means that some fighters have to travel further for a fight than others. And, especially when hosted in South America, some fights take place at higher altitudes, meaning it has an impact on the fighter’s stamina during a fight.

Usually, the fighter gets a lot of time to prepare, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But if a fighter pulls out, and is replaced – these factors can suddenly make a big difference.

Just like in Boxing, it is also important to consider a fighter’s weight when judging a contest. Some fighters may struggle to make the weight, so put their bodies through grueling sessions before the weigh in and come in severely dehydrated.

While this can weaken them if they have trouble getting down to the weight, it can also be an advantage. Once they’ve taken on the necessary fluids, they may go into the fight much heavier than their opponent. Look at their history and how hard they’ve found it to make weight in the past. If they find it difficult, it may mean that the weight loss weakens them.


How odds betting works in UFC

UFC Betting options

You can get betting odds for UFC on a variety of different markets, which is why knowing how styles shape fights is important. Here are the most common markets which have the best odds for UFC betting:

#1 Fight Winner

This is a pretty self explanatory market, and is the most popular market for UFC betting odds. You are betting on who you feel will win the fight, regardless of the method of victory.

#2 Total Rounds

Total rounds bets for the UFC are an under/over market where you’ll predict whether the fight will finish before or after the stated time. For a 3 round contest, the line is usually set at over/under 1.5. If you back under 1.5, this means you think the fight will finish before the 2min 30sec mark in the second round.

#3 Method of Victory

In this market, UFC betting odds are provided for all of the different possible methods of victory for each fighter. KO, TKO, submission and points are available to bet on. This market is especially useful once you analyse the style of each fighter.

#4 Round Betting

In contrast to the Total Rounds market, this is where you get to be exact and pick the specific round that you feel the contest will finish. Because of the specificity of this market, you can get some healthy odds.

#5 Round and Method of Victory

Here you get to add even more specificity to your bet to increase your betting odds for UFC even further. You get to pick the exact round, the way the fight will be won and by who.


Best UFC Bookmakers

Some bookmakers seem to offer selections of UFC betting markets than others. Here are a few of what we feel to offer the best betting odds for UFC.

  1. Betfair exchange/sportsbook
  2. Bet365
  3. Skybet
  4. Betway
  5. PaddyPower

As the UFC increases in popularity further still you will begin to see even more markets, and even more bookmakers offering a good selection. So be sure to shop around for the best odds, and also the best promotions.