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The Basics of MMA & UFC Betting

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is becoming an increasingly popular betting sport and is being offered by more and more sportsbooks in Nevada and offshore.  For the player, it offers great betting value opportunities as well as an exciting sport to watch in which one punch can literally change the course of the entire fight.  MMA betting isn’t difficult to understand—in fact, if you’re familiar with betting on boxing you’re already there as the majority of betting on UFC and MMA events is identical.  Below are the basic concepts you’ll need to know to understand MMA betting lines and to place a bet:

The basics of MMA betting are simple:  the sportsbook offers moneyline odds on each competitor in a fight and you pick the winner.  If your fighter wins, you cash the bet.  For example, here are some odds on the upcoming UFC 134 main event between Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami:

Anderson Silva -430
Yushin Okami  +345

To bet on Silva a player much lay $430 to win $100.  To bet on the underdog Okami you’ll receiver $345 in return for every $100 wagered should he prevail.   If Silva wins, you’ll get $530 back from the bookmaker (your $430 stake plus $100 profit) and if Okami wins you’ll receive $445 (your $100 stake plus $345 profit). For the purpose of basic moneyline betting the method of victory doesn’t matter—if your fighter wins by KO, TKO, submission, decision or disqualification you win your bet.  Although some sportsbooks offer prop bets with big moneyline payouts in the event of a draw, basic straight wagers return your bet in the event of a draw or ‘no contest’.

Another increasingly common form of UFC and MMA betting is the Over/Under round prop.  Once again, this concept is very familiar to anyone experienced at boxing betting but is also simple to understand for novices.  For this type of bet the bookmaker will post odds for a fight going ‘Over’ or ‘Under’ a particular round—for example, a fight could have an Over/Under of 2.5 rounds.  If a bettor bets the ‘Over’ if the fight ends at 2:31 of round three or later he’s a winner.  If he has the ‘Under’ he wants the fight to end before that point.  Note that every book has their own way of expressing these propositions which can change the specifics of a winning bet—for example, a book could say that a fight ‘will go 2.5 rounds’ or ‘won’t go 2.5 rounds’.  This sounds like a mere difference in semantics, but in this instance a fight that landed right on the 2:30 mark of the third round would be a winner.  In the previous example, it would be a ‘push’ (since it didn’t go ‘Over’ or ‘Under’ the designated round).  As is the case in any betting proposition, it’s important for the player to read the terms of the wager closely.  A variation on this wager allows the bettor to select whether a fight will or won’t go the distance.

Some sportsbooks offer another type of MMA prop bet asks the bettor to select both the winner of the fight and how the fight will end at higher payouts than the straight ‘to win’ bet.  For example, a book will quote prices on each fighter winning by submission, knockout or decision.  Some books will offer bets on whether a fighter will win ‘inside the distance’ by KO or submission or not.  Finally, books will offer a big payout of 10/1 or more if a fight ends in a draw.

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