This guide to UFC betting identifies the best operators to use when wagering on UFC (or MMA) matches, which ones dominate certain fight markets and the best ways to optimise your overall betting experience.
Top Bookmakers for UFC Betting Online
UFC Betting Tips
The below UFC Betting tips may prove invaluable, so they are well worth taking to heart.
Stay on Top of UFC Betting In-Play
Key ‘flashpoint’ moments, such as successful takedowns, heavy blows, sudden cuts or fouls leading to a points deduction can cause a significant fluctuation in live odds on in-play betting sites. While you obviously cannot foresee very sudden things, subtle signs of an impending flashpoint can emerge in the early rounds. For instance, one fighter might show growing dominance in the first round, with his/her opponent visibly tiring. Assuming the aggressor’s opponent survives the first round, this would provide justification to place a bet in favour of the aggressor before the start of the second round, when something a lot more dramatic might happen to drastically reduce the potential payout.
Undertake Parlay Betting on UFC Events
A parlay bet can refer either to:
- A single bet made out of multiple ones – all or some must prevail for a win, e.g. ‘Ferguson, McGregor and Nunes to win’. This is also known as a multiple or accumulator (in the UK, mainly).
- A bet with very specific stipulations for victory involving just one event – for instance: ‘Ngannou to win by knockout in round three’.
Given that multiple factors are at play, the odds – and therefore the potential payout – are noticeably boosted. As an example, let’s say that these (fictional) fighters are in an accumulator / parlay:
- Steve Fury – 2.50
- Julia Rojo – 2.80
- Paul Irving – 3.50
- Jack Williams – 5.00
If you multiplied all of the prices together, this accumulator’s odds would be 122.5. However, you would also have the option to place a double or treble, whereby only two or three fighters respectively need to win. However, the catch is that your wager amount will be multiplied by the number of possible winning lines. So for instance, if you bet on a ‘treble’ within your four selections, these would be the possible winning combinations:
- Fury, Rojo, Irving
- Fury, Irving, Williams
- Fury, Rojo, Williams
- Rojo, Irving, Williams
- All four fighters
With five possible combinations, you would pay 5x your intended wager to cover each line. It is also worth noting that your payout for a perfect return of four winners would be lower than that which you would have received under a conventional accumulator – i.e. all four to win or nothing.
Many betting experts who prefer to minimise losses will generally use money earned through successfully hedging bets, when placing wagers on speculative accumulators and parlays with very distant odds.
Hedge Bets on UFC events
Hedging your bets simply means placing money on multiple outcomes that contradict each other. So, in the case of UFC, a bettor would – barring a rare draw – be guaranteed a win and a loss by backing both fighters with different amounts. Using fictional fighters again, we present the below scenario as an example:
Alisa Chang is a massive 1.20 favourite to beat Nina Montero, who is priced at 7.50. You place the following wagers:
- ₹500 on Chang to win (₹600 return / ₹100 profit)
- ₹100 on Montero to win (₹750 return / ₹650 profit)
If Chang wins, you lose nothing, as the profit made from that bet cancels out the ₹100 lost on Montero. If, alternatively, Montero wins, you would make ₹150 profit, even after the loss incurred on Chang.
Generally, this type of hedging works best when the underdog has relatively longer odds against them. Such fights can usually be found in undercards or pre-undercards, which can often feature rising stars against lower-ranked fighters with little in the way of long-term prospects.
In essence, another way to hedge your bets – in the sense of not being reliant on one fight to end the event in profit – would be if you placed a lot more money than usual on a sure favourite, and then used the small profits gained from the bet to back an outsider later on fight night.
Look at Form and Style
Form is more than just about how many wins or losses a fighter has attained over a short period of time. Fighting styles, strengths and specialisms go a long way to determining the likeliness of one particular outcome. Win/loss methods can clearly be seen on sites such as Sherdog.
Fighters with a greater concentration of knockouts or submissions can be very useful in parlay bets. This is because their odds to win as favourites via a certain method will always be longer than their odds merely to win, but the longer odds which are reliant on a win method are still relatively safe bets if a fighter has history with the method in question.
See also: Read our guide to betting tips for sports in general.
UFC Betting Predictions
As we demonstrate later on, form is an extremely important consideration, and means a lot more than any bookmaker’s prices. However, such prices are primarily based on winning and losing streaks.
Generally, athletes with a drastically shorter price than the opponent (e.g. 1.33 vs 6.00) are fancied to end the fight before ‘the distance’ via KO/TKO, submission or doctor/corner stoppage. In this case, an early ending to the fight is usually expected. On the other hand, favourites with a narrower odds margin separating them from the underdog (e.g. 2.33 vs 3.50) are considered likelier to win by decision, or in a later round.
Popular UFC Betting Online Operators – Reviewed
With more than two decades of experience in providing sportsbook odds, Unibet is well-respected across the world. As a former betting partner of UFC, and a sponsor for several fighters at the same time, this bookie highly values new customers that are aiming to maximise on UFC markets. Punters can also find odds for other promotions, such as Cage Warriors and Bellator.
This Irish bookmaker has clearly dedicated a lot of its time towards providing an aesthetically pleasing website (and app) which is easy to navigate and quick to respond. Anyone engaging in UFC betting via BoyleSports can find useful information and statistics to aid them in their wagering, and as of March 2021, they cover 34 different sports in total. Over in Ireland, any new users placing bets at odds of 2.00 or greater can benefit from a free bet worth 3x the wager, while Indian audiences can benefit from similar perks when betting on any UFC events.
Based in England, bet365 offers a live betting experience that many users consider to be unrivalled amongst bookmakers, with a simultaneous foothold in Europe and Asia. In the case of UFC fights, the live betting system is open throughout a fight, though markets are suspended for a few moments in case there is a flashpoint event like a knockdown or heavy takedown. There is also a cash out option in case the fight is going against your prediction. New users can get a deposit bonus that compares favourably to many of this bookmaker’s rivals.
Some of the above bookmakers also feature in our analysis of the best cricket betting sites in existence.
Key UFC Betting Online Markets
Aside from the common moneyline prices shown in the earlier table of bouts, there are various other niche markets that you can use to up your UFC betting game.
A KO win is most commonly envisioned as a heavy strike or succession of devastating blows that floors the losing combatant. However, KO wins on a fighter’s record can also come from stoppages imposed by the referee, the loser’s corner or a fight doctor. Submissions, meanwhile, come via a lock or hold that incapacitates the receiving fighter, causing them to ‘tap out’ (concede) or the referee to end the fight with a view to preventing serious injury.
The fighting style or discipline employed by a fighter is obviously key, and the below popular, frequently seen styles – if matched up to their most common win methods – offer some solid guidance:
|Style||Result||Rounds||Notes||Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu||SUB||Over 3.5||BJJ practitioners often like to cause fatigue by forcing opponents to the ground and grappling with them. This can take up a lot of time, hence the potential for a longer fight.|
|Boxing||KO||Under 3.5||Boxers are devastating in UFC if they are facing opponents outmatched in the striking department and inexperienced in groundwork. This can be the recipe for a quick knockout in many cases.|
|Judo||SUB||Over 3.5||As with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judokas utilise submissions, using their flexibility to gain the advantage during a grappling phase.|
|Karate||KO||Under 3.5||All four of these styles focus on striking. However, with kicks being harder to time than punches, any styles that reward long-range, speculative kicking require a few rounds for the aggressor to find his/her range.|
|Muay Thai||KO||Under 3.5|
|Tae-Kwon Do||KO||Over 3.5|
|Wrestling||SUB||Over 3.5||Wrestlers naturally prefer submissions, but their takedowns and throws are more forceful, which potentially makes it slightly less of a long-burner than BJJ or Judo.|
The above table assumes that the pre-fight favourite is using the style in question, and that neither fighter is simply aiming to go the distance.
While the win method is a close match to each style by its very nature, the corresponding average time of a KO / Submission result can easily be skewed by multiple factors. Mainly, such factors include disparities in form, experience and temperament – the latter of which refers to whether a fighter prefers to end the fight early or wear his/her opponent down.
Best UFC betting odds for Win Method: Unibet
To ‘Go the Distance’
A fight that goes the distance is one not clearly resolved by the end of the final round – at this time, the result is based on the judges’ decision. At a base level, you would simply wager on ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the fight going the distance.
Going the distance means that the fight reaches the end of its allotted number of rounds without a clear winner by KO, TKO, submission or corner/doctor stoppage. The fight is then settled via Judges’ Decision. With some operators, you may get the opportunity to choose the specific result of the judges’ decision: Split, Majority or Unanimous.
Best UFC betting odds for ‘To Go the Distance’: bet365
This market encompasses three very niche ones, and – with or without a winner stipulated – can refer to:
- Over/under a certain number of rounds
- Fight to end in a specific round
- Fight to end between rounds ‘X’ and ‘Y’
Again, studying form and style is a crucial part of success within this market, as is the consideration of how much of a disparity there is between the underdog and favourite.
Best UFC betting odds for Round betting: BoyleSports
UFC Betting Live Streams
The best bookmakers out there will always endeavour to provide live streams of UFC matches, pending the specifics of a bout’s broadcasting rights. Knowing where to watch UFC matches is an integral part of the all-round betting experience, and live streams should be available free of charge. That said, particularly huge events may require a minimum wager to activate the stream. Usually, these minimums are small – very rarely more than the equivalent of $5 USD.
UFC Betting Online Bonuses
Bonuses are an integral part of any UFC betting experience, and if you are yet to sign up to any of the top bookmakers listed, it is well worth looking out for free bets and matched bonuses.
With risk-free bets aimed at new users, you need to make an initial deposit and wager. After this, the free bet is activated to be used as you desire, unless the offer in question states that it must be used on a specific sport or event. Please note that there are also potential caps on winnings from wagers made using free bet credit. In the case of existing users, free bets generally form part of a loyalty scheme. If the bet wins, only the winnings are granted – not the winnings and the stake, as would be the case with using your own cash.
This type of offer sees the operator ‘match’ your initial deposit up to a certain amount. In this case, you would receive stakes alongside any winnings; however, there would be a wagering requirement attached. In this scenario, you must play through the amount you deposited a certain number of times before being eligible for withdrawals.
These are most commonly found in set parlay bets provided by the bookmaker. For instance, you might have a parlay comprising of three fighters – as chosen by the operator – with the offer of a free bet if one of them loses or any fight ends in a draw.
Many operators also have a policy whereby unforeseen events that sabotage a bet will result in a free bet being offered. In the case of UFC, this might be after a disqualification or ‘no contest’.
History of the UFC
Co-created by Rorion Gracie and Art Davie, the very first UFC event was held in 1993 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado. Although there were hopes of holding the event in one of the two powerhouse locations – Las Vegas, NV or Atlantic City, NJ – neither state athletic commission would sanction what is now known as ‘UFC 1’, classifying it as a bare-knuckle event.
It took the form of an eight-man tournament, with every combatant bringing their specialism into an octagon-shaped cage. In a far cry from the current-day UFC, rules were minimal and not well-defined, and fighters were free to wear their own attire. Additionally, no holds were barred, 5-minute rounds were infinite in number and there were no judges.
The event wasted no time in setting the tone of the years to come, with the first bout seeing Savate expert Gerard Gordeau deliver a brutal face-kick to sumo wrestler Teila Tuli’s face while he was in a kneeling position. As blood streamed from Tuli’s face – newly divested of teeth – the bout ended, and Gordeau became the first-ever winner of a UFC clash in front of a truly stunned audience.
However, it was Royce Gracie – a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – who won the night. He was not the biggest or strongest participant, but every one of his fights ended in victory via submission, with no other combatant able to grapple and incapacitate with the same degree of skill. It was this which prompted future UFC fighters to ensure that their groundwork was of a certain standard before fighting.
The eight-man tournament format was employed for several future instalments, but even after it gave way to a regular fight card, PPV buys were disappointing. Thanks mostly to the fledgling sport’s continued rejection by bigger athletic commissions, attendances plateaued below expectations and dwindled. By the turn of the century, the UFC brand was on the verge of extinction.
In 2001, all of that changed, when Dana White – along with his business partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta – formed Zuffa LLC. The trio invested $2m at great financial risk, but used their business expertise to repackage the entire brand. Every effort was made to give it a more professional public image, but the vital move was to accept the New Jersey State Athletic Commission’s boxing-style rules package. Finally, a compromise had been reached, and almost overnight, the UFC became mainstream, inevitably leading to a surge in the quality of talent.
Young American fighters with distinctive looks, such as the bleached-blond Tito Ortiz and the mohawk-topped Chuck Liddell, were faces of the company in the early 2000s, and as the influence of UFC reached across the world, European, Asian and South American talents also entered the fray with greater frequency. In years to come, this would lead to the formation of sister events to the main UFC series (UFC 257 etc), such as ‘UFC Fight Night’ and ‘UFC on Fox / ABC / ESPN’. This ensured that fights could be regular as those seen on WWE, and would remain profitable.
UFC Betting FAQs
Which are the best bookmakers for UFC Betting online?
What is the difference between UFC and MMA?
Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is the sport, while UFC is a major organisation within that sport.
When does betting close for UFC fights?
Wagers can be made all the way up to the starting klaxon.
Where can I find full UFC schedules?
You can find full UFC schedules via the official UFC website.
How much is the UFC brand worth?
As of March 2021, the UFC brand is worth over $4bn.
What happens to my bet if one fighter is disqualified?
If you have backed the winner via DQ, you receive the payout as normal. If the fighter you backed loses by DQ, the bet is lost unless the result undergoes a review.
If the match is then declared a no-contest, you are entitled to a full refund, or a compensatory free bet at the very least. While licensing requires bookmakers to adhere to a basic code of conduct, specific policies vary between operators. Alternatively – if there is a rematch ordered directly as a result of the overturned DQ – the wager might be retained and transferred to the rearranged fight.
Which are the best betting payment methods?
The best way to deposit is with a credit or debit card. PayPal is also amongst the most popular betting payment methods for both deposits and withdrawals. Other safe and hassle-free banking options include NETELLER and Skrill. Paper cheques are also a good idea, though they are not always available and may take longer to arrive and process.
CricketBettingAdvice Final Words
Much like boxing betting & WWE betting, UFC betting is a very simplistic art, and but for occasional draws, only one of two outcomes are generally seen. This makes it very easy to digest the latest UFC betting tips, and create accumulators built around pre-fight favourites, which can generate satisfying profits for even beginners if everything goes as expected.
The UFC brand itself enjoys new highs of attendances and PPV buys year on year. Dana White has been the driving force behind UFC’s growth in the two decades since his acquisition of the company, and streams of new talent have been sourced not only through scouting, but also from UFC franchise gyms. These train budding fighters in every basic area necessary to become successful in the octagon.
From a betting perspective, new talents can be useful, as they are undiscovered – and therefore command relatively longer odds – but very likely to win if matched with an ideal early-career opponent. It is this, alongside the sheer frequency of events in today’s UFC calendar, that sustains the interest of bettors, and encourages operators to focus on maximising the value of UFC events when creating unique perks, such as enhanced parlays and matched bonuses.
The Cricket Betting Advice team of writers are all defined by one goal: to provide you with the best online betting content on the web.