Mixed Martial Arts used to be relatively unknown to mainstream audiences back in the early nineties and eighties, but the success of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) allowed this exciting combat sport to gain a widespread following over the past few years. This, of course, spawned a lot of MMA betting opportunities.
Most high-profile online sports betting sites started offering Mixed Martial Arts betting opportunities in the late noughties and have since then expanded their event coverage by including other federations and even some regional events. Nowadays, betting on Mixed Martial Arts is as simple as betting on basketball or any other popular discipline.
However, much like in the case of boxing, Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts that gamble online don’t have all that many types of wagers to pick from – in fact, the markets available with most sportsbooks are limited to betting on the outcome of specific bouts.
There are four main types of wager you can come across in the world of MMA betting.
Moneyline – A moneyline bet is the most common wager in sports betting. You are simply betting on who will win the match. For example, Jon Jones could be favored at -250 to beat Daniel Cormier, who comes in at +200. For Jones, you would win $100 on a $250 bet if he is victorious. For Cormier, you would win $200 on a bet of $100 if he were to win. The symbols will tell you who the favorite and underdog is. A positive symbol means that fighter is the underdog and a negative symbol, that goes to the favorite.
Over/Under (also round betting) – An over/under wager in MMA betting means you are betting on the number of rounds a fight will go. For example, a fight might have an over/under of 2.5 for a three-round fight. You would bet on whether you think the fight will end before halfway through the final round, or if it will go the distance. Remember, there are also five-round fights, so keep that in mind.
Parlay – Parlays in MMA betting means you are betting multiple wagers on one ticket. You might bet the moneyline on two fights, but take the over/under in another fight. However, you would have to hit on all three wagers in order to collect on the whole ticket. If one of those wagers does not hit, then the ticket is toast.
Props – There can be any number of props in terms of MMA betting. For example, you might want to bet on the way a fight ends, such as KO/TKO, submission, or a decision (unanimous, split or majority). You could even bet for a draw to happen, but the odds are very long for that result as it doesn’t happen often.
Of course, when you talk about mixed martial arts, you have to start with The Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC. Based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, the UFC is the biggest MMA organization in the world, in terms of fighters and the amount of attention they bring to the sport. It began in 1993 and as of July 2019, they will have 239 pay-per-views. That does not even count the non-PPV events they have aired; that brings the number of events to almost 500. They have brought some of the biggest names in MMA, including Georges St. Pierre, Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones and many, many more.
However, there are more organizations in MMA than just the UFC. Bellator MMA is based out of Newport Beach in California, and they can also claim to have some big names on their roster, most of whom also fought in the UFC. Then there is also ONE Championship, based in Singapore, and Rizin, which comes to you from Japan. Invicta FC is an all-female MMA organization that is based in North Carolina, while Cage Warriors is headquartered in England. There are tons of smaller local organizations, but these are the names that you will likely see at the sportsbook when you are going to bet on MMA.
The “Who Is The Best MMA Fighter Of All Time” debate seems to rage on hotter and hotter with each year. Even when you look at the records, there does not seem to be a way to say that one particular fighter is the best of all time. However, there are definitely a few very deserving candidates. There are three names that usually come up: St. Pierre, Fedor Emilianenko and Anderson Silva.
St. Pierre retired with a record of 26-2, and held the UFC welterweight title twice, including one reign of five years. He also won the middleweight title before he retired. While his wrestling-heavy style may not have been the most exciting, St. Pierre (or GSP, as he is better known as) was a very well-rounded MMA fighter.
Emilianenko is known as the greatest heavyweight of all time with a record of 38-6 with one no-contest. Emilianenko went between December 2000 and June 2010 without losing a match, and he was the now-defunct Pride heavyweight champion from March 2003 to December 2006. He has declined in his later years, but that does not take away from what the versatile Emilianenko has done.
Silva has a record of 34-9 with one no-contest (update after next fight), and like Emilianenko, his twilight years have not been as successful. However, Silva did not lose a fight from January 2006 (which was a disqualification for an illegal kick) to July 2013. He held the middleweight title from October 2006 to July of 2013, and Silva did as arguably the best striker on the planet.
Of course, there are other names that come into the conversation, such as B.J. Penn, Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Demetrious Johnson, Daniel Cormier and many others. However, when it comes to the top three, St.Pierre, Emilianenko and Silva are the likely consensus.
Since there has been MMA, there has also been MMA betting. But what are the five biggest sports betting underdog wins of all time in MMA?
Nogueira came in as a -2500 favorite in this heavyweight match with Sokoudjou, who was at +1250. However, it was Sokoudjou who came out on top as he ended the fight after just 23 seconds with punches.
Viana was a -1750 favorite against Riley, in this Resurrection Fighting Alliance bantamweight match. But Riley, who was a +985 underdog, was undeterred and came away with a unanimous decision.
Silva was a massive -1500 favorite in this middleweight clash with Takase, who was rated at +750. But Takase controlled this fight on the ground from the start and submitted Silva 8:33 into the first round.
Nurmagomedov (cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov) waws favored at -1420 in this welterweight encounter. Kusch was listed at +820, but he submitted Nurmagomedov 1:23 into the second round.
Shields was favored at -1400 in this welterweight battle with Cooper, who came in at +800. However, Cooper, whose father had split two matches with Shields, got the win via TKO at 3:10 of the first round. It was Cooper’s second TKO win over Shields in a span of about five months.
It is important to know what the weight classes are before you start MMA betting. The early days of MMA did not have weight classes, but in response to criticism from some that MMA was little more than no-holds-barred fighting, weight classes and other rules were instated to give the sport more legitimacy. Therefore, here are the current weight classes for MMA, meaning fighters cannot exceed that number when they weigh in prior to a fight.
The saying goes in combat sports, is that “styles make fights”. This means you have to take into account what styles are being used when two fighters get together for a matchup. MMA is so much more than two people punching each other in the face; many fighters have a style they start with, but the best MMA fighters learn and take from other styles as well. Here are the styles you’re likely to see when getting into MMA betting.
Boxing – Boxing is the striking foundation for many fighters over various weight classes. Not only are its varied punches a good offense, but it teaches head movement in terms of avoiding strikes. An example of a strong boxer in MMA is Junior Dos Santos, a former UFC heavyweight champion.
Kickboxing/Muay Thai – These disciplines are also a good foundation for striking, but also incorporates the use of legs, knees and elbows. Anderson Silva is a good example of a fighter that uses Muay Thai.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Royce Gracie used Brazilian jiu-jitsu to win UFC 1, 2 and 4 against larger opponents. BJJ uses leverage to grapple your opponent to the mat, and then use submissions. Demian Maia is known as the best BJJ mixed martial artist out there.
Wrestling – Wrestling is another ground-based style in which fighters can take down opponents with single or double-leg takedowns, and then control them on the mat. This is when ground-and-pound comes into play. Georges St. Pierre was an excellent example of wrestling in MMA.
Judo – Judo’s biggest weapon is the throw, which fighters can use as a takedown. From there, they can use ground-and-pound or submissions to control the match. Ronda Rousey, who was also an Olympic medalist, used judo for her foundation.
Karate – Karate is a striking style, but grappling and throws can also be used. But it is primarily about striking, and former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is a great example for karate.
Taekwondo – Taekwondo artists are usually good with kicks, and many of them are flashy compared to kickboxing. Think of former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis as a taekwondo example.
Sambo – Sambo is a combination of judo and wrestling, in which throws, grappling and striking are all used. Fedor Emilianenko is the most famous sambo fighter.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport that incorporates various forms of fighting techniques. Boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, judo and sambo are just a few of the techniques that you will find in MMA.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the biggest MMA organization in the world, while Bellator would be considered the second-biggest by most. There is also ONE Championship and Rizin, along with Cage Warriors and many more.
There are nine weight classes you should know in MMA. There is strawweight (115 lb), flyweight (125 lb), bantamweight (135 lb), featherweight (145 lb), lightweight (155 lb), welterweight (170 lb), middleweight (185 lb), light heavyweight (205 lb) and heavyweight (265 lb). A catchweight is when two combatants fight at an agreed-upon weight class.
When it comes to MMA betting, you can wager on the moneyline, which is who will win the fight. You can bet the over/under on the number of rounds a fight will go. You can create a parlay bet, which is multiple bets on one ticket. Finally, there are prop bets you can make, such as how a fight will be won.