Mixed martial arts is a fast-growing sport, with huge interest among audiences from the US to southeast Asia. The popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, has driven most of the interest in the contact sport. In UFC or mixed martial art fights, two fighters compete with a blend of hand and foot strikes, grappling, and submission maneuvers drawn from martial arts the world over. The point scoring is similar to boxing, as is the overall action and the style of the contest.
This guide is designed to contain everything a person needs to know to place bets on UFC fights online. We cover the basics of UFC bets, provide some betting tips for beginners, discuss how to pick a UFC betting website, and go over some frequently asked questions about the sport and UFC betting in general.
Types of UFC Bets
Three common betting styles exist in UFC that don’t necessarily exist in other markets. These are known as “to win fight,” “fight outcome,” and “round betting.”
To Win Fight Bets
Most MMA and UFC bets are placed on a traditional money line format, known in UFC as “to win fight.” There’s nothing similar to a point spread in this type of MMA bet, since it’s a wager on the overall winner of a contest. This is the closest thing UFC bets have to a straight-up wager.
As in any other popular betting sport, there tends to be a clear favorite and a clear underdog in a UFC contest. Books charge a premium for bets placed on a favorite and offer a sweetener for bets placed on the favorite.
Here’s an example of odds you may find for a UFC contest:
Derrick Lewis -310
Sergei Pavlovich +240
A winning bet on the favorite Lewis would pay you $100 for every $310 you staked. A winning bet on underdog Pavlovich would pay you $240 for every $100 you staked. For either bet to pay off, the fighter has to win outright, with no consideration for any other feature of the fight.
Fight Outcome Bets
This is technically a prop bet, but it’s popular enough that it’s considered one of the three main ways to gamble on UFC fights.
A fight outcome bet requires the bettor to pick the actual method of victory by the winning fighter. Your options are things like “knockout,” “submission,” and “decision.” The odds offered vary depending on the fight variables, like the style of the fighters involved, their recent competition history, and other features like reach comparison between the two combatants.
There’s usually no “favorite,” so every prop is listed as a plus money bet. That makes this a profitable betting style no matter the outcome.
Here’s an example of how this prop would be represented at a book:
Orion Cosce Odds +150
Philip Rowe Odds +180
Orion Cosce Odds +250
Philip Rowe Odds +300
Orion Cosce Odds +110
Philip Rowe Odds +250
Bettors can deduce something about how the book feels about the likelihood of each outcome based on the number provided. For example, the book seems to think a successful Cosce decision is far more likely at +110 than a submission by Philip Rowe at +300.
UFC Round Betting
Round betting in UFC means picking the exact round a fight will end in, or how long a fight will last overall. As with any prop, lots of variations exist, from bets that ask bettors to pick the exact round of a fight’s finish to the total rounds fought or even if the finishing round will be an odd or even number.
Books represent these odds like this:
Exact Round 1
Cosce Odds -200
Rowe Odds +200
Exact Round 2
Cosce Odds +120
Rowe Odds +300
Exact Round 3
Cosce Odds +200
Rowe Odds +450
UFC Betting Tips
Here are some beginner tips designed to prevent newcomers to UFC bets from making mistakes:
Use a betting calculator to understand the implied probability found in UFC betting odds. Knowing the difference between (-230) and (+190) odds is a big part of succeeding early on.
Most of the time, big-name fighters that score lots of early knockouts are overpriced.
Understand that modern UFC judges tend to reward total damage more than a fighter’s control. Use that emerging bias to handicap fights.
As an individual sport, UFC odds and outcomes are more affected by things like mindset and hunger than any other major sport. In other words, sometimes a player’s mood or mindset can have a big impact on handicapping, more so than in a team sport.
Any time you’re stumped while handicapping an MMA or UFC contest, remember to break the head-to-head matchup down by each round. Considering a match as a series of smaller moments can help you approach what may seem like an impossible handicapping task.
Where to Bet on UFC Fights Online
Americans are limited in their options for placing online bets on sports including UFC and MMA. Luckily, a dozen or so legit offshore books accept US wagers and offer bets on mixed martial arts and UFC fights. The four sites below are a representative sample of the places available to US bettors interesting in wagering on UFC action:
BetUS offers a welcome bonus match of 100% up to $2,500 and covers all the standard UFC matches and betting styles. BetUS offers a mobile app, unlike others in the space. Reviews indicate that the bonus offers at BetUS have a higher-than-average rollover requirement.
MyBookie has a welcome bonus match offer of 50% up to $1,000. MyBookie’s UFC options are competitive and user reviews praise their intuitive user interface and achievable rollover requirements.
Betonline offers new users a welcome bonus match of 100% up to $,1000. Betonline’s UFC betting options are the same as the best names in the business. Some US customers are restricted from placing UFC bets at Betonline, so check with customer service before you attempt to make a deposit.
Bovada has a 50% welcome bonus match offer worth up to $250, and the site has all the UFC betting options you expect from a US-facing offshore sportsbook.
Online UFC Betting FAQ
Is it legal to bet on UFC fights online?
The question of the legality of online sports betting for Americans is tricky. Technically, this type of betting is against the law, but there’s a big caveat. No bettor has ever been targeted by a US law enforcement agency. Instead, these laws are designed to prevent the operation of illegal sportsbooks. You can feel safe placing online UFC bets, since the laws aren’t designed to attack individual bettors.
Are the odds the same on every online UFC betting site?
Of the dozen or so offshore books offering UFC bets to Americans, the majority of them post very similar odds. The odds aren’t the same, necessarily, but close enough. The Internet has had a stabilizing influence on sports betting odds. Now that books operate more closely with one another, it’s tougher to find advantage situations based on some massive difference in odds between books. These opportunities still exist, but they are generally fewer and farther between.
How do I pick a winner in UFC?
If there is some sacred method for choosing winners in UFC fights, we don’t know it. We do know that, like other sports betting markets, you can gain an edge against the book through experience, patience, and intuition. Choosing a winner in UFC is as complicated as choosing a winner in any other sport and requires some element of luck. We offer betting strategy for UFC fight bets. Take advantage of free resources like ours and you’ll be able to make more confident bets, if not automatically more successful.
How much does it cost to place UFC bets online?
Sportsbooks use vigorish to help guarantee profits. Vigorish is money added to the cost of a losing bet. Typically, in UFC fighting, propositions are made available at -110 odds. That additional -10 represents the profit margin for the sportsbook. Generally speaking, that’s the “cost” of placing UFC bets, the vigorish added to losing bets by the sportsbook. You’ll sometimes find “reduced juice” offers, where a fighter will be available at -105, but this is less common as Web-based betting standards change the industry as a whole.
UFC betting isn’t much different from placing any other type of sports bet. A few unique types of bets are available, and a unique set of props and exotic wagers are also on offer, but for the most part if you know how to place a bet on a basketball or football game, you’re ready to start betting on the outcome of UFC matches.