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UFC Betting Guide

Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: Mar 21, 2024

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Sometimes, a bettors’ bankroll can take a beating, much like the caged warriors in the octagon in the UFC.

When it comes to placing wagers on the UFC, there are a few things bettors should keep in mind.

As the UFC betting market grows, bettors have a wider range of options, including odds for outright winners, total rounds in a fight, method of victory, and more.

The bigger the fights, the more wagering options that will be available.

Main-card pay-per-view lineups featuring the top fighters in the sport boast plenty of betting options. These events will feature more options for bettors, unlike a typical UFC Fight Night.

And just like any other sporting event, bettors must shop around for the best odds for their best return on investment.

Shopping around is the bettors’ way of punching back at the sportsbooks.

The following is a guide for bettors interested in placing wagers on the UFC.

Odds For Outright Winner

Bettors can simply back which fighter they believe will come out victorious in any bout.

Like any other contest, these odds are simply one side or the other.

Here’s an example from UFC 299:

Bantamweight Title – Main EventOdds To Win – Caesars
Sean O’Malley-250
Marlon Vera+205

O’Malley won by unanimous decision, so any bettor that took a chance on O’Malley would have won.

A $100 bettor would have won $40, receiving $140 on payout.

In another example from UFC 299, with an underdog winning, Dustin Poirer vs. Benoit Saint-Denis.

Lightweight Bout – Co-Main EventOdds – Caesars
Dustin Poirier+165
Benoit Saint-Denis-195

Poirier won with a KO in the second round over Saint-Denis, and a $100 bettor would have won $165, with $265 on payout.

The best odds for Poirier to pick up the underdog win at UFC 299 was +185 on DraftKings, which would have given a winning bettor a payout of $285.

Over time, those differences in payout from one book to the next makes a world of difference on a bettors’ ROI.

Whether a bettor is backing the favorite or the underdog, always shop around for the best odds.

Method Of Victory

Method of victory is exactly as it sounds.

Fights can end in a myriad of ways, typically by KO/TKO, submission, or by judges’ decision.

Here’s an example of Method of Victory odds at DraftKings, using a UFC Fight Night bout between Amanda Ribas and Rose Namajunas.

Amanda RibasMethod Of Victory – OddsRose Namajunas
+900KO/TKO/DQ+140
+600Submission+800
+450Decision+250

Bettors can select any option on how they view a fight concluding, and heavy consideration on fighting styles should be taken into account.

Round Betting And Total Rounds

Another betting option would be how long the bout is expected to run.

In a match of submission and takedown artists, a fight could become a battle of endurance, while a bout between two strikes could come to a close in one punch.

Here’s an example of a total rounds bet at FanDuel between Karl Williams and Justin Tafa:

OVER 1.5 Rounds-172
UNDER 1.5 Rounds+134

This Williams-Tafa bout is a three round bout, with the fights’ total round line being set at just 1.5 rounds.

Bettors can simply place a wager on either side of 1.5 rounds, with the 2:30 mark signaling the half round.

Once the clock hits 2:31 in the second round, a bettor would hit the over.

If one of the fighters gets dusted before that time, then it would be under 1.5 rounds.

Bettors can also place bets on which round they believe the match will end, here’s an example using the Williams-Tafa match:

What Round Will Fight End?Odds
Round 1+170
Round 2+430
Round 3+650

Based on the first round having the shortest odds, this is the round this fight is most expected to end.

The odds for ‘What Round Will Fight End’ can give interesting insights on the previously mentioned over/under on total rounds; over 1.5 (-172), under 1.5 (+134).

For Your Consideration

Fighter Size, Style, Age

When placing a bet on a fight, bettors have a litany of things to consider, including a fighters’ size, fighting style, and age.

Usually, fighters that share a weight class will have a similar size, but on occasion, fighters can traverse weight classes, going up or down in weight to take a certain fight.

Former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker famously moved up from Welterweight to Middleweight, and the same goes for Dustin Poirier, who moved from Featherweight to Lightweight.

When a fighter loses a series of fights in one class, they can choose to move down.

Moving down in class was performed well by former Light-Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier, coming down from the Heavyweight class.

The size of a fighter is more than weight, as height and reach both play an integral role in a fighters’ matchup.

A long reach can help a striker attack without getting too close, while keeping takedown stylists at bay.

The age of a fighter can also play into the outcome of a match.

Some may see experience as age, while others may view it as a potential decline.

Historically, older fighters have not fared well in title bouts, specifically below the Middleweight class.

Fighters below Middleweight that were 35-years-old or more have gone just 2-28 in title fights.

UFC Record

Bettors may also consider a fighters’ UFC record.

While a record is indicative of a fighters’ success or failure, it’s important for bettors to know who those wins and losses came from.

If ‘Fighter A” is a notorious striker with a record of 14-3, but he’s been susceptible to submission, and his opponent, ‘Fighter B’ (17-6) is a takedown and arm bar specialist, then ‘Fighter B’ may be a formidable foe against the striker.

At the end of the day, the record is just a number, but one must consider how those wins and losses were obtained, and the size, fighting style, and age of the fighters in the bout.

Injury And Ring Rust

For various reasons, for situations inside of the octagon or outside of it, fighters may take long hiatuses.

When those fighters return, they’re immediately in question of having “Ring Rust”.

“Ring Rust” is really nothing more than a phenomenon and typically holds no true weight in the decision of most fights.

While being away for a long time may throw a fighters’ rhythm for a loop, “Ring Rust” is merely conversational doubt on one fighter in a matchup.

Now, if the fighter has been away from the ring because of an injury, that’s a different story.

Fighters are constantly tearing muscles and injuring bones, so some time off is to be expected, but if a fighter returns quicker than their anticipated recovery timeline, then there could be concerns.

Any report of a fighter returning way too quickly should get the attention of the UFC-betting public.

There is a lot to consider when betting the UFC, from the fighters to the odds, but always do your betting homework and shop around for the best odds.

A knowledgable bettor is a dangerous bettor.

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