How to Bet on UFC Fights | MMA Betting for Beginners

How to Bet on UFC Fights | MMA Betting for Beginners
Conor McGregor. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

The intense world of mixed martial arts (MMA) has reached new heights of popularity in recent years. With the likes of Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov leading the forefront of the UFC’s combat sport’s reputation war in Las Vegas, the sports betting market has also gained some serious interest. It’s the fastest-growing sport on the planet and in years to come sporting juggernauts such as the NHL, NBA, NFL could all be bowing down to the power of the UFC and mixed martial arts in general. 

The United States is the home of the UFC but countries such as Brazil have been heavily involved due to their contribution to mixed martial arts. Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other combat sports can put themselves on a bigger map with a wider audience when fighting for the UFC, which will also eventually stem back to the betting market. 

As you venture into the world of betting UFC, firstly, take a browse at our informative guide that’ll assist you’re every martial arts gambling need and help you bet on the UFC. From the most basic of betting tips and strategies to a more extensive look into betting on the UFC, our guide will cater to all. 

Having trouble understanding UFC odds? How to read UFC odds? How to bet on fights? Have you been seeking a UFC betting guide? Did you get crushed betting on Mcgregor vs Khabib odds? Do you enjoy handicapping UFC pay-per-views but UFC fight night not so much? Did you place a Moneyline bet on Daniel Cormier to defeat Jon Jones and regretted ever since? Do you understand the difference between Israel Adesanya having good takedown defense or not? 

Whether you have some, little or no experience in betting on the UFC, have no fear, Sportsbook Review have you covered in regards to your betting site/betting odds and will make sure the bookmaker will “do absolutely nuttin”. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

Understanding The Odds 

How Do You Read UFC Odds? 

There are three commonly used odds formats that you may stumble across whilst sports betting. Decimal, Fractional and American odds all provide the same odds reading, just with a different approach. We’ll be using the American odds format based on its simplicity of understanding, for example; 

Bet one – $100 stake on Conor McGregor at odds of +100 = $100 profit or loss. 

Odds of +100 are what are known as ‘even odds‘ or ‘plus money’ if referring to anything +100 or above. Meaning the amount you stake will be the same as what you profit. In reverse, when the odds are presented for the favorite, you’ll have to invest more to get a $100 return. These kinds of investments can affect your return of investment long-term, but we’ll discuss that later on. 

Bet two – $200 stake on Khabib Nurmagomedov at odds of -200 = $100 profit or a $200 loss. 

Probability and Value 

Simple probability is easy to understand and can give you a clear direction. When measuring the likelihood of a UFC bet outcome it’s often used as a percentage on betting sites, with 100% implying a guarantee and 0% implying impossibility. The toss of a coin is a perfect example of probability with heads or tails making the probability 50% for each side. 

Sports betting on UFC probability, in particular, works in a slightly different way. A precise probability is impossible to come by, down to the variables involved. You can do all the statistical research, fighter analytics and take every factor that determines a result into account, but you’ll still be left with an inaccurate possibility. 

The most you can do whilst handicapping the UFC is to calculate your own belief of what you expect the outcome to be., which may sound daunting, but don’t forget the bookmakers are also in the same boat with pressures and time limits involved, unlike ourselves. Finding an edge over the bookmaker in the UFC betting markets isn’t a walk in the park. The odds created by bookmakers do often reflect the likely outcome, but they aren’t accurate representations of the probabilities that are used. They’ll have to guess which fighter wins and then adjust the odds around whatever built-in margin method is practiced. 

Yes, of course, the betting sites odds always favor the bookmaker, but it’s more than possible to take advantage of the UFC betting market with knowledge and understanding of the sport itself and some basic investing strategies that we’ll cover. 

Chuck Liddell poses with Tito Ortiz, 2018. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Can You Bet on UFC Fights Online? 

Yes, in the early years of UFC betting only a small variety of betting sites would offer any odds for upcoming fights, but in the year of 2020, almost every bookmaker available will offer some kind of UFC betting market. 

Where Can I Bet on The Fight? 

Betting on the fight has never been easier with websites such as Sportsbook Review offering a host of the best available online betting sites

Can You Bet UFC on Bovada? 

Yes, Bovada has been offering fight odds on the UFC for many years and currently has odds available for several future UFC events. 

Line shopping 

Where to Bet UFC? 

When you shop for car insurance, you use an insurance supermarket comparison website. When you want to find the best bank or loan, you use a money supermarket and when you want to find the best UFC fights and odds, you use a betting site supermarket comparison website like Sportsbook Review

Having all the available odds on one page for each UFC event saves you the time of hunting for the best odds manually, and we all know line-shopping can consume valuable hours so be sure to use an odds comparison site. 

How to Bet UFC? 

MMA betting isn’t complicated nor any hassle when placing your wager. The simple method of selection, stake and odds are all you need to know. 

Odds & Selection – Find value in a fighter you believe will win the fight and add him to your betting slip. 

Stake – Decide how much of your bankroll you need to invest, this will be dependent on the odds you’re working with. 

Anderson Silva of Brazil prepares for his middleweight bout against British fighter Michael Bisping, 2016. NIKLAS HALLE’N / AFP

Strategies, Markets & Methods 

UFC favorites versus Underdogs 

Each time you’re deciding which UFC fight is worth looking at or which fighter you think is going to win, it’s important to understand which fighter your bookmaker is favoring

It can be a pleasant surprise if you’re planning on placing a wager on Demian Maia, and then when the odds are released your fighter has been pitted as the heavy underdog. At the same time, it can also hinder your thought process, and sometimes affect your final judgement. Always remember, the bookmaker is making judgements in a similar a fashion, but more often than not with less time and more pressure. 

From a sample size of 625 fights, UFC underdogs priced between +100 / +122 have a returned an investment percentage of 11%. Meaning if you were to bet $100 on each of those fight’s you’d have turned a profit of $4510. The probability can drop to as low as 45%, which proves the guessing game can backfire. 52% of the underdogs in this price range won their fight, making moderate-slight underdogs a great long-term betting investment. 

Compound Interest Betting Method 

Compound interest is a method used amongst business and the banking industry; it doesn’t seclude itself to MMA betting. The fundamentals involve regularly staking a small amount of your bankroll (1-5%), which leaves a lot of wiggle room to balance out the losses and can allow bets to remain the same. 

If your starting bankroll is $1000 and you wanted to make a 2% every day, you can find a bet that’s going to give you a $20 return. If the wager is successful your new bankroll will be $1020 and the following day you’ll be after another 2%. So, because of your winnings and added bankroll, your return will need to slightly increase to $20.40. The next bet you place will give you a bankroll total of $1040.40. 

Obviously, at first glance, these numbers don’t sound astonishing, but overdue-course compounding can kick-in a big way. 36 successful compounding can double your bankroll. 

Now, these numbers presented are hypothetical but give you a clear and easy example of how compounding can work out and is almost fool proof, assuming that you have patience and dedication to UFC or MMA betting, it’s not the worst method to approach especially with juiced odds. 

Flat Stake Betting Method 

Flat stake betting is very similar to compound betting with one key difference, your wager amount doesn’t change using the flat stake method. Your stake size remains the same, therefore labelling the flat stake style as the ‘boring’ or ‘safe’ method. 

The problems with flat stake betting are you have to work harder to find value. I’ve been flat stake betting for over five years and have utilized fighters who are being undervalued by the betting sites. This allows me to suffer more losses and find profit with even a percentage hit rate of 50%. 

Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir, 2009. Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images/AFP

Implied Probability 

In sports betting (the house) aka the bookmaker will always hold an edge, also known as vig or vigorish. The implied probability of a set of events will always add up to over 100% and the amount that is over 100% is the bookmakers over-round (profit expect). In other words, they aren’t lying when they say ‘the bookmaker always wins’ because of their house edge from bettors who’ve laid extra juice on the favorite is what’ll be paying your underdog winnings. 

Implied probability in UFC betting is what the odds recommend the likelihood of an outcome happening is. The calculation is made by dividing one by the percentage odds. 

So, if Chris Weidman is priced at +150 to win the fight, his implied probability of winning is 40%. If he was priced as the favorite at -200, his implied probability of winning would be 67%. 

To profit utilizing implied probability you still need to find value in fights, you think that bookmaker has inaccurately priced. The best handicappers on the planet will always make their wagers with a positive expected value, and these predictions are sometimes wrong but expected investment in the long run. Finding positive value is second nature to implied probability. Finding odds where you believe the real probability is higher than the implied probability is easier said than done. 

An implied probability calculator can be found with your favorite internet search tool and will give you access to the percentage you’ll be fighting against. 

Bankroll Management 

Depending on which betting method you approach will depend on how much your stake vary, but it’s important to always remain disciplined. 

Methods such as flat stake betting can take a long time to see any significant return on investment, which may seem you’re doing something wrong in the beginning, but it’s important to always remain calm. Impatience will only lead to chasing bets and silly mistakes. 

Set aside X amount of money you want to invest into UFC betting, and treat that bankroll like a business. 

Georges St-Pierre accepts his championship belt after defeating Michael Bisping, 2017. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP


Nothing is more important than finding value in the UFC betting market. 

It’s important to remember that winning predictions doesn‘t always amount to a profiting bankroll. The odds of those winning bets are what matters and if you’ve won 70% of bets but still aren’t profiting, you’ll know why. 

The bookmakers are somewhat in the same boat as the bettor with possible outcomes and prediction methods, the built-in the margin to protect bookmakers from their losses isn’t something us punters have on instinct, we have to protect ourselves and our bankroll, and the best way to do that is by exploring your betting methods because there isn’t one guaranteed way of doing this job. 

There is no secure and protective way to bet on the UFC but my best advice would be to assess the bookmaker’s value or non-value. If the wagers that you place have a positive expected value, theoretically you should make money in the long-run. 

The value you find lines up with your perception, so it’s probably a good idea to become somewhat of an expert in the sport you’re betting. The value is subjective and only becomes valuable if your judgement is a good one. Identifying value and opportunities in the UFC betting market can become a fulltime job. 

To some things up, sports knowledge, research, statistics, analysis and understanding the importance of value could be the key subjects that are missing in your repertoire.