A Beginner’s Guide to MMA Betting

by Rae Dover
| 30/08/2020

Beginner's Guide to MMA BettingFun – this is the world that best describes MMA betting. Watching some of the world’s fiercest fighters going into the octagon is guaranteed to up your adrenaline levels.  Having fun, however, is not the only reason why people decide to bet on MMA bouts. Another reason is money. If you do it the right way, you might have a chance to walk away with some nice winnings.

So, how to bet on MMA the right way? Here’s a beginner’s guide that should make things clear for you. 

From Pankration to UFC

Mixed martial arts is the oldest sport in the world. This shouldn’t surprise you, knowing that you don’t need any special equipment for MMA – you already have everything you need.  Although people have been kicking, punching, and wrestling each other for tens of thousands of years, it was the ancient Greeks who first introduced some rules to the fighting chaos. As a result, a sport called pankration was born.

Literally translating as ‘all force,’ pankration was one of the most popular events at the Ancient Olympics. However, when Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics decided to resurrect the Games, the only ancient sport he omitted was pankration. He found it too brutal.

Art Davie and his business partners, however, had a completely different view of the sport. That inspired them to launch the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993. Over the years, the UFC grew to become the biggest MMA promotion, where only the world’s best MMA fighters compete.  Although other promotions like Bellator and Cage Warriors hope to take over the throne, the UFC still remains the supreme ruler of the MMA world. It’s the most popular promotion among sports bettors looking for MMA action at the best online sportsbooks.

Best Bookmakers - July 2024


MMA Betting Terms

It’s fair to say that MMA betting lingo is unique, as this sport has some rules that most other sports don’t. If you’re new to online MMA betting, not knowing what certain words mean could reduce your chances of winning.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to help you out by discussing some of the most important MMA betting terms.

  • Going the distance – If the fight doesn’t end before all the rounds are complete, it means that it has gone the distance.
  • Weight class – A fight between the 260 lb Francis Ngannou and the 120 lb Deiveson Figueiredo would not be fair. That’s why the MMA fighters are pitted against each other according to the weight category they belong to.
  • Tapping out – This term refers to the action of submitting to the opponent by tapping the floor, signalizing the referee to put an end to the fight.
  • KO – It stands for knock-out, which is declared when the KO-ed fighter is unable to get up on their own. There’s also the TKO, which refers to the situation when the referee or the fighter’s coach declares he/she is unable to continue fighting.

Types of MMA Bets

The list of MMA bet types is so long that it’s practically impossible to discuss each one of them. Still, the fact is that the most popular types of bets in MMA can be categorized into three groups, namely:

  • Fight Winner – This is the most popular MMA bet type, as it’s as easy as it gets. You just have to pick which of the two fighters is going to be the winner.
  • Method of Victory – A fighter can win the bout by several methods, including KO, TKO, submission, or by points.
  • Round Betting – You can bet on whether the fight will go the distance, whether it will end before/after a specific round, and so on.

Mixed Martial Arts Betting Odds Explained

When the oddsmakers have to decide which fighter is the favorite and which one is the underdog, they need to take all sorts of factors into consideration.  Some of those include the form of the fighters, their weight division ranking, preferred fighting technique, and so on. Based on those things, they come up with the initial odds.

However, the practice of most MMA sportsbooks is to adjust the initial odds according to the bets the players are making. So, if there’s a lot of money being bet on the underdog, the odds are going to change so much that he’s going to become the favorite in the eyes of MMA bookies.  This, of course, doesn’t reflect the situation inside the octagon. What’s going to happen in the fight does not depend on the MMA betting odds. This is why you ought to make your betting decisions based on your MMA knowledge rather than focusing on the odds.

Useful Tips for MMA Bettors

Trust your own judgment instead of focusing on the MMA bookies’ odds – this is the main advice we have for you.

Looking for more MMA tips? Here are some:

  • Don’t go all-in – In MMA, surprises happen more often than in many other sports. So, instead of betting a lot of money on a single fighter, our advice is to spread your bankroll over several fights.
  • Read the news – Most fighters have only one or two MMA bouts a year, meaning that you can’t get much insight by looking at their stats. Instead, you better read the latest MMA news to see how they’re preparing for their next bout.
  • Listen to experts – Surely you don’t have enough spare time to read the MMA news, watch fights on YouTube, and do all the other things needed to pick the right bets. However, there are some people who do exactly that as their daily job. Our advice is to check out what they have to say.  

Next Steps – Playing for Real Money

Even if you’re a big MMA fan, you’re not going to experience such thrill as you would if you’ve placed some bets before the fight. Playing for real money can be incredibly fun. What’s not fun is losing.

To have fun and make some money off your MMA betting adventure, the best thing you can do is start slowly. Just make some small bets before you get the hang of it.

UFC, Bellator, Cage Warriors

Even if you don’t win every time, you’re not going to feel too sorry. After all, you’ve had a great time betting MMA. Of course, this is only true for those who bet on elite MMA bouts. Such fights are always exciting.  If you’re wondering where to look for such bouts, we say at the UFC. This is, by far, the best MMA promotion on the planet, where true greats of this sport compete. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jon Jones, Paige VanZant – they all fight under the banner of the UFC.

Another promotion worthy of your attention is the Bellator MMA. Although not as popular as the UFC, this promotion definitely has a lot to offer. It’s pretty much the same situation with Cage Warriors.

Ultimate fun awaits you in the octagon, so start your MMA betting adventure today!

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