How to Bet on MMA

By Loot, MMA Handicapper,

For those who always wanted to bet on MMA and UFC fights, but didn’t know how–rest assured. It’s really not that hard, as MMA has a certain simplicity to it that is missing from other parts of sports wagering. At its root, you pick who will win the fight. In addition to that, there are a few different things you can bet on. Reading this should have you up-to-speed by the time you hit the betting windows.

Straight MMA Betting: The meat and potatoes of MMA betting, where you simply pick who will win the fight. The only thing that needs to be learned is how the odds work. Obviously, not very many MMA fights are even, as there is a favorite and an underdog. That’s where odds come into play.

When listening to announcers or anyone for that matter, they will express the odds verbally in a fractional form, like if someone says a fighter is a “5 to 1 favorite.” But when looking at odds and making wagers in MMA, we will be doing it on something called the money line, which is simply a way to express the odds. Here is an example:

Jon Jones (-700) vs. Chael Sonnen (+500)

In the above example, Jones is a favorite at -700. Now would be a good time to lock in the idea that all favorites on the money line are listed with a (-) sign. Naturally, all underdogs are represented with a (+) sign.

With a minus-sign (-), the number you see is the amount you need to wager in order to win $100. With a plus-sign (+), the number you see is how much you win if you bet $100. If you remember this, it will basically help you understand all the odds you might come across while betting on MMA. When making straight bets or any other type of bet in MMA, we will be dealing with the money line, so understanding how it works is crucial. Luckily for all of us, it’s one of those things that may seem foreign at first, but two minutes later, we should have it down pat.

With Jones at -700, you would have to wager $700 in order to win $100. A $100 bet on Sonnen, meanwhile, would win $500. When you win a bet, you get your winnings, in addition to the amount you wagered. And remember that the odds revolve around the $100 figure only to make it easy to understand. You obviously don’t have to bet that amount. You could bet any number and the odds would just break down proportionally to that amount.


As an MMA bettor, you will be betting on fights which generally go 3 rounds, unless betting on a title fight or big main event that is 5 rounds. With 3 round bouts, we need to be extra careful, especially if we strongly suspect the fight will indeed last the distance. All it takes is for one round to be scored incorrectly to rob us of a rightful win.

Over/Unders: In MMA over/unders (totals) wagering, you’re not worried about who wins the fight, but simply on how long the fight will last. The bookie posts a total–a number of how many rounds the fight will last. You then decide if the fight will go “over” or “under” that amount of rounds. Here is an example:

Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Over 3.5 (-110)
Under 3.5 (-130)

In the above example, the number is 3.5, meaning you are betting on whether the fight will last 3.5 rounds or not. Remember that the number refers to completed rounds. In other words, 3.5 does not mean halfway through the third round, but rather halfway through the 4th round. So the fight would be considered “under” at anytime before 2:30 into the 4th round. Anything beyond that would be “over.” Also note that the money line also exists on totals bets. In the above example, “over” 3.5 rounds is a slight favorite at -130, meaning you have to bet $130 for every $100 you hope to win.

MMA Parlay Betting:: Parlays are when you put multiple picks on the same bet, with all of them needing to win in order for the bet to be a success. It’s a way to make a lot of money, with parlays potentially returning a hefty profit. The downside is that you have to be perfect. If you put, for example, 5 different picks on your parlay, hitting 4 of 5 is the same as hitting 0 of 5. Let’s look at a few examples:

Georges St. Pierre -270 vs. Carlos Condit
Alistair Overeem -255 vs. Travis Browne

In this parlay, the bettor put two favorites on a parlay. A $100 parlay on this wager would pay only $91 and change. A lot of people like to make these kinds of parlays, partly to avoid having to bet extravagant amounts on favorites in straight bets.

Quinton Jackson (+500) vs Glover Teixeira
Mauricio Rua (+360) vs. Lyoto Machida

Another popular parlay is of the underdog variety. A $100 parlay on these two fighters would pay a robust $2660. These examples are just two-teamers, but you can bet as many fighters as you like, depending on the sportsbook.

MMA Prop Bets: Look at prop bets as details within an event. It’s not so much about who wins necessarily, but it focuses on “how” the fight unfolds. In an MMA fight, there are many different things that can take place. Prop bets allow you to make more pointed predictions, beyond who will merely win the fight. Here are some prop bets you will fins in MMA wagering:

Will the fight go the distance?

Will a fighter win by KO, TKO, or submission?

Which fight will win Fight of the Night honors?

These are just a few examples, but you get the point–prop bets focus on details within a fight. With the growth of MMA betting, prop bets are being added all the time. Just be careful to not try to be too exact with your betting. It can really sting to pick the right fighter to win, but lose because you were trying to be too precise with your prediction.

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MMA Betting

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UFC Weight Classes – The UFC is broken down by 8 weight class divisions with heavyweights being the biggest fighters (Maximum weight 265 pounds) and flyweights (125lb Max.) being the smallest fighters. Check out the other 6 classes of mixed martial artists including analysis for each division right here!

Famous MMA Fighters – Biographies of mixed martial arts fighters who have graced the octagon and become shining stars of the sport.

Famous MMA Quotes and Sayings – Testosterone runs high when fights take place. This creates a slew of memorable verbage from all involved including the fighters, their trainers and the announcers. Oh, and Dana White!