MMA Handicapping Advice: Keeping Notes of Your Observations

MMA Handicapping: Keeping Track of Your Observations

By Loot, MMA Handicapper,

As MMA fans, we watch a ton of fights. The coverage of the sport keeps growing. An MMA fan can keep himself very occupied watching fights. If we want to become more than just fans, however, and start making money wagering on the sport–we need to take it the next level. When watching fights, we have all sorts of observations. Unless we write them down, that information is likely to have evaporated by the time we need to use it.

We may tend to overrate our memories. We see a fighter gets tired against a high-tempo opponent, for example. When we see that guy fight 6 months later against an even more frenetic opponent, will we be able to remember that? From the last time he fought, we’ve seen dozens of other fights. You might remember some tidbits here and there, but for the most part, we’re going to forget. So write it down.

Keep a notebook and dedicate one page for each fighter. When you fill it up, get another one. Write down the information that will lend greater insight to your picks. This sport, more than any other, comes down to styles. It’s not so much about how good we think a fighter is in an overall sense as it is about specific match-ups. It’s about what fighters do well and not so well and how that matches up with the opponent.


With all the different ways an MMA fighter can achieve victory, there are dozens of things which we need to be aware. When we are able to notice the things that a fighter does well or not so well and are able to relate that to their opponent, we start making strides. It really isn’t as rigorous as it may first seem. You may picture yourself having to be ultra-organized, constantly jotting down things while the fight is happening. All you really need to do is jot down a few things. Over time, you will develop a “book” on fighters. This is like having weaponry on the battlefield that is MMA wagering.

Winning at MMA wagering requires us to read between the lines. Think about how the general betting public views fighters. They think a guy is good and may know a few things about what he does well. Making winning bets requires us to stray from those somewhat obvious observations. What makes a fighter good specifically? What are his weaknesses? And more importantly, how does that all mesh with the guy he is fighting?

As far as weaknesses go, we want to know what they are before it manifests. If we can see a guy’s legs turn to jelly when he takes a solid strike, we want to act on it before he actually suffers a string of knockout losses. The whole point of recording our observations is to create our own “writing on the wall.” That’s how you make money in MMA wagering–by seeing the writing on the wall before it become public opinion.

The things a guy does well are more general. while his weaknesses can be painfully specific. A guy might be, for example, a dominant wrestler. Well, that’s a more wide-ranging term. But if you notice he is a sucker for the uppercut, now we’re getting somewhere. We should keep track of what specific strikes a fighter excels at delivering. If we later see a heavily-favored fighter who we noted is open to uppercuts is facing a guy who throws that punch well, then we’re taking it the next level. We are able to trump the insight of other bettors and therefore find good value.

Also make observations about more non-technical information. Sure, we want to know what specific techniques a fighter is either good at or vulnerable against, but there is other data that could swing a fight. Note a fighter’s demeanor in different scenarios. Does he have trouble getting his offense untracked when in a higher-profile fight? Does he not respond well when facing an opponent with a fierce reputation?

Starting is the hardest part. It might seem like a drag and a distraction to your fan experience to be saddled with needing to keep notes. But no one is saying to become a reporter. You might be doing too much if you’re constantly jotting down information. You just want to note the most pertinent of date–the things that almost leap off the screen at you. After developing a robust book of information, you’ll be glad you took the few moments needed to do this.

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