Timing an Upset Pick

MMA Betting: Timing an Upset Pick

By Loot, UFC Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

For a fighter to be a favorite in the first place, he has to be established. And with the shelf-life of a fighter being relatively short, when they become established, they are actually getting somewhat close to the end. It’s hard to time and you will make mistakes, but when picking underdogs and especially sizable ones, you don’t need to be 100%. In fact, you can cash winners at way under 50% betting like this and still come out ahead of the game.

Take a look at how the once-mighty graphically fall from grace. Then let’s discuss how this dynamic can help bolster our profits as MMA betting men.

Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, once the poster boy of the UFC, began his career at a sterling 20-2. But in his last 6 fights, he was 1-5.

There was no bigger name in the UFC at one point than Tito Ortiz. The “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” was 15-4 against the best in the business. But he only won one of 8 fights, going 1-7-1, at one point.

Forrest Griffin parlayed a TUF season win and a slew of great fights in to a high-profile position in the sport at 12-2. In his next 11 fights, he would only go 6-5.

Rich Franklin won a title and became one of the bet pound-for-pound fighters in the game. Though still good, his last 12 fights have resulted in only a 7-5 record.

Wanderlei Silva became one of the more feared MMA fighters in the world. His record was 31-5-1. But in the next ten fights, he was 3-7.

BJ Penn became the “prodigy” as he went 9-1-1, but in the last 18 fights, he went 7-10-1.

Matt Hughes was a dominant welterweight and racked up win after win en route to a 41-4 record, but in his next 9 fights, he was 4-5.

Jens Pulver, the former UFC Lightweight Champion had a good record of 17-4-1. In his next 21 fights, he was 9-12. Ouch.

Ken Shamrock was one of the first MMA fighters that people knew about. He was 24-5-2, but since then, he has gone an inglorious 4-12.

The pattern is clear and no fighter is immune to it, regardless of stature. A fighter who was once dominant will inevitably reach a point where he loses his effectiveness. And as a betting man, you need to be abreast of when that tide is about to shift. The beauty of betting against established big-time champions is that you can mistime a lot of picks and still make money. But if we operate under the assumption that the tide will in fact always turn, we should be looking to time the descent of the stars of the sport.

The general betting public only bets big on large favorites after those fighters are established. The funny thing is that after a fighter gets established, he’s already been through the ringer and is closer than ever to losing his steam. The sport has a regenerative quality that is a rule of law. Once a guy gets big, there is usually a guy who comes around that is Kryptonite to the star fighter. Or the star fighter is just unable to maintain the fever pitch for a long period of time.


The best part about betting on MMA is that even the best fighters take defeats. The best MMA fighters’ records are sometimes littered with losses. The nature of the sport just makes it so the turnover of fighters reigning as champion is quite high. You usually don’t see champions or good fighters on winning streaks that stretch out for years, further enhancing the upset option as a big part of your betting profile.

When fighters who are considered great start to head down that proverbial hill that awaits even the finest MMA practitioners, a shrewd bettor needs to see the signs before everyone else does–especially the betting public. Waiting for overly-conclusive evidence suggesting a fighter is going downhill can cost you some winning bets. Trust your instincts.

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