When a Good Sign May Be a Bad Sign

MMA Betting: When a Good Sign May Be a Bad Sign

By Loot, MMA Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

When we watch MMA, we might get carried away at looking at what a fighter does well. We should be paying attention to that. Where we need to expand our understanding is by looking at possible drawbacks in the midst of what you would normally consider good signs. In other words, we can’t be blinded by all that shines brightly. Sometimes, there’s a flip side to that coin.

A prime example is a fighter who turns pro and just starts killing everybody. All his fights end in the first round. Maybe a few guys get into the second round. The point is that he is ending fights in quick and dominant fashion. These fighters get a lot of attention and rightly so. After all, ending fights is what it’s all about. And since when was being dominant and being able to end fights quickly considered bad things?

We see a fighter bombing guys out or quickly submitting his foes and we get caught up in the fever. But what else can you say about a fighter who has not experienced any trouble en route to a dominant run? Yeah, he’s good. He’s dominant. He seems to have a big future. But what else is at play?

A fighter who wipes everyone out in quick order has not shown some of the prerequisites needed to become a champion in this sport. He may have them, but he may not. Sometimes a fighter used to having things go exactly his way will be thrown for a loop when the tables turn. And they always do in this sport. Not every opponent will vaporize at the first onset of trouble. Eventually, the dominant fighter will face someone who gives him a run for his money.

It takes a certain fighter to be able to overcome tough moments and stay on the course for victory. When a fighter is faced with that situation for the first time, you can’t really be sure. He might have it within him and he might not. It is a little disconcerting to bet on a guy who might be in store for a tough fight when he has never really illustrated the ability to overcome problems in the octagon before.

We also tend to always value the power of “experience” when it’s not as reliable an indicator as we would like to think. This may seem contradictory to the previous advice, which tells you to value when a fighter has been through some difficulty. While we want to see a fighter who is tempered in the heat of battle, we want to make sure that experience resonates in a positive way.

A lot of times, we see a fighter who has been through a lot–both good and bad. He has tasted victory as well as defeat and is now more or less of a veteran. We may think this fighter now has the experience needed to become a better fighter. But not all experiences resonate in a beneficial manner.

You see this happen when a fighter is competitive against good fighters, but still loses the fight. You see it all the time. A fighter loses, but gains respect because as an underdog, he gave the favored fighter a run for his money and even threatened to win the fight. As bettors, this can resonate in a way where we end up giving credit to a fighter who might not really deserve it in the big picture.


Sure, it’s promising for a fighter’s career when he manages to do better than what people thought. A lot of fighters have used such performances to break free from the pack before. At the same time, a lot of fighters build a rep based on tough losses. Those losses may have been competitive. The losing fighter may have distinguished himself even in defeat. At the end of the day, however, he still lost.

When a fighter is losing, it becomes easier for him to lose again. For us to win a bet in MMA wagering, a fighter needs to win, not cover the spread. Heartfelt losses get us nowhere. It’s a bottom-line business and winning is what it’s all about. Once a fighter starts knowing what it’s like to lose, it becomes part of his DNA. So while competitive losses can sometimes be a positive sign, they can also be overrated. It’s better to see a fighter who has the capacity of winning when he’s not supposed to win, not merely being able to lose while saving face.

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