When MMA Superstars Get Old

MMA Betting Tips: When Superstars Get Old

By Loot, Mixed Martial Arts Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

In all forms of fighting, the warriors who were once mighty fall from grace. Name some MMA fighters who retired on top. It’s not that easy, is it? Normally, fighters go through the normal rite-of-passage that awaits all greats–the downside of their careers. In an individual sport like MMA, name value equals power at the betting windows.

Fighters who establish themselves as superstars continue to enjoy that status even after it becomes clear that their star shines brighter as a celebrity than it does as a fighter. For the MMA bettor, this means you can cash in at a nice price by betting on the opponent of the once-great fighter. The name value will continue to resonate at the betting window, where well-known fighters will get odds as if they are still great. But they are not. Jump on the other side.

Get into the mind of an MMA oddsmaker. He knows when a superstar fighter is involved in a fight, he can set just about any line and know the bets will roll in on that fighter. The celebrity status of that fighter guarantees a certain amount of action will be placed on him. With a lesser-known fighter, the odds must be more tantalizing. That fighter has less buzz surrounding him. He may be known to the hardcore MMA enthusiast, but the general public is still largely unaware of his prowess.

It’s like that in any sport. Well-known teams in the NFL don’t always get the best value. In the NBA, the glamor teams usually require you to lay steep odds. And in fighting sports like MMA, that phenomenon is even more widespread. It’s not a whole team–it’s just one person. And if that one person is a well-supported fighter in terms of fans, the world will seem slow to fully acknowledge his deteriorated form.


MMA is a sport where the fortunes of a fighter can change on one night. Sure, sometimes a fighter’s fall from grace can take years, but often times it happens more suddenly. An astute bettor must stay ahead of the curve and be ready to internalize the fact that a fighter is not what he once was. And he needs to do it before the rest of the world catches on to that fact.

Take the case of former light heavyweight great Chuck Liddell. A dominant champion, Liddell became the poster boy of the UFC during a time of gigantic organizational growth. So after Quinton “Rampage” Jackson starched him in the first round, it was understandable that people were not ready to write off the “Iceman.” But an astute bettor might have noted that at 37 and a career of hard fights–that Liddell had hit a wall.

It was at that point where betting against Liddell became a profitable move. He only won 1 of his next 5 fights. And in each of them, he was still getting respect at the betting windows. Even as the knockouts piled up and people were pleading for him to retire, appetizing odds were still be being given to his opponents.

Superstar fighters reach a point where betting against them becomes the right move–every single time. Profit from other people’s sentimentality. If people continue to take the fallen hero and decent odds are offered on his opponent–take it.

But don’t be too hasty in writing off a hero. Even more so than in boxing, MMA fighters are resilient in the face of setbacks, even devastating knockouts. If a 28-year old fighter gets blasted out, however, his chances to rebound are far greater than those a of a fighter pushing 40 after a taxing career filled with punishment. You must analyze each situation individually.

At the same time, it isn’t that difficult to discern which fighters are on the downside of their careers. You don’t need to see a guy get knocked out in 4 straight fights to conclude that he is damaged goods. Even if a fighter is winning, start looking for signs of deterioration. If you see that, you can even call the fall before there is proof that he is on the downside of his career. In other words, the successful MMA bettor needs to be able to notice these things before the rest of the world does.

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