This article serves as our ultimate guide to UFC betting. Read on to find out the top ten sites for betting on MMA, where to find free MMA betting tips, learn basic betting strategies for MMA, discuss the top UFC fighters for 2020 and more!
Table of Contents
- Best Betting Sites We Recommend for UFC Betting
- The 10 Best sites for MMA and UFC Betting
- What Makes MMA Betting So Unique?
- UFC Betting
- Other MMA Promotions to Bet On
- MMA and UFC Betting Tips and Strategy
- Where to Find the Best UFC Betting Odds
- Best MMA Fighters in 2020
- Famous Main Events Where Huge Underdogs Won
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
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The 10 Best sites for MMA and UFC Betting
1. Paddy Power
Paddy Power was originally an Ireland-based company, though they have now merged with Betfair. Their site has an excellent reputation and they have competitive odds on most MMA events. They also have plenty of MMA special bets, and offer a one-time risk-free bet worth £10. If your first bet loses, you will get it back in cash up to £10. They also offer fun promos, such as a £10,000 pot for predicting six winners in a UFC event.
Coral is a great all-round betting site. MMA fans can bet on all UFC events and plenty of smaller promotions too. They offer a fun welcome bonus where you bet £5 to get £20 in free bets. The site has plenty of MMA betting markets, such as round, method, distance, over/under and more.
Betfair offers two products for MMA betting: the Betfair exchange and their regular sportsbook. The sportsbook has some of the most varied options for betting on fight outcomes, including double chance, fight duration and more. The exchange is a unique betting product where you can actually create your own odds. This is great for value betting since Betfair only takes a small commission on these bets. Betfair offers a free bet worth £20 on the exchange for new customers – so there really is nothing to lose on your first bet.
Unibet is one of the biggest betting sites in the world. The company originated in Sweden and it is taking over the UK market. They offer competitive odds on MMA fights, including UFC, Bellator, and Cage Warriors. Their welcome bonus is a free bet up to £40, plus a free £10 casino bonus to new players. You can also get a £10 free in-play bet every week for selected sports.
bet365 offers a wide array of odds on UFC fights. Usually, the higher the fight on the card, the more betting options available. They also offer highly competitive odds for better value. The site has plenty of other bets, and is one of the largest in the world when it comes to betting options. New customers get up to £100 in bet credits.
Ladbrokes is one of the biggest and best betting sites in the world. For MMA, they offer some of the best odds, along with a wide array of MMA markets to bet on. New players get to bet £5 and get £20 in free bets, while you can get a free daily odds boost on any sport, including MMA.
888sport has a sleekly designed site, which is perfect for MMA betting. You can get up to 14 extra betting markets per fight, and the site offers odds on future or hypothetical matchups. You can also bet live on all UFC events, which is a great betting strategy. New players get a great welcome bonus, bet just £10 and get a £30 free bet. There are plenty of regular promotions as well. Win at odds of 4/1 or higher, and you get a £5 free bet.
8. William Hill
William Hill is well-known by most UK punters for their great odds and reliable service. The site offers great odds on MMA, with up to 7 different betting markets per fight. You can also find in-play betting for UFC fights. New players get to bet £10 and in return, they get two £15 free bets. There are also regular promos for horse racing, and you can set your own odds for a limited stake.
Karamba offers some excellent options for MMA bets as well. They now offer up to 13 markets per MMA fight, as well as live betting on UFC. They also have odds on many smaller MMA promotions, such as Cage Warriors and various other European leagues. New players get a £10 free bet – deposit £10 and wager £10 to activate it.
Betfred is a licensed UK and Gibraltar betting site. They offer odds on most major MMA events and there are plenty of other betting options. New customers need only to bet £10 and they will get £30 in free bets. The site has great customer service, so you know you can rely on them.
What Makes MMA Betting So Unique?
MMA betting is unique because it is essentially betting on a game with two outcomes. A draw is possible, but a draw automatically leads to a cancelled bet with most bookies. A draw is also very rare to begin with. This makes it easier to bet on a single outcome, compared to football betting, which usually has three possible outcomes (which makes betting a lot more complicated). However, what makes the sport even more attractive is its volatility and unpredictable nature.
Boxing vs MMA
A frequently used quote in boxing is ‘anything can happen in boxing’. This is not really accurate. In a boxing match, a boxer can punch another boxer, leading to a knockout. He can also outpoint the other fighter. Other than a few cuts, slips, the occasional ear bite, and of course rampant bad judging, that is about it.
Boxing seems rigged to ensure the best do not fight the best, or at least never in their prime (just look at Floyd Mayweather’s career). You will see superstar boxers fight an endless stream of jobbers and journeymen on their way to one of four major titles. Once the boxer has a title, his promoter will try to protect him from other fighters that could pose a real threat to his belt.
MMA has a completely different style of matchmaking. While boxers are all under contract with different promoters, adhering to rules set out by the four major boxing organisations, MMA fighters all fight for the same promoter. The promoter has the champion, no matter who he is. This makes the fights more even, since the best are more likely to fight the best.
Anything Can Happen in MMA
MMA really is the sport where anything can happen. Any kick, elbow, knee, or mistake in grappling can lead to a knockout or submission. In a sport with four-ounce gloves, even a jab can lead to a KO – add to that all of the potential injuries caused by wrestling, stomping the opponent’s knees, kicking their shins and so on. With all this in mind, it's easy to see why MMA is a sport where freak occurrences are simply the order of the day.
MMA is a Sport with More Variance
These freak occurrences mean that MMA is full of variance. In MMA, underdogs (even huge underdogs) win more frequently than any other sport, which should, in theory, mean it is easier to find value bets. In a team sport, a single player’s performance on a bad day does not automatically lead to a team loss. A player’s relatively weak performance can easily be balanced by a strong performance by his teammates. In MMA, an individual fighter having a bad day could lead to a concussive knockout, even for a highly touted favourite or champion.
The UFC is the original MMA promotion and still the largest in the world. What started as a style versus style freak show, meant to demonstrate the effectiveness of Royce Gracie’s jiu-jitsu versus opponents who had never heard of grappling, has eventually become the fastest growing sport in the world. With near weekly events and fights tiered between early prelims, prelims, main card and main event, the UFC offers plenty of fights to bet on. This is a punter's dream, and offers plenty of chances to look for value.
You will find up-and-coming prospects, over-the-hill MMA legends, journeymen, action fighters and anything in between. Most styles have distinct representatives such boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and even karate that perform well in the octagon. Any UFC event offers 8 to 10 fights, and of course, you can bet on all them at any major bookie. The UFC is home to the biggest names in MMA, from Jon Jones to Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic, Max Holloway, and plenty more.
The UFC site offers plenty of stats on each fighter which you could use for your betting strategy. Most bookies offer live bets on UFC fights, unlike some smaller promotions.
Other MMA Promotions to Bet On
While the UFC is clearly the market leader, there is of course no reason you should not bet on smaller promotions. Smaller promotions do not get as much attention from bookies or punters, meaning the bookie’s odds are probably not as accurate.
Bellator is the second largest MMA promotion and has several elite fighters, such as Ryan Bader, Cris Cyborg, Douglas Lima, and Patricio Pitbull. Bellator is trying to compete with the UFC for viewership, but still has a long way to go. Most bookies only offer odds on the main card fights, since the prelim fighters are usually unknown local fighters. There are usually fewer options for live betting as well.
Cage Warriors is the number one MMA promotion in the UK. It is a breeding pool for UK talent, and plenty of current UFC or Bellator fighters started out here. That includes current and former UFC and Bellator fighters and champions such as Conor McGregor, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Brett Johns, Martin Kampmann, Paul Kelly, Michael Bisping, Paul Daley, and Jack Hermansson. It has become a feeder league, where champions often ‘graduate’ to bigger promotions. Most larger bookies offer odds on Cage Warriors, though often not on all fights.
MMA and UFC Betting Tips and Strategy
Betting on MMA, just like any other sport, is centred on finding value. There is no tipster who can prove 100% accurate knowledge in predicting a fight. What you or anyone can do is look for fighters who are undervalued by oddsmakers and consistently bet on them. This should lead to you winning more money than you lose.
Our Top 8 MMA Betting Tips
MMA offers various types of bets, and there are many strategies for finding value. Here are our eight evergreen MMA betting tips that are always valid.
1. Look for live dogs
A live dog is nothing more than an undervalued underdog. MMA is full of undervalued fighters since it is hard for bookies to create a reliable model for predicting fight outcomes. In general, underdogs have more value than favourites, which is why MMA is the best sport for underdog betting.
2. Beware of MMA stats
Several sites offer stats for their fighters. On the UFC website, you will find stats such as significant strikes landed, takedown accuracy, striking accuracy, etc.
While all of these stats are significant and are based on hard data, a lot of them are set up in a bogus way. Significant strikes for some reason does not include jabs, which are often some of the most significant strikes in any fight. It does include ground strikes, however, some of which can be completely insignificant. These metrics do not show the difference between a striker and a ground fighter, since they do not differentiate between two very different types of strikes. Because of this, a fighter may have ridiculous striking accuracy and volume, but still be a poor striker on the feet. Ideally, there would be a separation between distance strikes, clinch strikes and ground strikes.
3. Check MMA odds regularly
MMA odds seem to change all the time, as if being moved by an invisible wind. This is because money often comes in on one side or the other. While sometimes this money could be from educated punters, who know what they are betting on, it could also be casual money that is moving the betting lines. The first is making the odds more accurate, the second probably isn’t, since casuals are simply betting on the most famous fighter. If you see odds shift, you should definitely ask yourself whose money is making them move.
4. Look for overhyped fighters
As we just explained, casuals love to bet on their favourite fighter, and the money that comes in moves the odds. This can turn can make odds completely unrealistic. Remember when Conor McGregor, an 0-0 boxer took on 49-0 Floyd “Money” Mayweather? All the casual money coming in somehow turned McGregor into an actual favourite – even though he had never boxed professionally in his whole life! While this is a boxing example, the same obviously applies to MMA. Overhyped fighters are usually in main events or at least high up on the main card. Remember, the bigger the name, the more casual bettors it will attract.
5. Study prelim fighters
The prelims are where up-and-coming young fighters try to make a name for themselves. Since these fighters are looking for name recognition, they often fight more wildly, as they are looking to put on a sensational performance, rather than just winning. This means plenty of volatility. In addition, the bookies have very little data to rely on when it comes to debuting fighters in the UFC.
6. Bet on small events
Betting on smaller events is interesting for the same reason as betting on prelim fighters. The fewer stats bookies have to go by, the less accurate their odds will be.
7. Look for alternative bets
- Over/unders can be much easier to predict than actual fight outcomes. In MMA, you can bet how long a fight will last.
- Method betting also has high value potential. If you can predict how a fighter will end the fight (KO, Submission of Decision), and even in which round it will happen, you'll get paid out many times.
- Don’t be afraid to parlay bets. Choose a selection of fights you want to predict, for example five or six fights, then choose doubles, trebles or four folds. In many cases (depending on the odds), you can be wrong about 2 or 3 of the fights and still make a profit.
8. In-play bets are a great way to find value
In-play betting is one of the best ways to find value. When you are betting live, you can place bets as the fight continues. As you see one fighter becoming increasingly dominant, you can cancel your bet or even bet against yourself. You can even see this as a type of arbitrage betting, since odds can seriously change over the course of three or five rounds.
Where Can I Find Real and Free MMA and UFC Betting Tips?
There are plenty of MMA tipsters who sell their “knowledge”, but there is no real way to know if you are getting what you pay for since they do not always show their past record of bets. There are plenty of free, legitimate sites offering free MMA betting tips. Here are some of the best.
MMAJunkie has regular articles that predict outcomes of various MMA events. On their homepage, there is a running competition to see who can predict the outcome of the top MMA fights. Some competitors have a 70% accuracy in predicting fights over the course of a year.
Tapology lets you create a free account where you can create your own MMA rankings; you can create your own fight predictions and compare them to those of others. You can also see whose predictions are most accurate and use them for your betting strategy.
UFC Betting Reddit
Reddit has a fun betting forum where you can ask strangers any question you want on MMA betting. It is full of tips and has plenty of interesting input.
Sherdog is one of the oldest MMA sites and has a record of virtually every MMA fight and fighter since the late 90s, this is a much more complete record than what you will find on sites like UFC.com, since they list all fights and not only UFC fights. They also have a fun forum where you can ask any question to your betting peers, and even offer alternate rankings, which are more accurate than the official UFC rankings.
Where to Find the Best UFC Betting Odds
With the popularity of MMA, most betting sites have begun offering UFC betting odds. In general, these odds are similar, with only minor variations between them. We recommend Betfair Exchange for value betting, but Coral and Unibet also offer some very competitive odds.
Best MMA Fighters in 2020
Choosing a list of the best MMA fighters is very difficult since there are so many weight classes, each filled to the brim with talent. We have listed a few of the most popular and successful MMA fighters of the current era, meaning no disrespect to the talented fighters of past eras. Here are our favourite fighters in 2020.
Connor McGregor took the MMA world by storm with his brash personality, trash talk and string of knockouts. After knocking out both Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez for the featherweight and lightweight championships, he went on to fight the biggest boxing match in history against Floyd Mayweather. Though he was thoroughly dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov, he managed to bounce back against Donald Cerrone. It will be interesting to see who the UFC puts him up against next. Will he find his way to championship form, will he become another action fighter with a checkered record, or will he retire?
Khabib is the master of ground and pound in the lightweight division. He has an unbeaten record of 28-0 and has dominated all of his opponents so far. Fans were looking forward to a clash between him and Tony Ferguson this year, but that fight may never see fruition since El Cucuy got TKO’ed by Justin Gaethje for the interim strap. Fans will likely see The Eagle versus The Highlight later this fall.
Jon Jones is an enigma, both to fans and his opponents. While his skinny legs and seeming lack of boxing ability make him seem a bit of an odd fighter, he uses his natural gift of reach and height to its full potential. He has the longest reach in the UFC period and he makes sure to keep his opponents at the end of his kicks, often stomping their knees, leading to permanent damage. When the opponent manages to close the distance, they are met with a second line of defence – Jones' elbows from hell. Thanks to his long arms, he can elbow his opponents from boxing distance. If any of these tactics don’t work, Jones can rely on his Greco-Roman wrestling background. He is an excellent wrestler who managed to take down Olympic medallist in wrestling Daniel Cormier several times in their first fight. Any fighter who wishes to touch him must get past these three lines of offence, and none has done so successfully. Still, Jones has looked very beatable in his past two fights, winning both by split decision. It will be interesting to see who his next opponent is and if Jones star is finally waning.
Francis ‘The Predator' Ngannou has come off as a veritable monster in his past fights. A streak of five knockouts in the first and second rounds led to his first title shot, where champ and wrestler Stipe Miocic was able to hold him down for five rounds. Now he is on another knockout streak, with four first-round knockouts, three of them in less than a minute. It will be interesting to see how the soft-spoken French-Nigerian deals with the wrestling of either Miocic or Danier Cormier, who are slated to fight later this year.
Israel Adesanya is an up-and-coming superstar and has probably has one of the shortest routes to any UFC championship. On 13 April 2019, just six fights and fourteen months after his first UFC fight, he beat Kelvin Gastelum for the vacant middleweight title. As a former kickboxing champion, with 75 kickboxing wins, his pure striking ability is on another level compared to most of his opponents. While his takedown defence is ever improving, we have never seen him against a determined and high level wrestler or grappler who can set up takedowns with strikes, which could very well be his kryptonite.
Famous Main Events Where Huge Underdogs Won
Underdogs often win in MMA, precisely because of the variance we explained above. If you look at the history of MMA, you will find scores of examples of huge underdogs winning. Here are some famous examples in main events.
Silva – Weidman I and II
Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman stands out as a historical example. Silva was the undefeatable GOAT on a 16-fight win streak. He had head-kick knockouts, survived Chael Sonnen, and even moved up to light heavyweight since he had run out of opponents. Weidman was a simple wrestler with less than half the resume his opponent had, and was a 3/1 underdog at most bookies. The rest is history. In the first Weidman fight, he clowned a bit too much, while Chris caught him with a hook. In the rematch, Silva broke his leg when Weidman checked a kick.
Holm – Rousey – Tate
After making short work of all her opponents including Misha Tate, most by first-round armbar, Rousey was set to face Holly Holm in the main even of UFC 193. Holly was an 8/1 underdog, which were nsane odds for an MMA fight, where, as we just explained, anything can happen. Rousey had just KO'ed her first opponent in Bethe Correia, leading oddsmakers to believe she was some sort of striking genius.
All Rousey had to do was get the clinch of boxer Holm, use her judo, and get a fast tap. Oddsmakers seem to forget that Rousey had no way to close the distance on the longer Holm, since she was lacking even the most basic footwork, and (in what has now become a meme) head movement. While Rousey has an excellent judo clinch, which she uses to take her opponents down, we have never seen her use a double or single leg takedown – not even once. The holes in her game were obvious for Holm coaches Jackson and Winklejohn to exploit.
After the most brutal head-kick to ground and pound KO in women’s MMA history, Holm was crowned bantamweight champion. Her reign was very short-lived, and her next fight was against wrestler Tate. Tate, always known for her toughness, was able to survive being outpointed for several rounds, and finally got a single leg takedown on Holm. Precisely the skill (a very basic MMA skill) that Rousey lacked. As a former world champion boxer, with relatively limited grappling skills, Tate easily got her back and choked her unconscious. Another win for a huge 4/1 underdog.
McGregor – Diaz I
Why Diaz was a 5/1 underdog in the first fight, we will never understand. Sure McGregor has power, but most of his KOs were a result of smaller 145-ers, many of whom have fought at bantamweight before. Throw him in against what clearly is his kryptonite: a lightweight with insane cardio, pace, boxing skill and chin. The fighter who always wins in the early rounds against a fighter who has never been knocked out and only gets better as the fight wears on. And, as if that was not enough, put the fight at welterweight, a weight class McGregor never fought in. Historically, the Diaz brothers have almost exclusively been beaten by wrestlers, and McGregor is a much worse wrestler than Diaz. The result saw McGregor tapping in the second round.
McGregor – Diaz II
McGregor is an extremely talented athlete, and it was amazing to see him change his style and pace himself enough to grind out a decision in the second fight. However, we cannot dismiss that Diaz clearly had a leg injury going into the fight, which was probably why he ended up losing. If they fight a third time, our money will probably be on Diaz.
🎲 Where can I bet on UFC?
💲How do you bet on UFC?
To bet on UFC, simply create an account at one of the betting sites we recommend, make a deposit, choose a fighter and wait for the bet to settle.
🥊 Can you parlay UFC fights?
Of course - you can parlay any sporting event, including MMA fights. Parlay bets let you win potentially greater sums, but the risk is of course much bigger. You can negate some of that risk by choosing doubles, trebles or four folds.
💶 How do MMA odds work?
MMA odds work using estimated probabilities. A bookie uses their estimation of who will likely win to create odds. Every set of odds has an implied probability. For example, an MMA bet that has odds of 3/1 (4.0), has an implied probability of 25%. That means the bookies think this fighter has one chance out of four to win.
🏆 Can you bet on Cage Warriors?
Yes, of course. Several betting sites offer bets on Cage Warriors. Usually, you can only bet on the top fights of the card, but not the prelim fights. Betting on fights from smaller promotions often carries high value, since the performance of prospects is often highly unpredictable.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Part of the excitement is due to the sport’s sheer unpredictability – matches are close and anything can happen. You can often find value in MMA underdogs since they tend to win more frequently than in other sports, and in live betting, since you can bet against yourself as a fight develops. And, although betting on UFC is popular, you should not neglect smaller leagues like Bellator or Cage Warriors.
In short, MMA betting is just as exciting and unpredictable as the sport itself.