The MMA (abbreviated from mixed martial arts) is among the most popular full-contact fighting sports in the world, with the events from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) registering impressive viewership rates throughout the past decade.
In 2017 alone, there were as many as 39 UFC events that caused millions of spectators to flock to their TV screens or crowd arenas worldwide in support of their favorite fighters. While there are other organizations that promote this exhilarating sport, like the Santa Monica-based Bellator for example, nothing can quite beat UFC’s popularity.
And how can it be otherwise when this is the promoter that features the most prominent names on the MMA roster? We are talking about high-level fighters the likes of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre, and Jon Jones.
This fast-paced sport has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, offering bettors tons of opportunities to earn some serious cash. Odds for MMA events are available across hundreds of sportsbooks but this makes it all the more difficult for fans to separate the wheat from the chaff.
If you enjoy watching MMA fights and are looking to take your bets online, you have arrived at the right place. Sportingpedia’s team has put together this guide to help you find the right MMA betting site and assist you in becoming a more successful bettor. We walk you through the key features of MMA sportsbooks, the different odds formats you will encounter there, and the bet types common for this sport.
Features of MMA Betting Sites
The internet is so overcrowded with online sportsbooks that MMA fans who are new to sports betting frequently make the mistake of going for the websites that offer them the biggest sign-up bonuses. While bonus redemption is important in itself, there are several other essential features an MMA sportsbook must possess in order to deliver a worthwhile experience to fans of this sport.
To start with, high-quality MMA betting sites tend to run on stable software. They offer a well-designed interface that is easy to use and navigate. All the information you need to make an intelligent bet is right there at your fingertips.
You get to see the results of events that took place during the last days, week, or month. The upcoming events are also listed along with the starting time and the bet types offered for each fight. Stats are available for those interested in comparing the form and performance of different MMA fighters.
A decent betting site boasts a solid line-up of MMA markets for all Bellator and UFC fights, including match betting lines, method of victory, round betting, double chance, and point deduction. The best MMA sportsbooks out there would allow you to wager on the main event match as well as on the undercards and smaller events such as the UFC Fight Night.
Early lines and in-play betting are also very handy features since these may increase the value of your bets. Often there are live streaming services you can take advantage of. The bookmakers would move the lines for the in-play markets frequently, giving punters have the chance to accept or decline the updated odds.
The online bet slip works the same way as those in landbased bookmaking shops, only it is more convenient since there is no need to leave the comfort of your home. You can add one or more single bets and the software would have your winnings calculated depending on the odds and the sum you have staked.
Building parlays with multiple selections is also an option. The bet slip enables you to track all your betting activity since it contains information on your open bets, parlays, and settled bets. Pretty much everything you need to stay in control of your MMA wagers is right there, in one place.
Some MMA betting sites even support the so-called “group bet” feature where you can create a group and invite other fans of the sport to join you. The people you have invited to the group can help you build your parlay by adding new selections. You select the market and specify the number of selections each group member can add.
MMA fans who take their betting activities on the web will also benefit from the cash-out feature. This is a very important functionality offered by premium betting sites since it enables you to secure a profit or cut down on your losses before a fight is resolved.
This is usually the best course of action if you feel like the tables have turned during a live fight and the chances of you winning have significantly dropped. You can normally find the button for the early cash-out in your bet slip – it is displayed right next to the qualifying unsettled wagers. There is the option to accept an early payout at adjusted odds or cash out only some of your pending wager and leave the rest run.
MMA mavens who like to bet online are catered to with different odds formats – fractional, decimal, and moneyline. You can switch the default format from the drop-down menu that is normally positioned either next to the bet slip or below the available MMA markets. Below, we explain how each format works.
Odds Types at MMA Betting Sites
MMA fans normally have a choice from three odds formats, but each form of odds expression is practically a reflection of the same thing – the probability of a given outcome occurring and the stake/win ratio of your bets.
Of course, MMA betting sites also need to profit which is why the odds they post never reflect the true probability of a given fighter winning. The bookmakers adjust the odds in a manner that allows them to pocket a commission (also called vigorish or juice) from each bet they accept.
But there are additional factors that may affect the odds for MMA events. If a betting site takes way too much action on one of the two fighters involved in a match, they will change the odds for the other side to handle the increase in betting volume. Now that we are done with the preliminary explanations, let’s tackle how the three most common odds formats work.
Moneyline MMA Odds
American, or moneyline odds are the default format in US-friendly sportsbooks. Along with the decimal odds, the moneyline is the simplest form of odds expression to work with. The moneyline odds indicate the return you can generate with a $100 base betting unit. Here is an example of what an MMA line looks like:
- Hernandez, Alexander -215
- Cerrone, Donald +160
The odds for the favorite, or Hernandez in this example, have a negative sign attached to them and reflect the amount you need to lay ($215) in order to earn $100. The positive sign in front of Cerrone’s odds shows you he is the underdog and can earn you $160 per every base unit of $100 you stake on him.
This is not to say you are obliged to place bets in increments of $100, though. What if you go for a bet of $127 for example? There are two different formulae for profit calculation depending on whether you bet on the favorite or the underdog. When backing the underdog, you must use the following formula: positive odds * (amount staked/100).
Therefore, if Cerrone wins, your profits with a $127 bet will amount to 160 * ($127/100) = $203.20. Provided that you decide to back Hernandez where the odds are negative, you must use the formula below to figure out your expected return: (100/negative odds) * amount staked.
It follows that you can pocket (100/215) * $127 = $59.07.
Fractional MMA Odds
MMA may be hugely popular across the United States but there are also fans of the sport throughout Europe where sports bettors have their odds quoted either as fractions or as decimals. The fractional format can best be described as a reflection of the ratio between your winnings and your stake.
Fractional odds are mostly used across the United Kingdom and Ireland, which is why they are often called British or UK odds. They are quoted like this:
- Cejudo, Henry 8/5
- Dillashaw, TJ 4/9
The number to the right is the fraction’s denominator, indicating the number of base units you must stake. The number to the left, or the numerator, reflects the amount the stake yields if your wager is successful. It is worth mentioning the original wager is not included here. Therefore, if you use a base unit of $1 and bet on Henry Cejudo at odds of 8/5, you need to stake a total of $5 to earn $8. The potential winnings from fractional odds can be calculated by using the formula below: [(amount staked/denominator) * numerator] + amount staked.
Here is an illustrative example with a $25 bet on Cejudo to make things clearer: [($25/5) * 8] + $25 = $65.
Decimal MMA Odds
Decimals are the most common format of odds expression used throughout the world. These are even simpler than the moneyline, which explains why they dominate online sportsbooks. Below is an example of an outright winner bet with odds expressed in the decimal format:
- Muhammad, Belal 2.50
- Neal, Geoff 1.57
Odds of 2.00 are said to offer you an even-money payout, which means your winnings are equal to the amount you have originally staked. Odds under 2.00 return less than your original stake. The rule of thumb here is the higher the decimal number is, the bigger the payout you collect but the smaller the likelihood of your bet turning out a winner.
The biggest advantage of using decimal odds is that this format makes it unbelievably easy to calculate your overall returns from a winning bet. We emphasize the word “overall” because your original wager is automatically included in your profits, which are calculated by multiplying the decimal number by the stake.
So in the above example with Neal and Muhammad, Neal is the favorite since he is assigned the smaller odds. If he indeed turns out a winner, a $10 stake backing him will yield total profits of $15.7 ($5.70 in net profits in addition to your initial $10). Muhammad as the underdog is assigned bigger odds of 2.50. He is less likely to win but a bet backing him offers you larger total profits of $25.
When selecting a good MMA betting site, it is critical for you to check whether it is mobile compatible. Each and every day, more and more bettors are choosing to punt on their smartphones as this comes with a variety of benefits.
For one, you will never miss out on the opportunity to cash in on an MMA market with a good price, especially if you are into betting on the in-play markets where the odds are adjusted throughout the entire course of the fights.
Mobile punters generally have a choice from two options. They can load their favorite MMA sportsbook in their mobile browsers or install a downloadable iOS or Android application, if available. The mobile apps of the best MMA betting sites offer roughly the same functionalities as those available via the desktop version.
You will benefit from a simple-to-use betting menu and a search bar that enables you to find all MMA markets, teams, and prices with a few quick taps. There is also the option to punt on dozens of in-play MMA markets as you go. Funding your account on the move is made possible via the sites’ mobile cashiers while the cash-out feature gives you more control over your live betting activities.
Common MMA Bet Types
The great thing about this exhilarating combat sport is that it offers a suitable betting option for everyone looking to punt on it. You want to back your favorite fighter? No problem, go ahead. Or maybe you are confident enough in your knowledge of the sport to try and predict the method of victory for a given fight? You can do that with zero hassles.
In this section, we provide some valuable insights into the most popular bet types at MMA betting sites. This will give MMA betting rookies a good idea of some of the most widespread options they can punt on until they gain sufficient experience. More seasoned bettors can read about different bet types they can experiment with.
The MMA Moneyline Bet
This is the simplest and most common wager you can possibly make on MMA. Also known as the outright winner bet, this wager requires nothing more than picking the fighter you think will prevail in a given clash. There are only two options for you to pick from per match.
The exact method of victory (for example by submission, knockout or decision) is irrelevant in this case. This renders moneyline bets the perfect option for MMA betting novices. Here is an example of a moneyline bet for an upcoming fight between Ortiz and Benavidez, where the latter is considered the favorite and the former is the underdog:
- Ortiz, Dustin 3.05
- Benavidez, Joseph 1.35
The best aspect of betting on the MMA moneyline is that unlike soccer, draw and no-contest bets get refunded so you will not lose a cent of your stake. Moneyline bets are available on all main-card and under-card events from the UFC, the Bellator, and other organizations promoting the MMA.
The MMA Over/Under Bet
Also referred to as total rounds, this market is another great option for less seasoned bettors. You are not required to pick an outright winner – who wins the fight is perfectly irrelevant here. Your purpose is to try and predict whether the clash will last longer or shorter than the time posted by the betting site. Here is an example of an over/under MMA bet:
- Over 2.5 (1.82)
- Under 2.5 (2.50)
You bet the over side if you are confident the fight will end after three or more rounds. However, if you think there is a higher likelihood of the clash ending in fewer than two rounds, you must bet the under. Make the correct prediction and you win the bet.
Method of Victory
This is a slightly more advanced but still very popular type of MMA bet. Your purpose here is to predict how a given fight will finish. This bet type requires more knowledge of the sport but gives you the chance to make your betting experience more exciting.
Punters have a choice from several methods of victory – knockout (KO) or technical knockout (TKO) also known as stoppage, submission, and decision. There is no need for you to pick an outright winner here. A typical method-of-victory bet looks like this:
- Teixeira, Glover – Decision (5.50)
- Teixeira, Glover – KO/TKO (3.50)
- Teixeira, Glover – Submission (4.85)
- Cutelaba, Ion – Decision (5.00)
- Cutelaba, Ion – KO/TKO (1.85)
- Cutelaba, Ion – Submission (15.75)
The higher the likelihood for a specific result to occur, the lower the odds the bookmaker offers for this outcome and vice versa. The odds for a given fighter on the outright winner market rarely coincide with those offered for the same fighter winning by KO and TKO. Often they are poorer than those offered for a KO win, for example. You can really capitalize on method-of-victory bets, provided that you have sufficient knowledge about the fighters and their capabilities.
Round MMA Bets
This one is more difficult to win with because you must guess which round a given match will end in. You can further boost your odds by predicting the exact time of finish or the winning fighter. Placing such bets is recommended only when you are absolutely confident in the outcome you are backing. These are difficult to get right but carry a massive winning potential.
If you feel like we have listed MMA bet types in ascending order on the basis of their difficulty level, you are absolutely right – we have. Parlays are among the most advanced forms of MMA betting as they involve high levels of risk. On the positive side, punters are generously compensated for their efforts because winning parlays offer significant rewards.
A parlay (which Europeans refer to as an accumulator) is simply a combination of several bets into a larger bet. Each selection is backed by a separate bet at different odds. The tricky part is you need all of your selections to be winners if you want to collect a payout from your parlay. If only one of your selections turns out to be a loser, your entire parlay loses.
This gives you the chance to pick the winners of several fights you are interested in. The more selections your parlay consists of, the bigger your potential profits. That being said, your chances of winning decrease with each selection you add to the parlay. Making a correct prediction about the outcomes of five, six or more fights is a rare feat hence the high payouts. All in all, this type of MMA betting is far too risky and should be utilized only by the most seasoned punters.
All good MMA sportsbooks give fans of the sport the opportunity to make bets on fights as they happen via an in-play feature. Instead of being forced to place your wagers pre-match before an MMA bout has commenced, you can post your bet after the fight starts.
In-play bets on the MMA markets are typically accepted until the bouts are resolved, which significantly increases your odds of making a well-informed wager. Another peculiarity of the in-play markets is that their odds are never stagnant. The bookies update them throughout the course of the fights depending on how they play out. You can accept the changes in the odds when you are offered better prices.
Of course, each betting site offers you different options for its in-play MMA markets but some of the most common in-play bets are the method of victory and round betting.
Payment Solutions at MMA Betting Sites
It is of critical importance for MMA fans to pick a betting site that enables them to quickly transfer funds to and from their sports betting balance. Having to wait for days until your deposit finally goes through is a major red flag and so is not getting your winnings in a timely enough manner.
One way to facilitate hassle-free payments is by offering a wider selection of banking methods for deposits and withdrawals. Decent MMA sportsbooks support all established brands of credit and debit cards like Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Diners Club, and American Express. E-wallet services such as Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz, PayPal, WebMoney, and Yandex are also commonly accepted.
Methods like Zimpler and Boku enable you to top up on your mobile device and have the deposited sum added to your monthly phone bill. Others like InstaDebit and Trustly operate as intermediaries between you and your bank, allowing you to fund your MMA betting account anonymously.
Prepaid solutions like Paysafecard are also widely accepted but are more suitable for casual bettors on a budget due to their lower deposit limits. The bottom line is all these methods have established themselves as reliable and highly efficient giving you the peace of mind your betting funds are safe from harm.
Security at MMA Betting Sites
Few things are more gut-wrenching than losing a bet but having troubles with getting paid definitely makes the cut. MMA bettors should never have to worry whether they can trust the online sportsbook they have registered with.
Before signing up and depositing at an MMA betting site, you should always check its track record and reputation to ensure the operator is consistent with paying its customers’ winnings on time. Also, a trusted sportsbook would always use reliable encryptions to prevent its customers’ information from being compromised.
At Sportingpedia, we have selected only MMA betting sites that comply with the requirements of their regulators. These betting operators boast a solid reputation for protecting punters’ privacy and data. They are all licensed by well-respected authorities in the online betting industry like the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. Any past issues punters have had have been addressed and resolved in an adequate and timely manner by the reviewed sportsbooks.
Hallmarks of a Good MMA Betting Site
So what are the key traits of a decent MMA betting site? To sum up what we have so far said, the most important factor you should consider when on the hunt for premium sportsbooks is licensing and consistently quick payments of your MMA winnings. Whether you decide to take Sportingpedia’s recommendations or not, you should always ensure you are making your MMA punts on a website you can fully trust.
All quality sportsbooks stand out with extensive coverage of both main and undercard MMA events, enabling you to choose from a huge variety of markets and wager types, from outright winner bets to props and futures.
You should be able to experiment with any MMA prediction you can possibly have. Yet, market and betting diversity should not come at the cost of poor odds. Quality betting sites do not hesitate to boost your value with great prices on the MMA markets.
The transaction limits also need to be taken into consideration. They should be flexible enough to accommodate both recreational bettors and serious punters who make a living by wagering on the MMA. The size of the bets one is allowed to make does matter, too. The last thing a seasoned bettor wants is to sign up with a sportsbook operator that is unable to handle their level of action.
The software and the user interface are of equal importance. Both casual and professional punters would appreciate a betting site with a user-friendly, well-designed, and uncluttered interface. All covered MMA events and fights should be quick and easy to find. You should be able to locate and track all your MMA bets with ease, too.
There is a tendency among some MMA fans to base their choice of sportsbook solely on the promotional deals on offer. Yet, promotions and bonuses rank last in terms of importance and here is why.
Many betting sites that fail to cover the above-listed criteria try to lure customers by offering them juicy bonuses. Of course, this does not mean sportsbooks with generous bonuses are necessarily bad and unreliable. But what good is a massive sign-up bonus if you are experiencing issues with withdrawing your winnings, depositing, or a poorly-designed interface?
Before you register at an MMA sportsbook and opt in for its lucrative welcome bonus, make sure the operator covers more important criteria like quick payouts, licensing, a good track record, betting variety, and decent odds.