Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a fast-paced sport that attracts the attention of millions of fans around the world. In its present-day form, MMA not only enjoys great interest by on-site spectators and TV & online viewers but also increasingly often falls into the portfolio of top online sportsbooks and is no longer considered a niche discipline to bet on.
A few words about the sport itself. Under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, MMA fighters compete in a ring or a fenced area, wearing fingerless gloves but no shoes or any kind of headgear. These rules were adopted in 2009 allowing MMA fighters to hit, throw, kick or grab their opponents. There is no restriction on launching attacks, this can be done both from an upright position and from the ground.
However, unlike in the dawn of this sport, hitting the head, sticking a finger in the opponent’s eye, biting, pulling hair, and attacks in the groin are absolutely forbidden. Also, referees can warn, deduct points, or disqualify a fighter if he uses downward elbow strikes, throat strikes, kicks the head of his grounded competitor, or grossly violates any other rule. All these newly introduced restrictions were aimed at clearing the reputation of MMA as it was considered by many a brutal no-holds-barred sport. In 1996 the US Sen. John McCain even compared it with cockfighting and pleaded for its complete ban. Nowadays, non-championship MMA fights consist of three five-minute rounds while championship bouts comprise five rounds.
We can safely say that in the past decade Mixed martial arts have been the rising star of the online sports betting industry. If you, like us, are fascinated by this dynamic sport and would like to learn more about it as a discipline to put your bets on, keep on reading this MMA betting guide as it will provide you with everything worth knowing.
Basics of Online MMA Betting
If you do not have the necessary experience, but you want to become a successful MMA bettor, you should not be discouraged. The beginning is not as burdensome as it may seem. Of course, we don’t want to say that betting on MMA matches is an easy task or that you will be able to enjoy significantly positive results from the very beginning. First of all, you need to make sure that your knowledge of the sport is comprehensive enough to understand what is happening in front of your eyes and thus make the right predictions.
Mandatory aspects of your arsenal of knowledge about MMA are types of bets, odds formats, promotional organizations, etc. If you feel that your knowledge of the discipline is not extensive enough, it will be useful for you to spare some time reading about the sport. This is where the role of sportingpedia comes in, so let’s get started.
Odds Formats in MMA Betting
A complete understanding of MMA odds will help you make informed decisions and correctly calculate your potential winnings. As the UFC is the leading MMA promotion company, it is no wonder the most common odds format presented on online betting platforms is the American one. Also known as US odds or moneyline odds, they are centered around wagering or winning $100 on a given bet. Odds come with a minus or a plus in front indicating if the particular fighter is considered a favorite or underdog.
|Outright Winner Betting|
|1 Pedro Villa||170|
|2 Casey Norton||-210|
|1 Emiliano Calderon||500|
|2 Eddy George||-800|
|1 Jason Huntley||375|
|2 Harris Bonfiglio||-500|
The above table represents the betting odds of three upcoming UFC matches. For the purposes of the description, we will look at the first battle. The online bookmaker has assigned Pedro Villa odds of + 170 which means he is the estimated underdog. If, however, you decide to back him with a $100 wager and he wins, you will add $170 to your bankroll. The favorite, Casey Norton, comes with odds of – 210. The negative value shows how much you need to wager in order to win $100. In general, the higher the positive number, the less likely it is for the fighter to win. And vice versa, the lower the negative number, the more likely the fighter is to win.
Globally, the most popular odds format is probably the decimal and this is particularly evident among European betting enthusiasts. With decimal odds, you need to multiply your stake by the relevant odds and then subtract the original stake. If you wager $12 on a MMA fighter who has odds of 4.1, the calculation will look like this: 12 x 4.1 – 12 = 49.2 – 12 = 37.2. It is as simple as that. Your net profit in case of a successful bet is $37.2.
The last format we will focus on is fractional odds (e.g. 9/2). Fractionals enable punters to directly calculate how much they will win in comparison to their stake. Unlike the decimal odds format, here you do not have to subtract the original stake. The number on the left, in our case 9, indicates how much you will win. The number on the right tells you how much you need to wager. If you want to know your total payout, you need to make the following calculation: 2 x 9/2 + 2 = 2 x 4.5 + 2 = 11.
Most Common Betting Markets
One of the advantages of MMA betting is that punters usually have many betting market options available for each battle. As with boxing, the availability of bet types is not the same for every match but rather depends on its status. The more famous and well-ranked fighters participate, the more spectators and punters are expected to be, and this encourages online sportsbooks to offer them more and more options.
Needless to say, the traditional moneyline bet is the most common option as it is known even by complete novices and is available for every single MMA battle. There is no need for much explanation here, you just bet on the fighter you think will win the match. Based on different parameters, bookmakers make the appropriate prediction for each fighter and then set a moneyline for the bet. A draw outcome very rarely occurs so not every online bookmaker quotes three-way moneylines. Therefore, if you think that a match is very likely to end in a draw, check in advance whether your chosen betting platform will allow you to wager on this option.
Even if you know over/under betting in connection with another sport you have bet on before, do not jump to conclusions, because in mixed martial arts they work a little differently. For example, in basketball, this betting market relates to the number of points scored in the course of the match. With MMA, your wager is on how long you think a battle will last, more specifically, whether the completed rounds will be over or under a number determined by the bookie. This type of MMA bet is suitable for rookies in the field as it does not involve any complex factors to be taken into account.
Nowadays, there are more opportunities to bet on mixed martial arts than ever before. And there are many fight devotees who are looking for more interesting and challenging betting markets that can bring higher potential winnings. This is exactly what proposition bets are, as they focus on peculiar elements of MMA matches like the method of victory, the number of points awarded, various round bets, etc. As all these events are harder to predict, they come with more favorable odds than the standard moneyline betting, for instance. There is a lot to be said for prop bets, but since we have dedicated a separate article to them in this guide, we will stop here for now.
MMA promoters and organizations are an integral part of the world of mixed martial arts and their main function is to preserve and promote the sport. The promotions act as sponsors of the fighters and have a significant contribution to their success, helping them develop their talent and turning potential stars into sports legends. In addition, promotions organize various events, the frequency and scale of which depend on the size and net worth of the company.
The growing popularity, and hence the profitability of MMA, has contributed to the establishment of dozens of promotions based in different parts of the world. We decided to pay due attention to them by introducing you to the five most reputable ММА organizations.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
There is no way not to start our selection with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Its supremacy is so ruthless that it has become a byword for mixed martial arts and some people do not even see a difference between UFC and MMA, and use the words interchangeably. The organization has almost 30 years of experience with its first official event being held back in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, USA. Nowadays, the UFC organizes fighting shows in eight men’s and four women’s weight divisions at locations all over the globe. Undoubtedly, the UFC has the largest exposure and spreading of all MMA promotions and therefore has much higher revenue than its competitors. This, in turn, allows the organization to pay higher remunerations to its fighters, which is the reason why almost everyone is trying to sign a contract with the UFS.
Another US-based MMA promotion comes next in our compilation of the most prominent mixed martial arts organizations, namely Bellator MMA. This is the home of some of the best fighters in the world who have chosen not to compete under the wing of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (or still have not managed to sign a UFC contract). Viacom became the main shareholder of Bellator in December 2011 and from there on the broadcast of all fights is related to the Paramount Network. Bellator MMA also has contracts with DAZN and ESPN Brazil, thus having access to more than 160 countries.
Absolute Championship Akhmat
Thanks to the next MMA organization we go outside the United States and find ourselves in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia, where the headquarters of Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) is. A landmark date in ACA’s history is December 20th, 2020, when the U.S. Department of Treasury announced severe sanctions in connection with the ownership by Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov. Back then, the provisions prohibited any US-based athletes or officials from taking part in ACA events and accepting invitations to visit the Akhmat MMA fight club. Currently, ACA is a major European entity that organizes martial art, kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu events.
AMC Fight Nights
Russia is the home of one more well-known MMA promotion, AMC Nights Global, until recently referred to as Fight Nights Global. The organization supports a selection of top-ranked fighters and conducts mixed martial arts events worldwide, including Brazil, the US, and the EU. At the time of writing this article, the latest heavyweight champion is Yusup Shuaev who defeated Grigoriy Ponomarev with a spectacular knockout on March 23rd, 2022 in Astrakhan, Russia.
ONE Championship is a strong player in the Asian MMA market having its headquarters in Downtown Core, Singapore. What is specific about this promotion company is its weight classes. After the tragic death of the 21-year-old Chinese fighter, Yang Jian Bing due to dehydration, ONE championship decided to introduce a revolutionary weight control system that ensures athletes are fully hydrated and in good health before their fights. The so-called walking weight will be determined through multifold weigh-ins and tests within a week or more before each match. Also, some urine-specific gravity tests are made hours before the events aiming to guarantee fighters are hydrated enough. The innovation obviously gives good results, because in recent years there have been no significant incidents related to the health condition of ONE Championship fighters.
Common MMA Betting Mistakes
As with other sports popular among online punters, when you bet on mixed martial arts battles, you can read many articles and guides that give various recommendations and tips on what you must do to have a profitable betting experience. However, we believe that it is more important to pay attention to the deceptively tempting things that you should avoid in order not to make some common mistakes that even experienced sports betting devotees sometimes allow to slip in. We really think that if you learn how to avoid the below faults, it is far more probable for you to become a successful online MMA bettor.
Prioritization of Personality over Performance
Given how thrilling mixed martial arts is, if not all, then at least most of nowadays online MMA punters are fans of the sport above all. If you are one of those bettors, there is no way not to be captivated by the personality of certain fighters, be it due to the trash talk before matches, their flirting with the media, or attractive posts on social networks. There is nothing wrong with that, actually, this is what makes you a true fan. However, when it is time to place your bet, you have to put the fan part aside for a while.
This is crucial, make sure your bets are not influenced by any subjective matter like the fighter’s personality. Emotions have had a detrimental effect on the bankrolls of too many MMA betting enthusiasts, and despite the numerous warnings, they are likely to continue eating away at their winnings. If you do not gamble from time to time just for fun, but want to be among the best online punters, you need to be cool-headed and able to make logical and factually justified decisions.
Betting Every Fight
It is not a good approach to try betting on every battle on the card. There are two prerequisites – confidence in how the fight will go and calculating whether the eventual payouts are adequate to the risk you take. If there is only one of these two things or neither, then we do not recommend you to bet on such a match. Even if you have correctly estimated that a fighter will win the upcoming battle, this does not necessarily mean that the bet is justified in terms of profitability. You have to be rewarded more than what is necessary just to get your stake back, otherwise, you can’t save money in the long run. Even if you are a superb predictor and can guess the outcomes of all fights, not every battle will provide you with a noteworthy value.
Not Performing Line Shopping
Probably the most costly and at the same time easiest to fix mistake is not to make sure you are getting the best currently available betting odds. A surprisingly large number of online punters neglect this issue and thus fail to add more or less dollars to the respective payout. As long as you have set up accounts with several trusted online betting platforms, you only need a few additional minutes of research, so do not skip this step. The best thing you can do is to approach each bet individually and place it through a sportsbook that will give you the most profitable payout. It is that simple.
Underestimating Bankroll Management
Some betting enthusiasts are overconfident in their own discipline and capabilities, and underrate the need of keeping a separate “wallet” for their sports betting practice. We know that no matter what arguments we present, many will just listen to us politely but continue betting in the same reckless way. That is why we will simply give you one good example and leave you to decide whether or not to follow our advice. Ask any professional gambler if he has an individual bankroll for his betting experience and the answer will be “yes”. In fact, professionals are very strict with how they handle their funds as they want to be sure they won’t get broke and will always be able to place bets. Those who make a living by betting have decided that bankruptcy is mandatory, why do you not need it too?
Benefits of Online Betting on MMA
Sports where subjectivity is absent or is reduced to a minimum, are most preferred by punters all over the world. Everything depending on contestants’ capabilities, stamina, and courage enables betting devotees to make more accurate predictions without worrying that a third party will tip the scales in one direction or another. Can you think of an example in this direction better than MMA, isn’t it the purest form of sports confrontation? No special equipment, no timeouts, no biased evaluation of elements such as artistry for example. Of course, it is not impossible to come across an incompetent referee or a political figure who tries to take advantage of the popularity of the discipline. However, such cases are too few to spoil our favorable impression of mixed martial arts.
MMA is a growing favorite among millions of fans and an increasing number of online punters have already cottoned on the benefits it comes with. Due to the high level of competitiveness in the field, top betting operators constantly seek to improve the services they provide in an attempt to make ММА betting more attractive to gambling enthusiasts. Apparently, this is a particularly good solution, as virtual bookmakers continue to enjoy great popularity.
One of the first factors you need to consider when trying to decide if betting online is your thing is the undeniable convenience this form of gambling provides. You may not even realize how easy it is to place your bets on MMA fights. There are several options and among the most popular variations is to select several fighters within one parlay bet. This bet type allows you to wager on as many fighters as you want and thus increase the amount of the possible payouts. On the other hand, this is quite a risky option and should be practiced only by experienced betting enthusiasts.
Top-notch betting sites that feature mixed martial arts events generally offer user-friendly layouts that provide for a hassle-free wagering process. What is more, quite often online punters are provided with special bonuses and promotional offers – welcome bonuses, money back promotions and prizes, which are awarded in connection with the consistency of the user’s betting activity, etc. Avid MMA punters highly appreciate bookmakers who provide them with exclusive increased odds for specific events.
One of the most beneficial features of MMA betting is the cash-out option available for certain events only. In general, this feature allows betting enthusiasts to guarantee some profit or at least minimize the amount of their possible losses. Imagine you have done the most extensive research possible before the upcoming fight and correctly put your money on the fighter for whom there are all the prerequisites to defeat his opponent. However, it is possible for your favorite not to have disclosed information about an injury or a personal issue and these to adversely affect his play. If you notice on time that the battle will not unfold according to your expectations, do not wait but jump on the cash-out feature.
Features of the Best MMA Betting Sites
Now that you are familiar with the basic aspects of mixed martial arts as a sport particularly suitable for online betting, it is time to choose a proper sportsbook and immerse yourself in the exciting field of MMA betting. Given today’s abundance of betting platforms, selecting the one that best suits your interest and preferences may turn out to be not an easy endeavor. To help you not lose time (and sometimes money) with a randomly selected website, we summarized the features of the best online MMA bookmakers, so take a look.
Good reputation is not an imaginary concept but is based on tangible indicators and real users’ feedback. There is no way a bookie can boast of long-term trust by its users if it does not offer first-class customer service, reasonable payouts, various fast payment solutions, and last but not least, a license issued by a legitimate regulation authority. You can find so many online sportsbooks that meet these requirements that you have no reason to make any compromise. In addition, this way you will avoid the risk of being deceived or misled in some way.
We have said this before but we will do it once again – the same MMA fight may be assigned quite different betting odds. Sometimes, the variance can reach up to 10% which is much, especially if you are a high-roller. Fortunately, it is very easy to perform line shopping so spend some more minutes and find a bookmaker that offers competitive odds. Otherwise, if for any reason you stick with a low-rated betting operator, it will inevitably affect your profitability over time.
Another feature that distinguishes online MMA bookmakers, who enjoy the highest rating, is that each of them has generous short-term and permanent promotions, through which it seeks to enlarge its user base and at the same time keep the interest of its loyal patrons.
If you have already gone through the above indicators and have decided on the online MMA betting platform for your wagering experience, we advise you to go through the list of supported payment solutions. This feature is not insignificant at all, so it is advisable to create an account with a virtual bookmaker that offers a variety of banking options, so you can use the payment method which you feel most comfortable with. Do not forget also to check in advance what the guaranteed payout speed is. You do not want to wait a whole week until you get access to your own funds, do you?
Use any source of information when you make your research – articles by gambling analysts, specialized betting blogs, or customer reviews. If you gather enough positives regarding a particular MMA betting site, give it a try and hopefully, you will be satisfied. As a precaution, it is better to start with smaller stakes and once you know how things are going with this online bookie, gradually increase the size of your bets.