UFC betting explained
MMA and the UFC in particular have exploded in popularity since the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey took the sport by storm. The sport’s rise has consequently fuelled appetite for UFC betting, with millions of dollars staked each week on UFC events.
How to bet on the winner of UFC fights (moneyline)
The most popular form of UFC wagering is the moneyline market. Simply put, you pick one fighter to win the fight and the odds assign a value to each fighter.
How to read UFC odds: Stipe Miocic (+120) vs Francis Ngannou (-145)
If you place a $100 bet on the +120 underdog Miocic to win, you stand to win $120.
If you place a $145 bet on the -145 favourite Ngannou to win, you stand to win $100.
What happens to my bet if the fight ends in a draw?
Fights can end in a draw, no contest, or with a DQ, although this is rare. Usually, a draw in a UFC fight results in voided moneyline bets – meaning you get your stake back. Be sure to read the sports betting rules before placing a bet, as different bookmakers have different rules.
UFC round betting
There are a number of variations for UFC round betting.
How to bet on the total number of rounds in a UFC fight (Over/Under)
UFC under/over round is a betting market to wager on how many rounds the fight will last.
Here’s an example for a 3-round fight:
Over 1.5 rounds (-200)
Under 1.5 rounds (+140)
If you believe the fight will finish before the midway point (7 mins, 30 seconds into the fight) then you would be the ‘Under’. Should the fight finish before the midpoint of the 2nd round, then a $100 bet on the under will hit, and you win $140. But if the fight goes beyond the midpoint of the 2nd round then your bet loses, and the over hits.
How to bet on the exact round a UFC fight will finish
If you’re a fan of the UFC heavyweight division, you’ll know that there are more knockouts than in any of the other weight classes. You can bet on the fight finishing early, for example, if you believed that Derrick Lewis vs Curtis Blaydes would not go to the judges scorecards, then you could have bet on the fight ending in any of the scheduled 5 rounds. Your betting options were:
- Fight ends in round 1 (+250)
- Fight ends in round 2 (+400)
- Fight ends in round 3 (+550)
- Fight ends in round 4 (+800)
- Fight ends in round 5 (+1400)
Had you picked round 2, then your bet would have won (Lewis won by KO/TKO in Round 2 at 01:26). If you picked any other round, you would have lost.
To multiply the odds even larger, you can choose to bet on the exact round and the winner. Derrick Lewis to win in Round 2 was priced at +1400 for this fight, meaning you would have made a $1400 profit off a $100 bet.
UFC Prop bets
UFC prop bets can be a fun way to parlay your prediction into higher odds. For example, picking Derrick Lewis to win by Knockout in Round 2 would have netted $1600 for any punters who put a $100 bet on.
What are opening and closing odds?
Oddsmakers set the moneyline initially based on what they believe to be the probability of winning for each fighter. The first odds that are published are referred to as the “opening” odds. As punters start placing bets, bookmakers adjust the moneyline to equalize risk, just like a typical market influenced by supply & demand. This is referred to as ‘Line Movement’.
When the cage door shuts, the final odds offered by the bookmakers are referred to as the “closing” odds. Closing odds can be wildly different to the opening odds when the gambling community reacts strongly against the opinion of the Vegas oddsmakers. Professional UFC bettors will often buy into the moneyline market early, locking in higher opening odds before the market has had time to correct.
Where to bet on UFC
Who has the best UFC betting odds?
Download The AllStar sports app for iOS and Android to get realtime odds comparison and alerts for MMA betting market openings.
Betting on the UFC online
The easiest way to bet on UFC is to open an online MMA betting account with a reputable sportsbook. Download The AllStar sports app for personalised betting recommendations based on your location, and check out our guide for where to legally place UFC bets online.
What are the biggest betting upsets in UFC history?
Most UFC betting action happens on the fights on the main card, with famous fighter and hype fuelling MMA gamblers. However, the best value UFC bets can often be found on the prelims. Lesser-known fighters, unproven in the UFC octagon, can give Vegas oddsmakers a higher chance of getting the odds incorrect.
Shana Dobson (+950) defeated Mariya Agapova by Knockout at 01:38, Round 2
Dobson was a huge +950 underdog coming into this fight which took place at UFC Vegas 7 in August 2020. Dobson was on a 3-fight losing streak and had yet to get a win in the UFC proper. On the other hand, Agapova was on a tear and sitting at 8-1-0 in her professional MMA career.
Oddsmakers set the line on Dobson to win at a whopping +950. If you had placed a $100 bet on Dobson to beat Agapova, you would have won $950. Not a bad UFC betting profit!
Matt Serra (+850) defeated Georges St Pierre by Knockout at 03:25, Round 1
Matt Serra famously beat GSP at UFC 69, in April 2007. Serra’s win is widely regarded as the most shocking UFC title upset of all time. GSP is undefeated since that defeat, and avenged the loss a year later. In the first fight, not many gave Serra a chance of winning – with oddsmakers pricing him at a +850 underdog.
Serra proved the doubters wrong with a the surprise knockout in the first round. Those who did back him were left very happy – a $100 bet on Serra turned into a $850 betting profit.
Holly Holm (+830) defeated Ronda Rousey by Knockout at 0:59, Round 2
Holly Holm shocked the MMA gambling community with a headkick knockout of the invincible Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. Rousey was undefeated and had a 12-0 professional record coming into the fight. She had taken the UFC by storm, finishing all of her opponents by submission or knockout.
Oddsmakers expected Holm to fall victim in similar fashion, pricing her at a +830 underdog. It was quickly apparent that her boxing skills were far superior to Rousey, lighting her up on the feet in the first round. She continued with that momentum in round 2, setting up a highlight reel headkick.
If you had placed a $100 bet on Holly Holm to beat Ronda Rousey, you would have made a $830 betting profit.
Can UFC fighters bet?
Yes. As long as fighters are not risking the integrity of the UFC, they can place bets. That means they can bet on themselves to win, but not to lose as that would be match-fixing. Justin Jaynes famously bet his entire purse (25k USD) on himself (+140) to beat Charles Rosa. Unfortutatley for Jaynes, he lost, meaning he competed in the Octagon that night for free.