Mixed martial arts is the most exciting sport on the planet. Nothing comes close to two finely tuned athletes battling it out tooth and nail for victory. As fight fans, we’re fully immersed in the back story, action, and drama of MMA bouts too. After all, why else would hundreds of thousands fill out international stadiums for championship fights?
So, it makes sense for bookmakers to get involved in the MMA action. Betting adds another tier of excitement to the electric sport, fans can root behind their favourite fighters. But, it also gives MMA connoisseurs a chance to pit their predictions against the bookmaker.
But, can you hit the mark with your bets? What sort of stats, facts, and tactics can boost your chances of success?
#1 – Understanding the market
You can be the biggest MMA fan in the world, but if you don’t understand your markets, betting can be difficult. Markets are the options available for you to bet for or against. That might be for a certain fighter to win or lose the bout, or you could even try to predict the technique used to score a KO.
What markets are available is all down to the bookmaker. Say you’re placing a bet at Space Casino, one of the UK bookmakers who actively cover MMA, including the UFC. They offer a chance for you to either bet for or against a fighter winning the bout. All you have to do is check the odds, choose to bet for or against, and then place a wager on your chosen athlete. The market you’re now betting on will be the outcome of the fight.
#2 – Checking the odds
Now you know your markets, it’s time to understand the odds. These are the probabilities a bookmaker gives of a specific outcome occurring. The greater the odds, the less chance of something happening. Think about betting on a draw, or an underdog submitting an undefeated champion.
On the other hand, the lower the odds, the more likely it’ll happen. So, you might not be looking at a huge return if you’re backing the runaway favourite to win. There are plenty of odds calculators online if you’re not sure how to work them out.
Your odds will also tell you how much return to expect on your wager. Luckily, online bookmakers make it easy with their inbuilt betting slips. Simply input your stake, and they’ll tell you your potential return before you secure your bet. This is a big plus for MMA betting beginners because they can check everything before handing over any cash.
#3 – Styles make fights
Styles make fights. It’s a mantra passed down through MMA history and rings truer now than ever. If you’re betting on MMA, it can pay to take a minute to consider how each fighter’s style matches up against the other.
We’ve seen it before. Undefeated striking starts face a grinding wrestler and lose their edge when pinned to the canvas. On the contrary, high-pressure strikers with great takedown defence have been known to take apart a seemingly unbeatable grappler.
Conditioning is another key factor to consider. Does one fighter tend to gas out in the later rounds, while the other can push for days? Style and conditioning come together here to give you a serious prediction for the fight. You just know some fighters are going to go for broke in rounds one and two. So, before placing a bet, take time to research your chosen fighter’s style and compare it to their opponent.
#4 – Fight week research
Fight week research is more ambiguous than studying styles. Yet, you can still pick out worthwhile information by keeping your finger on the pulse.
First, think about how the story of the fight is panning out. Has one fighter managed to trash talk his way into his opponent’s head, who you already know tends to become reckless? When Conor McGregor got into the mind of José Aldo, McGregor had already won the fight before he stepped foot on the canvas. Study and consider the impact of all pre-fight interactions.
Next, take a look at the weight cut. Even today fighters tend to cut a high volume of their body weight by shedding water. A bad weight cut can negatively impact a fighter’s performance, causing their conditioning to suffer and making them more prone to being knocked out. Is a certain fighter prone to bad weight cuts? How do they look? What do the news reports say?
Finally, try to read body language. Does anybody look out of their depth? Do they appear out of character, or extra nervous? While it’s not a nailed-on outcome if one athlete shows more nerves than the other, a change of character could highlight a blow to confidence or signal that a fighter is carrying an injury.
#5 – Using accumulators
Once you’ve grown confident in your MMA betting skills, it’s time to add in accumulators. Accumulators are a series of multiple bets, spread onto one slip. You’re essentially saying, “I think all of these outcomes are going to happen”, which always raises the odds, but accumulates a larger return.
Accumulators do carry more risk than a single market bet. So, it makes sense to play these smart. Use your research into the markets, odds, and stylistic matchups to pick the best outcomes and combine into an accumulator. Once you have a handful you’re confident in, it’s a time to really put your knowledge to the test.
The closer you can get to the mark with MMA betting, the more excitement on fight night. Use these tactics to give your knowledge an extra edge.