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Aug 18, 2017

How to bet on MMA: The basics of MMA betting

How to bet on MMA: The rules of the sport explained

Understanding the basics of MMA betting

Analysing the different fighting styles in MMA

How to bet on MMA: The basics of MMA betting

MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. As such, understanding how to bet on MMA is a useful skill for any bettor. Since the 1990s, the sport has wowed audiences worldwide and now attracts a much higher volume of MMA betting. Read on to learn how to bet on MMA and find value in the odds.

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a combat sport that has grown hugely in popularity since the 1990s. It allows punches, kicks, elbows, knees and grappling, inviting a number of different fighting styles and strategies.

If you know how to bet on boxing, similarities can be drawn when learning how to bet on MMA. That said, there are several key differences which make the sport stand out and should be taken into consideration.

How to bet on MMA – The rules of the sport

The first step of learning how to bet on MMA is understanding the rules of the sport. An MMA bout involves five-minute long rounds. The majority of matches last three rounds, while title fights (or fights given special dispensation) last five. The outcomes are similar to that of boxing, with one exception – the submission.

Since the 1990s, the sport has wowed audiences worldwide and now attracts a much higher volume of MMA betting.

While fighters can be knocked out, disqualified, win via technical knockout (a referee stoppage) or on points, they can also take the fight to the ground. This is where fighters use various methods to force their opponent to submit. An opponent can do so by ‘tapping out’ when they feel there is no way out of their current situation.

In order to allow more room for wrestling and kicking, MMA takes place inside an ‘octagon’ or ‘cage’ rather than a ring – usually measuring 30 feet across and six feet high.

As with boxing, professional MMA bouts are split into men’s and women’s divisions spanning several weight classes. Divisions depend on the organisation; by far the biggest is the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), an organisation that has become synonymous with the name of the sport, but you can also bet on Bellator MMA.

UFC weight classes

UFC Male Weight Classes UFC Female Weight Classes
Strawweight 115 lb (52.2kg) Strawweight 115 lb (52.2kg)
Flyweight 125 lb (56.7 kg) - -
Bantamweight 135 lb (61.2 kg) Bantamweight 135 lb (61.2 kg)
Featherweight 145 lb (65.8 kg) Featherweight 145 lb (65.8 kg)
Lightweight 155 lb (70.3 kg) - -
Welterweight 170 lb (77.1 kg) - -
Middleweight 185 lb (83.9 kg) - -
Light Heavyweight 205 lb (93.0 kg) - -
Heavyweight 265 lb (120.2kg) - -

NOTE: In amateur MMA, there is a super heavyweight category for male fighters exceeding 265 lb (120.2kg).

MMA betting - Available markets

Pinnacle offers the best odds on MMA betting and the next step of learning how to bet on MMA is to understand which markets are available. The UFC and Bellator typically hold their biggest events once every few weeks, with smaller fights taking place more regularly. The two main MMA markets at Pinnacle are:

Money Line

Just like Money Line betting in tennis or the NFL, the Money Line in MMA betting simply refers to who will win the match.

Total Rounds

The Total Rounds market involves betting on whether a fight will last over or under a certain amount of rounds. The bookmaker will set a figure for how many rounds the fight could last (e.g. 2.5); due to the small number of rounds in MMA, this can often mean deciding on whether a fight will last the distance or not.

MMA betting – Different fighting styles

In order to bet on both the Money Line and Total Rounds markets, it is important for MMA bettors to familiarise themselves with the different fighting styles and strategies used by athletes. In practice, mixed martial arts is a combination of a number of influences. These include but are not limited to:

  • Boxing
  • Muay Thai
  • Kickboxing
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Judo
  • Wrestling
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Capoeira

When learning how to bet on MMA, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different styles can help bettors gain an edge on the bookmaker. For example, a fighter who prefers taking his opponent to the ground may be happier to see a fight go the distance (resulting in a higher amount of rounds).

When learning how to bet on MMA, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different styles can help bettors gain an edge on the bookmaker.

If they are facing an opponent whose strength lies in their striking, however, that fighter may look for a knockout earlier in the bout rather than risk losing on points. Particular fighting styles will also be better or less suited to others. For instance, a boxer may struggle against a wrestler, particularly if the fight keeps going to the ground.

Other, more basic factors to consider in MMA betting are a fighter’s win-loss record and their ranking status. With MMA still growing as a mainstream sport, statistical or strategic research remains a powerful betting tool.

Once you feel confident with the basics of MMA betting, you can analyse more in-depth statistics to help you find value, such as takedown accuracy & defence or striking accuracy. These can be found on the UFC’s official website or authoritative MMA sites such as sherdog.com.

Now that you’ve learned how to bet on MMA, you can take advantage of the best MMA odds online at Pinnacle.

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After graduating from the London School of Economics, Tim set out on a career path that combined his love for both sport and writing. That path led him to the sports betting industry - and a pursuit for value that is unlikely to ever cease. He specialises in soccer, tennis & MMA.
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