Best Ways to Bet on a Fight

Want to learn the best ways to bet on a fight? We’re going to analyze the different ways to bet on MMA. We’ll also examine when to target certain betting markets to ensure we’re getting the most value.

MMA bettors are spoiled with betting options. A lot of mixed martials arts fans aren’t even aware of all the ways to bet on a fight. We’ll clear that up by examining all of the popular MMA betting markets.

The most common ways to bet on a fight are the moneyline (predict the winner of a fight) and total rounds (predict whether a fight will go over or under X rounds). Other ways to bet on a fight include point spread, winning method, fight props, round props, parlays (multiple selections on one bet) and futures.

Most Common Ways to Bet on a Fight Explained

We’ll start by explaining how moneyline bets work in fighting.

  • Moneyline Bet: Volkanovski (-125) vs. Topuria (+105)

The simplest way to bet on a fight is the moneyline. The goal is to predict the winner of a fight. The fighter that’s expected to win (betting favorite) will have negative odds and the underdog will have positive odds.

When the odds are negative, the number is how much you need to bet to win $100 (Example: Bet $125 to win $100 on Volkanovski). When the odds are positive, the number is how much you’ll win on a $100 bet (Example: Bet $100 to win $105 on Topuria). In the UFC, underdogs win about 35% of the time.

Your goal with moneyline bets should be to beat the closing line. This often means betting early when the odds open. For example, at UFC 297, Dricus Du Plessis opened as a +130 underdog, but closed as the betting favorite (-112). A $100 bet at +130 pays $130, while a $100 bet at -112 pays $89.29.

  • Total Rounds: Over 2.5 Rounds (+135) vs. Under 2.5 Rounds (-170)

In MMA, the total rounds will be set at 1.5 rounds or 2.5 rounds for three-round fights. In five-round fights, the total rounds line will vary between 2.5 rounds to 4.5 rounds depending upon the matchup.

In our example, the total rounds market is set at 2.5 rounds. You need to predict whether the fight will end in over or under 2.5 rounds. If the fight ends at 2:29 of the third round or later, over bettors will win and if the fight ends at 2:31 of the third round or earlier, under bettors will win. There are alternate total rounds as well, which can offer bigger payouts, but there’s more risk involved with alternate markets.

The best way to bet on a fight is to target the total rounds when two evenly matched opponents meet.

How Do UFC Point Spreads Work?

UFC point spreads are a new way to bet on a fight. Here’s an example:

  • Point Spread Bet: Whittaker -3.5 (-125) vs. Costa +3.5 (-105)

First off, if either fighter wins by stoppage, a point spread bet on that fighter will win. If the fight goes the distance, the point spread will come into play. In our example, Whittaker is -3.5, which requires him to win on the judges’ scorecards by 4+ points. If the judges’ scores are 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 for Whittaker, a bet on him at -3.5 will lose, as he only won by three points on the judges’ scorecards.

Whittaker is a -250 moneyline favorite. If you think Whittaker will cruise to a win, there’s much more value on the point spread market, as the odds are -125, but there’s additional risk involved.

Learn the best ways to bet on a fight.
Learn the best ways to bet on a fight.

Winning Method Betting Markets Explained

There are multiple winning method betting markets available. The method of victory betting market is one of the best ways to bet on a fight. You need to predict the winner of a fight and the method of victory (KO/TKO/DQ, submission or decision), but you’ll get much better odds than betting the moneyline.

Other winning method betting markets include method of victory (double chance), exact method of victory, to win by finish, to win by split or majority decision and to win by unanimous decision.

In some cases, there’s a high probability of a fight ending by stoppage or going the distance. It’s important to get the most value from your correct predictions. There’s more risk involved with winning method bets, but bettors can make more money with a lower winning percentage from these markets.

Should I Bet on Parlays in MMA?

Parlays are one of the best ways to bet on a fight. For those new to MMA betting, parlays will allow you to combine multiple selections on the same wager, but if one selection loses, the parlay bet loses.

In MMA, there are often big favorites (-300 odds or higher), which aren’t ideal for moneyline bets.

This is where MMA parlays make sense. Let’s say you’re confident in three big favorites at odds of -350, -400 and -500. Betting the three individually would require a big outlay and if one loses, you’ll still end up losing. If you parlay all three favorites, the bet will have -108 odds, which is much less riskier.

Best Ways to Bet on a Fight – Props

There are various fight props and round props available to bet on a fight as well.

One market is for a fight to go the distance. Most bettors will bet on the total rounds market, but you can extract more value by betting on a fight to go the distance rather than over 2.5 rounds. There’s slightly more risk involved. Track your results to determine which market is more profitable.

Other fighting props include first minute finish, point deduction, time of finish, winning round, fight to start X round and round of finish. With some of these fighting props, you don’t need to predict the winner of a fight, which can be beneficial when there are two fighters with similar skill sets matched up.

Fighting Futures Betting Markets

In fighting, there aren’t many futures bets. Sportsbooks will offer some fighting futures, such as who will be the UFC champion at X weight class on X date. For example, you can bet on Tom Aspinall to be the UFC Heavyweight Champion on December 31st 2024 if you think he’ll win the belt in 2024.

In some cases, fighting futures can present value, but your money will be locked up for an extended time, which some bettors don’t like. For those with bigger bankrolls, futures can offer an excellent ROI.

Fighting futures aren’t one of the best ways to bet on a fight, but we wanted to explain how they work.

Best Ways to Bet on a Fight – Research

Now that we’ve explained the best ways to bet on a fight, which markets should you utilize? It’s important to examine every betting market for a fight to uncover the markets offering the most value.

You also need to handicap fights to understand what markets are worth targeting. The best ways to bet on a fight are matchup dependent. What works with one fight might not work with another fight.

For example, if two durable fighters with similar skill sets fight, targeting the over (total rounds) or the fight to go the distance is worth considering. In some cases, you might be confident in a big favorite with power to dominate. The best way to bet on this type of fight would be targeting the method of victory (TKO/KO).

Before you place a bet on a fight, you should research the matchup.

You want to look at win-loss records, fighter styles, weight class, fighter strengths and weaknesses, travel (time zone changes, elevation, etc.), cardio and fight camp (training partners, short notice fight, etc.).

Watching pre-fight interviews, press conferences and the weigh-ins is also beneficial.

Our fighting experts know the best ways to bet on a fight based on years of experience. Sign-up to Sports Hub to access expert fighting predictions for the UFC and other MMA events all year.

About the Author
Joe Berra
Joe Berra
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Joe takes care of the bits and pieces that sometimes slip through the cracks of the sports world. Efficiency and consistency is what makes different. JB helps keep Sports Hub’s content fresh and exciting, managing its many authors. From the New York area, Joe knew he had a knack for sports betting when his uncle was always asking him which side he was on as a young boy. His meticulous approach to the numbers formed his career path as a professional handicapper. Joe is sometimes called Jimmy Bagpipes, JB or Mr. B.