MMA Betting and Odds Explained

MMA has seen a very big growth in recent years, and we can now safely say that some of the fights get as much attention as any major sporting event in the world.

With that in mind, the MMA format also looks ideal for betting, with tons of betting options at your disposal. Some would say that MMA betting is similar to boxing, but there are a few more variables to consider when wagering on MMA.

So, what exactly is MMA, and which options do you have at your disposal when starting to bet? We at have prepared an all-inclusive guide for you. Let’s take a closer look.

A Brief History of the MMA

MMA is one of the sports that has the largest spectator base in the world, especially in the USA. MMA is sanctioned in all US states, which speaks volumes about its popularity.

MMA first grabbed the attention of the US public in the 1990s when the Gracie family showcased its Brazilian jiu jitsu. In 1993, the family was represented at a UFC tournament in Denver by Royce Gracie.

The name of the tournament stood short of “Ultimate Fighting Championship,” which is now the leading promoter of MMA events.

As you would expect, the UFC struggled to make money and gain viewership in the early days, but over time, it became a very profitable organization.

MMA Rules and Gameplay

In 2009, regulatory bodies in the USA introduced new standards known as the “Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.”

These rules stipulate that fighters compete in a ring, use padded fingerless gloves, and don’t have any shoes or headgear. Allowed moves in a fight are:

  • Strike
  • Throw
  • Kick
  • Grapple

However, there are certain moves that are not allowed in the MMA:

  • Head butting
  • Gouging
  • Biting
  • Hair pulling
  • Groin attacks
  • The downward elbow hits
  • Throat hits
  • Spine hits
  • Back-of-the-head kicks
  • Kicking a grounded opponent on the head

Anyone who disobeys these rules can get punished or disqualified from the fight itself. Moving on, under the Unified Rules, MMA fights that are not championships have three rounds lasting five minutes each, while championship matches have five rounds.

A fighter can win by knockout or by forcing the opponent to submit. If none of those scenarios occurs, a panel of three judges will decide the winner. Finally, there are nine weight classes in the male MMA and two for the female MMA.

The Difference between UFC & MMA

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned both MMA and the UFC. You may think that they are the same organizations, but in reality, they are not.

MMA stands for “Mixed Martial Arts,” and that is the sport. The UFC, which stands for “Ultimate Fighting Championship,” is the organization that promotes MMA fights.

MMA in the USA & Around the World

It is safe to say that MMA gets a lot of mainstream attention these days in various countries around the world. We all know that the USA is the primary market for the sport, but what about other countries and regions? Let’s see the top countries where MMA is most popular.


We cannot start any MMA list without mentioning the USA, which is the epicenter of the sport. The USA creates arguably the best talents, but it also has the biggest MMA promotions in the world.

As for fighters, the USA has some stunning names in its ranks, such as Daniel Cormier, Tito Ortiz, Jon Jones, and plenty of others.


US’ neighbors come also in this list. The popularity of MMA in Canada is evident by the number of world-class fighters from the country.

There are also promotions in Canada, such as Warrior-1 Canada and Maximum Fighting Championship, which add to the popularity of MMA. Arguably the most popular MMA fighter from Canada is Georges St-Pierre.


Here, we just need to mention the name Connor McGregor, and everything will be much more clear to you. Some consider him to be the best MMA fighter ever, and he is the first UFC fighter to have two weight class championships at the same time.

MMA Odds

Before you start placing bets on MMA, you need to understand how exactly its odds function. Therefore, there are three types of odds you can find at bookmakers offering MMA betting events:

  • American odds, also known as moneyline odds, are represented by a (-) sign for the favorite and a (+) sign for the underdog.
  • Decimal odds are very self-explanatory, as they come in a decimal format. They represent the amount of money you can win for every $1 you wager on an MMA event.
  • Fractional odds are also called UK odds, and they are written with a slash in between numbers. They represent the profit you get for every $1 you wager.

Popular MMA Betting Types

Now, it is time to get a bit more into the details of MMA betting. Reputable bookies will offer tons of betting types that you can use for all your MMA bets. Let’s check out the most popular ones.


First off, we have moneyline bets, which are very straightforward in MMA. With this type of bet, you will need to try to predict which fighter will win the fight.

There are always clear favorites in MMA fights, but it is not uncommon to see an underdog secure a shock win.

Total Rounds

Moving on, we have total rounds as a bet type for MMA events. As the name itself suggests, this bet type is based on the number of rounds you think the fight will last.

Given the MMA format and the unpredictability of the sport, it is not very easy to predict the total number of rounds any fight will last.


Up next, we have parlay bets, which also work very simply. Here, you will need to place a bet on several outcomes of the fight, and you need to get them all correct to secure a win.

Of course, given their structure, parlay bets are far riskier than the previously mentioned ones, but you can also look forward to much better odds.


Future bets are also among the simplest bets you can make in MMA. All you need to do is place a wager on whoever you think will win the given championship. Future bets are offered in advance and during the championship.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are also very common among bookies offering MMA betting events. They are additional types of bets you can make in a specific fight, such as how long a fight can last.

Round Betting

Don’t confuse round betting with total rounds, as they are completely different. In round betting, you need to wager on which round the fight will end.

Method of Victory

We already mentioned the Unified Rules above, which stipulate how a fighter can win a fight. Therefore, with this type of bet, you need to choose the method by which the fighter will win.

Outright Winner

An outright winner is a futures bet that you can make on any MMA championship. Very simply, here, you just need to predict the winner of the competition currently taking place.

Over/Under Rounds

Finally, we have another betting type connected to the total number of rounds. Bookies will present a number of rounds for an MMA fight, and you need to predict whether the fight will last for more or less than that number.

Top MMA Matches

It is difficult to say which MMA fight was the best in history, so we compiled a short list of the best ones so far. This list is proof that MMA fights are spectacular and that anything can happen once fighters are inside the ring.

Connor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz

This is a fight that occurred in 2016, and it is one of the most spectacular ones in MMA history. The battle lasted for 25 minutes, and it is something that all MMA fans will remember for a long time.

Diaz landed 166 attempts, while McGregor landed 164, with Diaz also having 5.50 minutes of control time on the mat.

Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar

We go a bit back in time for this fight, as it occurred in 2005. This was the final of the first UFC season, with Griffin winning the fight by decision. This fight is considered one of the reasons why new fans have been attracted to MMA ever since.

Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald

Finally, we have Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald’s second fight. The former emerged victorious in the first fight, but in 2015, Lawler took revenge. This is considered one of the best-ever fights, as by the time the fourth round came, both fighters were almost unrecognizable thanks to injuries.

MMA Betting Tips

Luck will always play a major part in your MMA bets, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a strategy in place to enhance your chances of a potential win. With that in mind, let’s check out some MMA betting tips that you can implement straight away.

Look at the Weigh-Ins

Weigh-ins take place the day before the fight, which is not enough time for someone who has gone through a big weight cut to rehydrate properly. So, by looking at the weigh-ins, you can get a general idea of how a certain fighter can perform the next day.

Size of the Cage

The logic here is quite simple: a small cage provides less space for fighters who rely on movement. So, once you see what size the cage is, you can determine the winner of the fight much more easily.

Age of the Fighters

Finally, age is one of the most important things to consider when betting on MMA events. MMA provides hefty paychecks to participants, but that can be a trap for older fighters. So, sometimes, older fighters get embarrassed by younger underdogs as they continue taking fights way past their prime.

How to Bet on MMA

If you are completely new to the sports betting world, you might feel overwhelmed when deciding to start wagering on MMA. However, we at are here to ease those concerns. Check out the short, four-step process below and you will know exactly how to start betting on MMA.

Find a Reputable Bookie

Finding a licensed and reliable MMA bookie is the first step. You need to ensure that the sports betting site has a valid license and an SSL certificate. Those two factors will ensure you have a safe and smooth betting experience.

Register and Deposit

Now, you can complete the short registration process and make your first deposit. Here, it is important to note that different MMA bookies have different minimum and maximum deposit rates that you need to be aware of.

Claim the Welcome Bonus

Moving on, MMA bookies know how vital first impressions are. Therefore, you can expect a nice welcome bonus once you register an account and make your first deposit. You can use that welcome bonus to wager on MMA fights later on.

Start Betting

Now, the fun can begin. Feel free to browse through the bookie’s MMA offer and find an event. Depending on your preferences, you can make various bet types, all with the help of the welcome bonus.

Most Common MMA Betting Mistakes

Besides some strategies that can help you enhance your wins when betting on MMA, there are some things that we advise you to avoid.

Not Knowing the Fighters in the Game

First, you need to be prepared when wagering on an MMA fight. You need to research fighters’ past performances against similar fighters and know their strengths and weaknesses.

Picking Favorites

Favorites have that status for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that they always win. It is not uncommon to see big upsets in MMA, so backing the underdogs can sometimes get you nice returns.

Not Setting a Budget

Addiction to gambling can be a very serious problem, so we urge you to keep your betting under control. Setting a monthly MMA betting budget will always do the trick, so do that and make sure to stick within its parameters.

Picking the Wrong Bookmaker

Finally, different bookies will have different betting markets and odds for all MMA events. Therefore, you need to choose the right one carefully. The most important aspect is that the bookie must have a safe betting platform so your sensitive data are never in danger.

Is it Safe to Bet on MMA?

Well, there is a very simple answer to this question: as long as you stick to our advice above about choosing a reputable bookie, you have nothing to worry about. MMA betting will always be a nice pastime activity if you bet responsibly with a reliable bookie.


What MMA bet types are the best for beginners?

If you are completely new to MMA betting, we advise you to start with simple options, such as moneyline bets, and choose a winner for the fight.

What should I consider before making an MMA bet?

You need good research if you are going to place a bet on any MMA event. So, you need to know the history of the fighters, their form, their weigh-ins, the size of the ring, the age of the fighters, and so on.

Where is MMA betting most popular?

MMA as a whole is a sport that is most popular in the USA. Therefore, the vast majority of punters come from there. However, it is not uncommon to see bookies from all around the world offering tons of MMA betting markets.