How To Bet On MMA Fights

MMA odds explained

Betting on MMA can add a lot of excitement to your fight nights.  At the bottom of this page we discuss sportsbooks and betting sites.  If you are outside the USA we recommend, the perfect site for internationals.  Inside the U.S. it is illegal to bet on MMA online other than in Nevada or through, a real money fantasy betting site that is growing faster than any sportsbook in the country.

As a former “big time” sports bettor, ahem not really, I’m going to answer your questions and explain to you how the betting odds work and how you can make money from MMA fighting. This is for traditional sportsbooks and does not cover betting on MMA at fantasy real money sites.

How Fighting Odds Work

MMA odd lines

Unlike the common spread on a football game where one team is getting a certain amount of points (ex. Saints +7), in MMA fights the line or most common bet on the fight is primarily what’s called a Money Line, which is a single bet (a term most UK and European users know). Prop bets, parlays (accumulators), over/under, round bets, method of victory and Inplay betting are also fairly common with fighting bets.

*Get to know all the different types of MMA betting and how the meaning of these bets differ from other sports.

Odds are telling you how much you can win from a certain bet, not the “odds” of winning the fight. But by testing how much you could win with certain odds you can determine the “value” in a bet. So for example you got a fight between an unbeaten fighter vs a regular, the odds for the favorite are going to be very low, meaning a $100 bet could payout $5. This might almost be a sure-bet, but there is no value as the possible profit is too small to take the risk. If you lose it could take a couple of winning bets just to recover.

The key is to find odds that payout nicely with a probable outcome that you have determined. So evaluating odds is very important, for favorites betting you want to at least make 25% of your stake and underdogs should pay double as a minimum.

To find potential fights to bet use´s Fight Finder tool. Unlike any other squedule event calendar this tool can future events or past by just typing in the fighter´s name, nickname or class weight.

Fedor MMA fighterLets say we want to review the fighting history of Fedor Emelianenko. Search using just his name and you will see were his next fight will be. Following is a list with all past history. Note that he has won 34 fights and lost 4. 3 of those 4 losses by KO, which means that a fighter needs to knock him out or be knocked out.

Type of MMA Odds Example

Georges St. Pierre (-245)
Thiago Alves (+185)

In this fight, GSP would be the favorite and at -245 odds it means that for every $2.45 you bet, you will win $1 if he wins the fight.

*There are three main types of odds expressions used around the world, a sportsbook will feature as default the one most used localy but all odds expressions can be changed to whatever the bettor prefers. The ones expressed here are Vegas Odds or American Odds, the most used odd type in the United States for MMA and all American Sports. 

If you bet $245 on GSP and he wins, you’d profit $100.

If GSP were to lose though, you’d lose the full $245.

If you were to bet on Thiago Alves at +185, you would would win $1.85 for every $1 you bet. So if you bet $100 on Thiago and he wins the fight, you will profit $185.

If Thiago were to lose the fight, you’d lose your original $100 bet. If the fight is a draw you get your money back.

Why Do The Odds Change?

Depending on how people are betting on the fights, the odds will shift from the moment they open up right up until the night of the fight. Any fighter news might also change the lines.

TIP: If you plan on betting on the underdog it’s usually best to wait til a few minutes before the bell to place your bet, because you’ll get better odds. But if you’re looking to bet on the favorite, it will be benefitial to place the bet as soon as you can.

Follow our 4 basic strategy tips to know when to bet on either one. Sometimes the underdog is where the money is, you just need to spot the right fight.

Take for example what has been known as the greatest upset in UFC fighting,  Matt Serra def. Georges St-Pierre 2007Serra was a 32 year old nobody from Long Island who had won the Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback. A former gatekeeper who beat one of the biggest stars with one single punch.

The best way to understand why that fight was such a great deal watch this GSP documentary, right until the point of that fight against Matt Serra and then the comback fight were the “jockey wine drinking frenchy” beats big mouth Serra with a Canadian crowd singing “F*CK SERRA”:

Where to Bet on MMA Fights?

Most people’s neighborhood bookie won’t be taking bets on UFC fights – and if they are, they’ll job you with some ugly odds.

The safest place to bet on MMA fights is at a reputable online sportsbook or a real money fantasy betting site. There are quite a few sportsbooks accepting US players. They also happen to be the most legit operations and are run like Fortune 500 companies rather than shady bookie joints.


Personally I bet at (for traditional betting), (for real money fantasy style betting) and 5dimes (for the best odds as we proved in our live odds counter for MMA fights on our homepage). We at MMA Odds can not advertise these offshore sites because of their illegality, only Draftkings.  Most of these sites you can just deposit $50 and make a few bets for fun. Even having $10 on a fight adds a lot of excitement to your fight nights.

If you want more info about betting on MMA fights, check out, our sister site. We also have info on mma odds which have updated odds for every fight found on our homepage!

It is always useful to double check if MMA fights are regulated in your country. In the United States for example the Association of Boxing Commissions overseesn the MMA in almost all states. A couple other dozen countries in the world have their own regulations.

 Author: Rory Aldo
Copyright 2015

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