Two men (or two women), an octagon, their bodies and will are the only thing standing in the way of one of them getting flattened.
It’s about as exciting as it gets and is even challenging boxing as the most popular blood sport.
The UFC is a juggernaut that seems to never end, buying out mixed martial arts rivals like Strikeforce, World Extreme Cagefighting, Pride and EliteXC to establish itself as the largest promoter in the world.
Mixed Martial Arts
It’s the promotion everyone wants to fight in and the competition everyone wants to bet on.
Almost all of the top ranked fighters in the sport fight under the UFC’s – and mastermind Dana White’s – banner.
Male fighters battle in eight different weight divisions: Fly weight (125 pounds, 56.7 kilograms, 8.9 stone), Bantam weight (135 lb, 61.2 kg, 9.6 st), Feather weight (145 lb, 65.8 kg, 10.4 st), Light weight (155 lb, 70.3 kg, 11.1 st), Welter weight (170 lb, 77.1 kg, 12.1 st), Middle weight (185 lb, 83.9 kg, 13.2 st), Light heavy weight (205 lb 93.0 kg, 14.6 st) and Heavy weight (265 lb, 120.2 kg, 18.9 st).
Female fighters have two different divsions: Straw weight (115 lb, 52.2 kg, 8.2 st) and Bantam weight (135 lb, 61.2 kg, 9.6 st).
The UFC adopts the Mixed Martial Arts style of fighting. Anything goes – provided it’s within the rules. It pits masters of many different fighting styles up against each other, including muay Thai, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, boxing, judo, karate and tae kwon do, among others.
Events with lower profile fighters are often known as “Fight nights”, while the bigger events, usually with title fights, will be assigned a number.
For example, UFC 182 featured a light heavy weight title fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, which Jones won by decision.
Fights vary in length, usually either three or five rounds, depending on the standing, with each round going for up to five minutes.
There are many ways a fighter can claim the match.
The key ones are:
– Knock out
– Technical knock out
– Judges’ decision
– No contest
The first four are the most common results of the fights.
Obviously a knockout is when one fighter lands a blow that fells the other and he or she is unconscious and unable to continue the fight.
Referees, doctors or even the men in a fighter’s corner can decide on technical knock outs, basically declaring the fight by assessing the state of the fighters.
Fighters who win by submission force their opponent to tap on the mat, tell the referee he or she is out or the referee can make the decision for them if there is fear of injury.
If both men are still standing at the end of the allocated rounds, the judges will decide who had the better fight and declare that fighter the winner. Fighters score points by landing blows and executing grappling and takedowns.
There are three judges and their decision can be unanimous (3 for one fighter, none for the draw, none for the other fighter), majority (2-1-0), split (2-0-1). Draws can be scored in a similar fashion.
UFC fighter’s have a tough life, with many only being paid for the fights they attend, but it can be very lucrative. They get bonuses if they win, and can also get big top ups if they claim fight of the night or performance of the night honours.
It’s a huge sport across the world and it’s massive with the punters.
They love a punt on a test of wills.
The main card fights are where the big money is at, but don’t let that stop you from having a flutter on the undercard. Many of these fighters are unproven and upsets can and do happen. You can discover real value if you do your research and work out where the potential over the odds fighters are.
Never had a bet on the UFC before?
Fear not, we’ve got you covered with our guide to punting on the UFC.
How to place a head-to-head bet on the UFC
This is the easy bit. Pick your fight, decide who you think will win and place your bets.
Your bookmaker will provide odds for both fighters and will have done their research to determine who is the favourite and who is the underdog.
A guy like superstar Anderson Silva would be a hot $1.22 favourite against someone like Nick Diaz, who has plenty of experienced, but isn’t considered in the Brazilian’s class.
So you’ve already got an interest in the fight, because you’ve decided who you want to win, but laying down your hard earned – obviously within reason – adds that extra dimension.
There’s nothing more satisfying than loading up on a fighter and watching him demolish his opponent.
What does total rounds betting on the UFC mean?
As we’ve mentioned, UFC fights are either three or five rounds. The main card, headliners or title fights will almost always be five rounds, while the undercard or more minor fights, will be three.
All you have to do is decide how long the fight will last.
The round totals are usually presented as an under or over bet.
So, in the case of a featherweight fight between say Conor McGregor and Dennis Siver, where the former is a heavy $1.07 favourite, you’ll find it set at over 1.5 rounds ($2.50) and under 1.5 rounds ($1.50).
The bookies obviously think that McGregor is going to smoke Siver and knock him out early, but, if you think the latter can make it past the half way mark of round two, roll the dice for more benefit.
Betting on method of victory in the UFC
We’ve already mentioned how fighters can win a fight, with the main ones being knock out, points or submission. Here you have to decide which of the two fighters will win and how they will do it.
Take the title fight between Jones and Cormier, for example
There will usually be seven markets:
Jones by knock out, Jones by points, Jones by submission, Draw, Cormier by knock out, Cormier by points and Cormier by submission.
For you to win, the fighter you select has to not only win, but also do it in the fashion you picked.
How do you bet on how the fight will end in the UFC?
Here, you don’t have to pick the winning fighter, you just have to select how the fight will end.
There will usually be three options here: knock out (includes TKO), submission or points. Odds will be set by the bookie for each of the three. So it’s kind of like having a double chance, because it doesn’t matter which fighter wins, it just matters how they win.
You could have a match with both fighters at $1.91 and can’t decide who will win, but both of them are heavyweight sluggers who are all but guaranteed to land heavy blows. You know it’s going to be a knock out, you just don’t know who will be the one dealing out the punishment.
Back the knock out and watch the tall trees fall.
Will the UFC fight go the distance? You decide
In this market, it’s a simple yes or no answer. We’ll keep with the McGregor vs. Siver fight example.
Here you bet either yes or no to whether both fighters will be standing at the end of the fight.
You need to take similar considerations to total rounds betting. The abilities and experience of the two fighters, each fighter’s propensity to knock the other out and their past records.
There’s no real science to it, it’s just hit and hope, but, if you think the fight can make it to the end of the three or five rounds and both fighters will still be standing, then bet on yes. Punt the no if you think there will be a knock out, technical knock out, submission or some other event that will put the fight to an early end.
What is round betting on the UFC?
In round betting, you have to decide who will win the fight and what round he or she will do it in. So if it’s a five round fight, there will be 10 markets.
Five for each fighter and round. If the fighter is a knock out merchant, go early. If they are more technical fighters who like to graft their way through a fight, then a round four or five selection could prove more fruitful.
Betting on the finishing time of a UFC fight
This isn’t a super common market, but often, in lopsided fights, bookies will look for a way to generate more interest. We’ll use the McGregor vs. Siver fight again, because it is expected to be a whitewash.
So what happens here is the bookie will select a time for the fight to finish, and it will usually be for the favoured fighter, in this case, McGregor.
So the markets for this bout are:
Mcregor to win within 120 seconds of the first round ($2.63)
McGregor to win within 60 seconds of the first round ($4.33)
It’s a good way to generate better odds on fights where there is a heavy favourite and underdog.
How do I place a multi bet or parlay on the UFC?
Multi bets are a fun way to ride your luck on multiple fights on the UFC. You can win big dollars for lower outlay. Also known as a parlay, the fight odds multiply into each other.
So you could look at a card:
Gleison Tibau ($1.68) vs Norman Parke ($2.10)
Uriah Hall ($1.17) vs. Louis Taylor ($4.60)
Donald Cerrone ($2.10) vs. Benson Henderson ($1.68)
You love Hall to win over Taylor at $1.17, but you don’t like the odds much. You need more juice. So you multiply that into the burly Henderson to knock over Cerrone at $1.68 and then add in Parke to cause an upset over Tibau at $2.10.
That gives you much juicier odds of $4.12 ($1.17 X $1.68 X $2.10).
All you need is all three of your selected fighters to win and you cash in.
From time to time, bookmakers will run specials on certain fighters.
Usually this will be centred around fighters who are on the rise and their chances of winning a title.
Big New Zealand born adopted Australian Mark Hunt, has been the subject of one, once rated a $4 chance to win a title in 2015 after he won the right to fight Fabricio Werdum for the interim heavyweight belt while champ Cain Velasquez was injured.
McGregor has also been the subject of a similar market, the gun fighter rated a very short $1.57 chance to take out a title in 2015.
This is long term money, it will be tied up until your fighter wins a title, or until the end of the year, whichever comes first.
Punting on the UFC – handy info
Before you do splurge your hard earned on a fight, make sure you know what’s going on.
Do your research. Watch and read plenty of material on the fight before you lay your bet.
Find out about both fighters’ records. Their backgrounds. How their styles match up. Have they fought each other before? Who is more experienced? How old are they? Where is each ranked?
Don’t discount the underdogs. Longer odds means bigger pay outs. Find out who the experts are tipping and whether or not they give the underdog a chance.
In the fights with shorter odds, use the exotics we’ve mentioned to inflate them.
Don’t get sucked in by all the fights. Pick your mark. Betting on every fight is a sure way to do your dough fast. You work hard for it. Do yourself a favour. Multi a couple of the early fights together to give you an interest and focus on the ones you’ve researched. Known commodities are always better to bet on than the unknown, inexperienced hopefuls.
The man who pulls the UFC’s strings
Dana White is rumoured to be worth some $300 million. He is not only the president, but the face and voice of the UFC and he never takes a backwards step.
Starting out managing gun fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, White engaged a couple of very rich pals to buy the UFC and make him the president.
From there, he has built the UFC up to be one of the biggest sports in the world.
White’s face is almost as recognisable as the fighters who make his promotion great.
Whether he’s on the Ultimate Fighter reality show he created to promote the UFC, or in a news conference, he has no trouble giving a fighter – or a rival promotion – a bake if he’s not happy with him.
He’s had very high profile spats with some UFC greats, like Ken Shamrock (reckons he owes him money), Ortiz (who felt betrayed when White quit as his manager to run the UFC) and Randy Coutoure (claimed that the fighter lied to him when he did a deal with a rival promotion).
White, who has more than two million followers on Twitter, can lay claim to a promotion that leaves every other in its wake.
The UFC has staged fights in an amazing 175 different countries, and boasts over 100 training facilities across the world.
That’s not to mention the TV deals that beam his promotion into close to a billion households across the world.
He was the man that brokered a seven year broadcast agreement with Fox to telecast the UFC across the world.
It was a landmark deal in 2011 that secured the future of his promotion for many years to come.
UFC Hall of Famers
Royce Gracie, inducted November 21, 2003 (UFC 45)
Ken Shamrock, inducted November 21, 2003 (UFC 45)
Dan Severn, inducted April 16, 2005 (UFC 52)
Randy Couture, inducted June 24, 2006 (The Ultimate Fighter: Team Ortiz vs. Team Shamrock Finale)
Mark Coleman, inducted March 1, 2008 (UFC 82)
Chuck Liddell, inducted July 11, 2009 (UFC 100)
Charles Lewis, Jr., inducted July 11, 2009 (UFC 100)
Matt Hughes, inducted May 29, 2010 (UFC 114)
Tito Ortiz, inducted July 7, 2012 (UFC 148)
Forrest Griffin, inducted July 6, 2013 (UFC 162)
Stephan Bonnar, inducted July 6, 2013 (UFC 162)
Pat Miletich, inducted July 6, 2014 (UFC 175)