Boxing used to be one of the most popular sports in America — a Mike Tyson heavyweight fight would be one of the biggest events of the year. But since Tyson’s downfall, boxing has gone with him. Now it’s a niche sport and has been completely surpassed in online betting action by mixed martial arts, primarily the UFC. So what are the basics of online sports betting on MMA fights?
An Inside Look at the Basics Of MMA & UFC Online Betting
Really, it’s much the same as betting boxing, but there’s one huge difference. Boxers can only hit each other with their hands and only above the waist. There’s essentially nothing off limits in MMA except biting. It’s truly all-out warfare inside the Octagon (that’s the MMA version of a boxing ring because it’s shaped like an octagon instead of a square).
Most boxing matches these days go the distance because the fighters are so good defensively — think how boring that Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao superfight was. Boxing title fights are 12 rounds. However, MMA championship fights are only five rounds and all other bouts just three. That’s because the fighters are battering each other so dramatically. A pure boxer like Mayweather wouldn’t last a second in an MMA ring, and that’s why those rumors of a Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor bout are laughable.
MMA fighters generally have a combination of mixed martial arts and wrestling. A lot of top fighters are wrestlers. Thus while those with ju-jitsu backgrounds want to keep the fight standing up, the grapplers want to get the fight on the ground. Then they can either choke out their opponent or force a tap out, which is called a submission victory.
Arguably the best card in UFC this year is UFC 200 in Las Vegas on July 9. A McGregor-Nate Diaz title bout rematch, won in an upset by Diaz the first time, was supposed to highlight that card, but McGregor pulled out because he didn’t want to promote the fight. So now the featured bout is between arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Jon Jones, against Daniel Cormier in a light heavyweight title unification bout.
Jones (22-1) returned from a 15-month layoff at UFC 197 and defeated Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision in an interim 205-pound title fight. It was Jones’ first appearance since January 2015, when he defeated Cormier by decision to record his eighth consecutive title defense. Three months later, Jones was arrested in New Mexico, on a felony hit-and-run charge and stripped of his UFC title. In his absence, Cormier (17-1) won the vacant title by submitting Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 last May.
So let’s use that fight to explain some MMA betting options. Jones is a -300 favorite and Cormier +235. That means you have to bet $300 on Jones to win $100, while a $100 bet on Cormier wins you +235. You can also bet on the over/under total rounds in the bout, which is 4.5 because these guys aren’t heavy knockout fighters. The under is +125 and the over -145.
And then all major bouts have dozens of props. For example, whether either fighter wins by unanimous decision, split decision, submission or TKO/KO. Whether each fighter starts a certain round. Whether the fight finishes inside distance. Whether it’s a draw, etc.
One thing unique to UFC is the option to bet on four props on each card: Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, Submission of the Night and Performance of the Night. The UFC gives out bonuses for the winner of each category and you can wager on those in online betting at sportsbooks. It can come from any bout on the card, even the most low-level one.