Who will be the next UFC fighter to rule the octagon? (Photo by Rogan Thomson/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire)

How to bet on MMA

Are you a fan of watching a variety of martial art styles in a single bout? Whether you enjoy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai, Greco-Roman wrestling, or straight freestyle, MMA is the sport for you. It combines a dazzling mixture of athleticism, discipline, and raw power — all packed into one sizzling event. Most sportsbooks offer odds, props, and futures for UFC and Bellator, the MMA’s top two promotions.

How to read MMA odds

A typical betting board for MMA fights features the two combatants and their moneyline odds. If you’re not familiar with betting on MMA contests, or any combat sport, here’s a breakdown of how to read the odds board.

What are MMA odds?

Most fights are straight moneyline bets, which means the bet comes down to who wins. The odds are based off of the fighters' chances to win. The moneyline establishes the favorite and the underdog for the projected clash.

We’ll use the upcoming Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson bout, with their moneylines posted. Each fighter has a plus or minus to designate the underdog and the favorite.

The minus sign is designated for the favorite. Nurmagomedov, is a prohibitive favorite at -310. The larger the number correlates the expectation that the favorite will win. While betting on the favorite is safe, it yields smaller rewards. In this case you would need a wager of $310 to get a return of $100 on a Nurmagomedov bet.

The plus sign is designated for the underdog, Ferguson here, at +230. A larger number is indicative of the odds against victory, but betting on underdogs to upset those odds nets more lucrative returns. You would just need to wager $100 on Ferguson to win $230.

When betting solely on the moneyline, a winning bet can come in the form of a decision, submission, or any form of a stoppage.

Are there prop bets in MMA?

In certain scenarios there are several prop bets that come up when a fight generates tremendous interest or is closely matched. These prop bets often come with a higher risk and payoff, as they may require a precise outcome. The most common example of these prop bets are the over/under and round bets. There are certain other prop bets unique to MMA.

What is the MMA over/under?

The over/under is betting on the anticipated length of the fight as set by the oddsmakers, not a specific winner. Betting the over/under means placing odds based on how long the fight is anticipated to last.

Let’s assume the Nurmagomedov-Ferguson match has an over/under of 4.5 rounds. A round lasts five minutes, so the halfway point being is two minutes and 30 seconds.

Betting the over means you believe the fight will end beyond the 2:30 mark in the fourth round.

Betting the under means you believe the fight will end before the 2:30 mark in the fourth round, which could occur via stoppage, technical decision, or disqualification.

When betting the over/under, the winning fighter does not factor into the payout.

What are MMA round bets?

Round bets pick a particular winner in a particular round. Bettors must pick the exact round when the stoppage will occur. These are more precise than the moneyline and over/under, so they are far more rewarding.

A round bet can only come from betting on whether a knockout or submission occurs in a specific round, regardless of fighter. As with any other bet, a more precise pick will yield a larger payout.

The Nurmagomedov-Ferguson fight is expected to go the distance, so it might lead to better odds on a particular round and stoppage combination. In a sport as unpredictable and explosive as MMA, it’s worth a shot.

What is an MMA parlay?

A parlay can best be described as a combo bet, where all wagers need to win for a payout. That means bettors can wager on multiple moneylines, over/unders, and round bets where available. As all outcomes must be satisfied to win the bet, this can be the riskiest betting path, but also the most rewarding, as the odds will skyrocket with each leg of the parlay.

Let’s use the supporting bouts of Nurmagomedov-Ferguson as an example, and pick the entire card. If you are confident Nurmagomedov, Jessica Andrade, and Jeremy Stephens are going to win their bouts, parlaying the three to win raises the potential return to $888 on a $100 bet.

Have you got the hang of MMA betting? Wager on UFC and Bellator matches today on most sportsbooks!