UFC Betting Guide
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is known worldwide as the leading brand in mixed martial arts. While popular soon after its debut in 1993, the UFC’s growth is truly historical and has made it one of the most followed leagues worldwide.The UFC has always been a major attraction for those who enjoy sports betting. Ever since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban in 2018, more states are offering sports betting both live and online. Betting on the UFC has, likewise, become an especially popular option.
Tennessee legalized sports betting in 2019, becoming the first state to introduce online-only sportsbooks. If you’re ready to get in on the action, here’s all you need to know about betting on the UFC in Tennessee.
Best UFC betting apps
In Tennessee, you can bet online on the UFC via a web-based browser or on a mobile device after downloading a TN sportsbook app for free. The apps are especially convenient when it comes to live betting after the fight begins.
If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you can download the iOS app through the Apple App Store although it’s likely preferable to just download directly from the sportsbook. If you have an Android device, you can only get the app through the sportsbook’s website.
Some of the best-reviewed sportsbook apps include:
- DraftKings Sportsbook Tennessee: The daily fantasy sports giant is now a big player in sports betting, offering new sign-ups $50 free with a $5 minimum deposit, and a 20% match bonus on their first deposit worth up to $1,000.
- FanDuel Sportsbook Tennessee: Coming to sports betting from DFS as well, FanDuel has many users and offers new sign-ups a $1,000 risk-free bet.
- BetMGM Sportsbook Tennessee: Formerly PlayMGM, BetMGM offers new users a risk free first bet of up to $1,000 when signing up and a free $10 weekly bet.
How UFC betting works
There are many ways to bet on the UFC. The three most popular types of wagers are betting on the moneyline, betting on the method of victory and betting on the total rounds the fight will last.
Moneyline (Fighter to win)
Betting the moneyline in a UFC fight simply means betting on which fighter you believe will win. As in other sports, moneyline odds are expressed as a positive or negative number. A positive number indicates what you’d win if you bet $100. A negative number indicates how much you’d need to bet to win $100.
For example, let’s look at the following odds for a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor:
- Nurmagomedov: -170
- McGregor: +140
Since Nurmagomedov is the favorite, you’d have to bet $170 to win $100. Meanwhile, if you bet $100 on the underdog McGregor and he won, you’d collect $140. Odds for the favorites are always a negative number, and odds for underdogs are a positive number.
Method of victory
You can also bet on the winning method, sometimes called a “victory bet.” Here you are not betting on who will win, but how they will win. The three primary methods to win a fight on which you can bet are knockout, submission and points.
You can often bet on different combinations of these methods as well. For example, betting “inside the distance” means betting on the fight ending at some point before time runs out in the final round: knockout, submission or technical knockout (the referee stops it). On the flip side, a bet on “points” as a victory method is also called betting on the “fight to go the distance,” meaning it will not end before the last round concludes.
Like with moneyline bets and most other types, the line on a method of victory bet is also expressed as a positive or negative number.
Betting on total rounds in UFC is akin to betting on totals in other sports. It’s an over/under bet in which you wager on how long you think the fight will go. For example, if a TN online betting app set line is 2.5 rounds and -125, which means if you bet $125 on the over and the fight lasts three rounds, you would win $100.
There are many other types of bets that UFC fans can make at a TN online sportsbook, including prop bets, parlays, futures and live or in-game bets.
Lots of proposition bets allow wagering on a variety of events other than the result of the fight. Some popular prop bets include:
- Betting on a fighter to win in a specific round.
- Betting on a fighter to win within a range of rounds.
- Betting on a specific round in which the fight will end (regardless of the winner)
You can also bet on the awards given out at the end of each UFC event:
- The Fight of the Night (FOTN)
- The Knockout of the Night (KOTN)
- The Submission of the Night (SOTN)
Prop bets are usually underdogs to win and, in some cases, long-shots that rarely win but pay big when they do.
When betting on the UFC at Tennessee mobile betting apps, parlays work the same as in other sports. You are betting on two or more different outcomes as a single bet, with all of your picks needing to be correct to win the bet.
For instance, say you bet a parlay consisting of three different fights during one event, betting on Derrick Lewis, Valentina Shevchenko and Jon Jones all to win their respective bouts. If they all win, you win your bet.
The more bets you include in your parlay, the longer the odds and the bigger the payout.
An example of a UFC futures bet would be a wager on a fight that may or may not happen and for which speculative odds have been published. Another type of futures bet would be to bet on a fighter retaining his or her title, say, through the rest of the year.
UFC live betting
Live betting, also called in-game betting or in-play betting, is a fun way to add extra excitement when watching several fights that make up a UFC card. In Tennessee, where sports betting is online-only, UFC live betting provides many opportunities for bettors as fights progress.
Some of the more popular types of UFC live betting include betting on the fight result, the method of victory, the over/under on total rounds, and various prop bets like round betting where you pick the winner and name the round.
With live betting, the odds continuously evolve as the fight proceeds as the TN sportsbook adjusts them in response to how the fighters are faring. As you watch and gauge each fighter’s performance and the overall dynamic of the fight, you can use that information in various ways to help you reassess how the fight will finish and, thus, what wagers to make.
You can also use live betting to hedge your bets made before the fight began and reduce your overall risk. For instance, after having made a pre-fight moneyline bet on Tony Ferguson to win, you watch him struggle for two rounds. You then make a similar-sized in-game wager on Ferguson’s opponent at better odds, thereby ensuring you’ll either suffer a small loss if Ferguson turns it around and wins or enjoy a profit should he go on to lose.
Using live betting to hedge a parlay bet can sometimes be a good strategy as well.
Say you have wagered a three-bet parlay for $100 and have already gotten the first two correct. You only need favorite Anthony Pettis to defeat Donald Cerrone to win your parlay bet and a payout of $600. The fight begins, and Cerrone appears to be holding his own through the first round, although the live odds still have him a +120 underdog before the second round begins.
If you then place a $100 live moneyline bet on Cerrone, you know you’ll profit regardless of how the fight ends. If Pettis wins, you’ll win $600 minus the $200 in bets you’ve made. If Cerrone wins, you’ll win $240 minus the $200. It’s a lot less, but you have been assured that you wouldn’t be losing money no matter how things go.
Offshore vs. legal UFC betting sites
With sports betting now legal in Tennessee, there are numerous advantages to betting on the UFC on legal, licensed, and regulated TN apps versus offshore counterparts.
Tennessee sportsbooks offer more UFC betting lines than offshore sites. Those who use the TN sportsbooks enjoy additional perks, including better customer service, secure funds and account information. The sportsbooks’ operations are vetted according to the state’s regulations.
TN sportsbooks also provide multiple safe banking methods.
UFC betting tips
UFC is a hugely popular sport both for general spectators and those who like to bet on sports. Because of its popularity, many who wager on the UFC do so without a lot of knowledge or study. Those who set lines know all of this, which means UFC bettors who do put in a little effort beforehand can find genuine opportunities to be successful.
Here are five UFC betting tips for beginners who know all the types of UFC bets and how to read odds correctly:
Tip #1: Don’t bet on every fight
Over its long history, the UFC has gradually increased the number of fights per card from around seven to 12. There might be a temptation to place wagers on every single fight you’ll be watching on a given night’s pay-per-view, but try to resist that urge. You’re much better off picking a few fights that appeal to you for various reasons, researching them well and being selective about the bets you make.
Tip #2: Pay attention to big line moves
Because of all the storylines and constant hype associated with the UFC, you’ll find the public sometimes becoming influenced by the latest Cinderella story and rushing to bet one fighter over another, including big underdogs. Sometimes that will make a line move considerably and make the odds better when betting the other side. Watch those line moves and take advantage.
Tip #3: Don’t just look at the records
This is a common mistake beginning UFC bettors make, namely, being overly influenced by fighters’ win-loss records when choosing a side to back. UFC fighters follow a variety of career paths, with some fighting many times before being challenged and others facing stiff competition early on.
Just because one fighter is 12-0 and the opponent is 7-3, it doesn’t automatically make the undefeated fighter the better wager.
Tip #4: Learn how to analyze fighters’ techniques
If you want to be successful at UFC betting, you’ll want to learn more about the sport. Learn what techniques fighters use.
Are they grapplers who like to wrestle opponents? Are they strikers or kickboxers who prefer to punch and kick? Are they brawlers who use a variety of methods? Learn how to recognize how each type tends to perform against others and how those different techniques affect outcomes and make your bets accordingly.
Tip #5: Use available (and relevant) information
Don’t just pick a fighter because you like his or her style. Spend some time looking at both fighters’ experiences, age, reach, size and other factors. Be informed about recent injuries. Make a note of where the fight is taking place and whether altitude or a fighter’s need to travel might matter.
The biggest UFC fights of all time
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2
The UFC 202 welterweight rematch in August 2016 between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz in 2016 was one of the most anticipated fights in the sport’s history. The purse was the highest ever at the time, with $3 million for McGregor and $2 million for Diaz. It was also one of the most-watched, setting a new pay-per-view record.
Diaz had upset McGregor five months before via a second-round, rear-naked chokehold, ending a five-year streak of wins by McGregor. McGregor was the favorite (-130), while the odds on underdog Diaz settled at EVEN or +100 by fight night.
This time, McGregor won an epic, thrilling five-round match by a close (and controversial) decision that fans continue to debate today.
Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier
This light heavyweight battle was the first to take place between two of the sport’s best, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 in 2015.
Then champion Jones was a sizable favorite (-165) over up-and-comer Cormier (+145). Jones managed a takedown of Cormier in the first round and then two more in the fourth to help him ultimately clinch a unanimous decision in his favor. However, Cormier did manage a takedown of Jones in the final round.
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir 2
The heavyweight rematch between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir in 2009 is remembered as a dramatic culmination of the league’s centennial event at UFC 100.
Mir had defeated Lesnar in their first go-round the year before, needing just a minute-and-a-half to earn the win via submission after a kneebar in what had been Lesnar’s UFC debut. The fight was controversial, as Lesnar had been assessed a questionable point deduction early on at a point when he appeared on the verge of winning himself.
By the time of the rematch, Lesnar had become a big favorite (-240) over Mir (+190). The result justified those odds as Lesnar scored a technical knockout in the second round to end a dominating performance.
The history of the UFC
The Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship was founded in 1993 and has since become the world’s largest mixed martial arts company.
The multibillion-dollar company has held hundreds of events worldwide. With its regular multi-fight cards of fights from 12 different weight divisions (eight men’s, four women’s), the UFC has made MMA one of the most popular sports in the world.
When first introduced, the UFC aimed to present fighters of different backgrounds and styles, including wrestling, boxing, kickboxing and judo. The rules initially allowed anything besides biting and eye-gouging. It was a hit from the very first event, with 86,000 watching Royce Gracie win the first title over pay-per-view on cable television.
Fans loved The Octagon, the now-iconic, eight-sided caged ring which evoked the promoters’ desired street-fighting vibe. By UFC 3 viewership had hit 300,000. But the backlash against the violent aspect of the sport threatened its continued popularity.
In 2001, Dana White became the UFC’s new president. The rules were altered to make UFC less dangerous. The UFC bought up other MMA organizations and consolidated them. Meanwhile, huge bouts involving early UFC stars, such as Randy Couture and Chuck Lidell, increased the sport’s profile.
By the end of the 2000s, the sport’s rules prescribing which moves were allowed and which were not were standardized as the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Also codified were the different weight classes, length of bouts, methods of victory and scoring system.
In the 2010s, other UFC stars included Anderson Silva, Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Dan Henderson, José Aldo, Matt Hughes and Conor McGregor.
In 2012, Ronda Rousey was announced as the first UFC women’s champion and, for the next three years, she became an international phenomenon with women’s UFC fights earning as much attention as men’s. Finally, Rousey lost her title in late 2015 when she was upset by Holly Holm at UFC 193, with more than 1.1 million paying to watch over pay-per-view.
Other UFC stars have included Lyoto Machida, B.J. Penn and Georges St-Pierre on the men’s side and Miesha Tate, Germaine de Randamie and Cris Cyborg on the women’s.
In 2016, the UFC was sold for a staggering $4 billion to a multi-partner group headed by Endeavor, the largest-ever price tag for the acquisition of a sports property. The UFC is in a five-year, $1.5 billion partnership with ESPN to allow the sports giant to show UFC fights on its several networks.
Yes, you can, both in the DraftKings sportsbook and on DraftKings daily fantasy site, where you can draft single-day rosters of fighters all the fights on a given UFC card.
Betting lines remain open for a UFC until the opening bell. However, it is still possible to wager using live betting once the fight begins.
If you have bet the moneyline and there is a draw, the bet ends in a push and you get your money back. Of course, it is possible also as a prop to bet on the fight ending in a draw, in which case you’d win your bet.
It depends on the sportsbook. If a fighter is disqualified during a fight, then that fighter’s opponent is the winner, and bets are typically settled accordingly. Usually, bets are settled as though the fight ended after the previous round, although you’ll want to consult each sportsbook’s rules for handling DQs.
Bellator is the second-largest MMA company in the United States. Although, it is much smaller than UFC. As such, it is often hard to find sportsbooks with lines on Bellator fights, although it’s worth looking as some operators occasionally include them.