MMA is back in full swing this weekend as UFC 261 takes place in front of a full audience for the first time since the pandemic began. Roughly 15,000 fans are expected to file into VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
If you aren’t making your way down to the Sunshine State to catch the event in person, you can still bet on the action at any Tennessee sportsbook.
UFC 261 title fights feature strong underdog odds
The UFC 261 card features three highly-anticipated title fights. First comes a title bout for women’s flyweight between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade.
Then, the co-main event kicks off with a women’s straw-weight fight featuring Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas.
The night’s main event features a men’s welterweight faceoff between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal.
MMA is known for being an especially unpredictable sport. This creates the opportunity for bettors to win big when rooting for the underdog. At DraftKings, Masvidal sits at +320 against Usman and Andrade has +325 odds of beating Shevchenko.
The Namajunas vs. Weili bout, on the other hand, is a bit more balanced. The top-ranked up-and-comer Namajunas sits at +165.
Bet $5, win $130 with DraftKings for UFC 261
If you’re new to sports betting in Tennessee, DraftKings has a knock-out deal for first-time bettors.
First you’ll have to sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook.
After making a deposit of $5 or more, users receive a single-use odds boost of +2600 to bet the moneyline of either fighter in the main event.
The maximum bet for this promo is $5, which means a maximum potential win of $130.
BetMGM offers parlay and prop boosts
In addition to offering parlay boosts on a handful of winning combinations, BetMGM also offers a range of prop boosts on the main fight.
Bettors can wager on the Masvidal vs. Usman fight to go the distance at -175 or put money on the fight lasting less than 4.5 total rounds at +160.
Odds of Masvidal to win by KO, TKO, DQ or submission have been boosted to +450, while odds for Usman to win in the same manner are increased to +250.
William Hill boosts UFC 261 odds
Along with traditional lines, William Hill is offering boosted odds on a series of wagers. UFC fans expecting Masvidal to win by decision can wager on the outcome at +1600 odds.
Those counting on Namajunas to walk away with a quick win in Round 1 can snag odds at a boosted +1200.
For the bettors looking to group all their UFC bets into a single parlay, the sportsbook has boosted odds of +400 for Usman, Zhang, Shevchenko and Hall to all win.
If a win for Andrade by KO, TKO or DQ seems like a sure deal, bettors can wager on the result at +625 odds.
UFC partners to prevent problem gambling
Betting on UFC events continues to grow in popularity. As a result, the organization has taken recent steps to safeguard its fanbase. The UFC and American Gaming Association (AGA) partnered together at the beginning of April in an effort to enhance responsible gaming.
Other partners in the AGA’s “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly” campaign include NASCAR, the PGA Tour and the National Hockey League.
UFC President Dana White saw the partnership as a necessary step for the organization:
“We have the most passionate, die-hard fans of any sport and they love to bet on UFC, but it’s important they do it responsibly. We’re proud to work with the AGA and get behind this campaign to encourage our fans to make smart decisions and promote responsible gaming.”
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller emphasizes the importance of responsible betting:
“As sports betting expands nationwide, professional sports leagues recognize the need to educate fans and ensure they’re wagering safely. We’re thankful to see this campaign grow as progressive leagues like UFC lend their considerable voice to this important effort. UFC’s commitment is important to engage, educate and encourage their fans – some of whom may be placing bets for the first time – to wager responsibly.”
This Saturday’s event will be the first pay-per-view fight since the partnership was instated.