MMA betting is one of the fastest growing activities in the sports betting world. But there are still millions of people who are only just getting into MMA for the first time.
MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and covers a wide variety of combat disciplines into one sport. There are various numbers of MMA authorities which stage fights across the world.
The most popular and recognisable mixed martial arts franchise is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where legends are born and reputations cemented inside the historic Octagon ring.
Fighters in the UFC earn millions of pounds in each fight. But there are also other MMA organisations that ensure there is almost always a fight being contested somewhere in the world.
In this guide we will take you through the various rules of MMA, plus the biggest betting markets so you can become an expert in the sport. This is the perfect place for beginners to learn more about MMA.
What is MMA?
MMA is a combat sport where individuals strike and grapple with their opponent in order to win a fight. Unlike karate or taekwondo, there are no points scored in MMA (unless the fight goes the distance) and the ultimate aim is to force your opponent into defeat.
The UFC is the biggest MMA franchise and the one this guide will focus on the most. Fighters compete for belts in their specific weight divisions and must then defend the titles in order to remain in the UFC. Bouts take place in the eight-sided Octagon ring, which is fenced off so there is no escape for the fighters.
MMA basic rules explained
MMA rules can be a bit complex, especially when declaring the winners, which can be done in different ways. We will try to give you an easy explanation.
The most simple way to win an MMA fight is via knockout (KO). This is when a fighter inflicts so much damage that their opponent is unable to continue fighting. Opponents can lose via KO if they are knocked unconscious or simply cannot continue. A technical knockout (TKO) occurs when either the referee or the ring physician ends the MMA fight because they consider one of the MMA fighters to be unable to continue. An example of this is, if a fighter has been knocked out several times in a round or is bleeding severely.
Another way to win is via submission. Some MMA fighters are better at forcing submissions than others and can get their opponents in chock holds, or twist limbs until the opponent gives up. Fighters ‘tap out’ if they give up from a submission and subsequently lose the match.
Fighters can also lose an MMA bout if their camp surrender by throwing in the towel. This may be because they are worried for the welfare of their fighter, who may be determined to continue despite suffering severe physical damage already.
Each UFC fight lasts five rounds, with each round lasting no more than five minutes. If neither fighter has forced a win after five rounds, the match winner is declared on the judges’ decision.
Fighters are expected to engage with their opponent, so they cannot simply avoid conflict. A referee will warn a fighter if they believe the fighter is purposefully avoiding conflict. However, there are various fighting styles in MMA and some fighters choose to ‘strike’ very rarely, instead going for submissions on the ground.
How to Bet on MMA
Betting on MMA can be a great way to introduce yourself to the sport and begin backing certain fighters. Most MMA events — such as a UFC night — will consist of numerous bouts, so you’ve always got a large range of choice on which fights to bet on.
Despite the fact that quick knockouts are usually appealing to the audience, the most common bet type within MMA betting is to place a bet on the winner. This is called match betting. In match betting, you’re betting on which of the two MMA fighters you think will be victorious in the specific fight. For adventurous players that are looking for really high odds, there’s a possibility to bet on a draw in some occasions.
A bet on the number of rounds is also a popular choice when it comes to MMA betting. When betting on the number of rounds you will be offered a predetermined Over/Under line, where you will try to predict if an MMA fight will go over or under a certain number of rounds. As an example, if the line for number of rounds is set to 3.5, this means you will either bet that the fight will consist of at least four rounds (Over) or at most three rounds (Under).
Betting on round and method is another popular type of bet within MMA betting. In round and method, you simply bet on when and how you think the fight will end. An example of this could be KO in round three, where your bet will be successful if the fight ends in a knockout in the same round that you predicted.
Indeed, winning method is a bit bet type for fans of MMA who do their research. That’s because most fighters — especially in the UFC — have specialities. If, for example, you know a fighter is better at forcing their opponents into submission, then you may want to back this outcome for the fight. Equally, if your chosen fighter has won their last 15 bouts by knockout then this is likely to be a strong bet for their upcoming fight.
MMA outright betting
You can also bet on outrights in MMA, which is a great way to make long-term bets that can run for months. Popular outright betting includes markets on as-yet unconfirmed fights. Like in boxing, negotiations for the major fights take months to conclude. It means there are always some unconfirmed fights that are expected to be scheduled.
Therefore, Unibet offers fans the chance to place early bets on these unconfirmed fights, with the expectation that they will be scheduled before a certain time limit. If the fight is not confirmed before this time, then the bet is void and refunded.
Many UFC betting fans like to place bets on unconfirmed fights in order to steal a lead on the odds. Quite often odds change once a bet is confirmed and the fighters begin training. So betting on an unconfirmed fight can sometimes give you an odds boost.
MMA In Play betting
Here at Unibet we’re dedicated to bringing you the best odds on MMA and UFC betting. That’s why we offer In Play odds on the biggest fights each month. In Play betting works just like normal sports betting, but the twist is that the odds can change in an instant.
Betting In Play on MMA is a great way to follow all the action and test your gaming tactics to the limit. Predicting when is the best time to place an In Play bet can be tricky — but he rewards can also be huge if you make the right bet at the right moment.
For example: A fighter you’re thinking of betting on has a bad start to their bout. Their odds therefore widen as it looks like they’re not going to win. But this might be the moment you make an In Play bet on the fighter winning, which he then does in the third round with a knockout. This is how In Play betting really differs from pre-match betting, because not only did you win the bet but your odds were greater. Of course, there are also sometimes bigger risks with In Play betting.
Biggest UFC events to bet on
The UFC run major events every month or so. They are usually branded ‘UFC 235’ when there is a really big fight on the card. But there are also UFC local events, broadcast-specific events and country-specific events, such as UFC London.
The numbered UFC events are the biggest ones and attract the most attention — so if you’re new to UFC betting then this is the big event to watch and gain the best understanding of the sport. They also carry the biggest purses, with fighters potentially making their fortune winning fights at numbered UFC events.
Most of the numbered UFC events take place in the United States, which can be tricky for UK fans as the fights therefore take place during the night. But — like boxing — the big fights can sometimes start very late in the USA, and therefore at 6am in the UK! It means British fans can set early alarms and wake up to follow the big fight of the night.