How to Pick A Fighter to Bet on in the MMA

I regularly bet on MMA fights including every UFC event and I have learned a lot about handicapping mixed martial arts in the past few years. My goal in this article is to teach interested individuals how to pick a fighter to bet on in the MMA.

Watch the Odds

I can’t stress enough how important it is to watch the odds. UFC odds are released very early and often times bettors have weeks or months to wager on the big fights. In that time the odds change based on how much action a bookmaker receives. One fighter may “open” as a favourite of -110, but by the time the fight starts he may be a -200 favourite.

If you don’t understand odds -110 means you’d need to bet $11 to win $10 whereas -200 odds equate to the bettor needing to wager $20 to win $10. Obviously betting the fighter in the example above at -110 is much more profitable over the long-run regardless of whether the fighter wins or not.

Ensuring that you get the best odds is one of the main parts of becoming a successful MMA handicapper. There are numerous free odds comparison tools online that I use and you can use as well when trying to find the best UFC odds to bet on.

Understand the Fighters History

Countless bettors in the UFC don’t have a clue about what they’re doing and they simply bet on the big names in the promotion that have been hyped up through the years. The problem with this strategy is that most veterans in the UFC at this point are way past their prime and they don’t win consistently like they used too.

There are several sites that track every fighters record and fights. You can see when and where the fighter has fought recently and this type of information will allow even the most casual fans to learn how fighters have performed recently. Recent form is huge in MMA and if your fighter isn’t in good form you should move on to better bets.

When looking at a fighters history you should also see how they win/lose most of their fights. Do they always win by decision or is the fighter able to win most of his fights by domino88? Does the fighter always get KO’ed or submitted? These types of questions need to be answered before placing a wager on any fighter in the UFC.

Don’t Be Scared to Parlay

In most sports you’ll read that you shouldn’t parlay bets together. This is the correct strategy in sports with point spreads, but not in MMA. Parlays are your best friend in MMA because they allow you to bet the big favourites without risking a huge amount of juice. Favourites are often overvalued by the sportsbooks, so when you parlay them together you cover the juice. Sometimes this may even be as much as your bankroll.

I never advise betting on fighters straight-up when the odds are above -250 in MMA. If the odds are higher than -250 you should find another strong favourite that you like to bet on. This will increase the payout odds and lower the amount of juice that you need to risk on your bet. This way you are increasing your odds of winning money.

I never go broke betting on MMA. I also never chase a loser as it is easy to get sucked into a strange betting sequence, but in the end, it is usually for the best. Do your research, follow your instincts, and you will be betting in the right spot and in the right direction.

Other Benefits

  • Winning a parlay can actually be a very fun bet. Sometimes you can bet very hard and make a ton of money and not care at all because you are having fun.
  • If you do parlay, bet the same amount on each parlay as you would on a single event. Your wager will have value on its own.
  • Don’t parlay if you have a significant favorite. I usually try to bet to a draw. If I have a dog, I am very serious about betting them the underdog.
  • If you don’t like two match-ups in a parlay, you can bet on just one.


Whether you are a conservative punter or a real-money player, betting properly on mixed martial arts can be very difficult. The above tips should help you to improve your online betting and possibly parlay a win. But the most important of all…p predictability is just as important.