Betting on a good sports team is different from betting on an MMA fighter. Mixed Martial Arts is explosive, violent, and unpredictable – that’s what we like about it! – but this also means that betting on the winning fighter can get difficult.
Even the best fighters can be taken down by a kick that connects just right. Sometimes the stronger fighter takes themselves out of the fight with a poor kick, just take a look at Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, and Conor McGregor.
Here we have some tips on how to choose the best fighter in a match-up. When you’re ready to choose, head over to Fanduel and see if your intuition pays off.
Size Up The Fighters
Before you try to get clever, you should start at the basics. The first thing most bettors look at is the size of the fighters. This means their height, weight, and reach. Many pro fights make sure the fighters are within an acceptable weight range of one another while their height difference will be plain to see. The reach determines their striking distance. It’s no use being the strongest if you can’t even reach your opponent.
All of that information will be on the card and, failing that, a quick Google search can get you those details. Not that betting on the bigger fighter won’t always pay off. Look at the age of the fighters too, a hungry 20-something fighter might fight harder than somebody who’s pushing 40.
From here, you can go deeper into the numbers by looking at strikes per minute and their numbers of takedowns and submissions. This shows you their fighting style. Some MMA fighters, like the very first UFC winner Royce Gracie, used Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to force better strikers than him into submission, solidifying BJJ as a staple of the UFC.
If your favored fighter is a powerhouse when striking but generally weak against submissions, you don’t want them to be up against somebody like Gracie. If two strikers face-off, which one throws more punches per minute? Ask yourself these questions when sizing up the fighters.
Look At Their History
This is another common thing that bettors do. Look into the history of the fighter’s performance. If you’re looking at their fighting style then you’ll be doing this already but you should now turn your attention to their wins, losses, and draws.
Are they a youngblood who you’ll take a chance on? Have these fighters met in the cage before? If they have, check out what happened and use other information to decide how this fight will end.
Consider The Underdog
Now let’s talk more about the gambling side of things. For UFC gamblers, the underdog can be a great source of betting profit if you can play it right. The odds offered for the favorite is always less, so the house can capitalize on the betting interest there, so try and find underdogs with the best odds.
Betting on those and having them take the win can make your cash go much further. Up-and-coming fighters are perfect for this. They’re the perfect storm of inexperience and niche hype that allows you to find favorable odds while having the confidence to wager on their success. This window is narrow, however, and quickly closes when the fighter makes a name for themselves.
Take A Risk
Lastly, take a risk! Don’t bet money you can’t lose but don’t stick with favored odds if you’re after larger winnings. Winning small payouts consistently is its own strategy, of course, but safely betting more cash can result in more fun and a larger payout. Take a chance on somebody using the above information so that your wins will really feel like wins.
Remember that even with the above information, there is no guaranteed winner and you should stop when betting stops being fun for you.
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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