MMA Betting: Underdog Fight Picks Worth the Gamble

Mixed Martial Arts has been a competitive sport for more than a century, but it did not come into prominence until 1993 when the Ultimate Fighting Championship was founded. MMA has since replaced boxing as arguably the most popular individual sport to bet on due to the sheer volume of events and number of different organizations hosting fights, led by the UFC and also including others such as Strikeforce and Bellator. The most intriguing aspect of MMA betting is the reality that any one punch, kick or submission move can end a fight almost instantly, no matter what the odds are. For example, legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko appeared to be invincible until he lost not one, not two, but three consecutive Strikeforce fights as a heavy favorite. Emelianenko is widely considered one of the best MMA fighters of all-time, yet he still found a way to suffer three of his four career losses in succession. The key to betting on MMA is knowing when there is enough value on the underdog to take a shot. Very few bettors probably thought Fabricio Werdum or Antonio Silva could beat Emelianenko, but those who did were able to cash a big winner. Even the great Georges St. Pierre, the reigning UFC welterweight champion, proved to be mortal in losing to Matt Serra at UFC 69. St. Pierre was on the wrong side of what is considered to be the biggest upset in MMA history, with a wager on Serra getting better than 8/1 odds. St. Pierre has not lost in five years since suffering that setback, winning his last nine bouts after briefly giving up his title to Serra. Like boxing, baseball, hockey and some other sports, moneylines are set by sportsbooks on each side, the favorite and the underdog. In St. Pierre’s case, he was an overwhelming -1100 favorite against Serra in their first meeting, meaning a bettor would have to wager $1,100 to win $100. Serra was a huge +850 underdog, so a $100 bet would have won $850 for a total return of $950. Other ways to bet on MMA include wagering on whether or not a fight will go OVER or UNDER a certain number of rounds (i.e. O/U 2.5) and what the actual outcome of the bout will be and in who’s favor (i.e. knockout, submission or decision by St. Pierre). Most fights in the UFC are three rounds, although championship bouts and featured main events are five rounds. To be successful with MMA betting, you need to pick your spots and know when a favorite is worth the extra price and when an underdog is capable of pulling off the upset. Picking underdogs can be much more profitable depending on the MMA odds while losing on favorites can be very costly. Emelianenko and St. Pierre are proof that there is no sure thing when gambling on MMA, but at the same time, every dog has his day with a chance to shock the world. Check out the latest UFC odds and make your first MMA bet today.


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