Charles Oliveira at UFC 274. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Charles Oliveira at UFC 274. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MMA Betting: 7 Factors to Consider

If you’re a big fight fan and love watching fights, MMA is the sport to watch. It has shown big growth in recent years. This is due to the many entertaining personalities, different styles of fighters and the amount of fights held each year. There are a lot of things to consider when picking a winner of a fight.

Here are seven important factors to look into to help improve your MMA betting strategy. 

1. Styles of Fighters

Conor Mcgregor at UFC 196. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, styles make fights. This is a true statement and it’s also a factor when it comes to picking a winner in MMA. You have to look at the styles to see who has the advantage where. If you have a pure striker vs a wrestler/grappling focused fighter, most likely this fight will be going to the ground for the majority of the rounds. This happens a lot in matchups because there are fighters that aren’t well rounded. 

Wrestlers tend to have a big advantage in MMA since they will attempt to take the person down multiple times, and when they do, they lay there and steal the round. Most casual fans avoid these types of fights since it can be boring at times but sometimes that’s just how it goes. Fighters tend to stick to their strengths and will do what they have to do to win the fight. There are fighters who will try to progress and stay active looking for a finish. 

Other times you can get two stand-up strikers and it can be an all out back-and-forth war. There will be times when both fighters are even and well-rounded in all areas so this will make it more difficult to choose, making the fight a coin flip. 

2. Fight Track Record

This is where doing your research pays off. It’s always best to look at each fighter and look at the following:

  • How often do they fight a year?

  • Who were the last three opponents they fought? 

  • How did they win or lose against those fighters? 

  • Were they against wrestler/grappler types or knockout artists?

If you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of each fighter giving you a better understanding of the matchup. This will help you make better decisions long term. 

3. Height and Reach Advantages

Jones vs Reyes UFC 247, photo by Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Height and reach play a big role in fights. Taller and lankier fighters tend to have the advantage with the stand-up game. They can hit you where you can’t hit them. Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya are perfect examples of this style. If their opponent isn’t showing enough aggression and moving forward, they can outpoint fighters backing up, stealing rounds if they don’t land a clean hit. This strategy is equivalent to dominant wrestler types keeping it on the ground and not making any progress just to steal the round.

4. Age

Yoel Romero at UFC 241, Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The body can only handle so much when it comes to age. Age plays a big factor in the fight world. As age brings a lot of wear and tear to the body, younger fighters tend to have a higher chance of winning when there is a significant age gap. There can be some exceptions depending on the fighter since with age comes experience.

There aren’t many Couture’s, Silva’s, Bisping’s and Romero’s out there just to name a few. Glover Texiera became light heavyweight champ for the UFC at 42 years of age. Alexey Oleynik and Andrei Arlovski are also popular veterans in the MMA world who have had recent fights. 

5. Weight Cuts

Paulo Costa at UFC 241 weigh in, photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Weight cuts in the fight world have always been an issue. Fighters break down their bodies trying to cut to a smaller weight class to gain an advantage in the fight. Weight cutting is difficult to do for most fighters, some have no issue. 

Always pay attention to the weigh-ins and see how fighters look on that day. Are they way off on weight? Do they look tired and dehydrated? They might have had a terrible weight cut and didn’t plan accordingly. This can have a big impact on fight day. 

6. Short Notice Replacements

There will be times in matchups when a fighter will have to back out of a fight. There are many reasons for this but the most common reason is from injury due to over training or some freak accident during sparring sessions. When this happens, other fighters will step up on short notice accepting the challenge. Pay attention to who the new challenger is because it changes everything for the following reasons:

  • The game plan or strategy might switch due to new opponent

  • Opponents prepare a whole training camp for a specific fighter

  • Stepping up on short notice might mean they did not have a full training camp

  • In most cases, the short notice replacement will not be as prepared or in the best shape

7. Don’t Always Bet on the Favorites 

Amanda Nunes at UFC 269, Photo by Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

I know betting on favorites always seems like the safer route to go but be aware that upsets happen. You have to really look at both fighters strengths and weaknesses and see which one favors each opponent. Some of the biggest upsets in UFC include Juliana Pena, Matt Serra, Holly Holmes, Michale Bisping, and Chris Weidman just to name a few. 

Majority of the time, it’s not worth betting on a heavy favorite since the payout is so little. You’re better off saving heavy favorite picks for parlays.

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