The UFC is the top MMA organization in the world, with fights scheduled almost every weekend throughout the year. For those new to MMA betting, the terminology and step-by-step process of betting on UFC fights can be confusing. Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how to bet on the UFC.

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How to bet on MMA online

In most states where online betting is legal, there will be more than one sportsbook to choose from. The sign-up process at sports betting sites is typically similar from one to the next. Registration should take only a few minutes and will require you to enter some basic personal information, such as the following:

Eligibility requirements can differ somewhat between states. One thing all states have in common is a minimum age to sign up at a sports betting site. In most states, that age is 21 or older. In a few states, however, the betting age is just 18 or older.

Different types of UFC wagers

Moneyline

This is the most straightforward type of UFC bet. It’s a simple wager on the winner of the fight. For moneyline bets, the round and method do not matter. All you have to do is correctly pick the winner of the fight and your bet will hit. Here’s an example:

For this fight, McGregor is the favorite and Chandler the slight underdog. A $120 bet on McGregor would get you $100 in profit (plus the return of your original stake) if he were to win. A $100 bet on Chandler would earn you $110 in profit if he won. The round and method do not matter for these bets.

Round props

These are bets on which round the fight will end in. Most UFC fights are scheduled for three rounds, with main events, title fights, and a select few special attractions slated for five rounds. Round betting can give you longer odds and a larger potential payout by being more specific about the result. Most sportsbooks offer the option to bet on a specific fighter in a specific round. Some also offer the option to simply bet on the fight ending in a specific round, regardless of which fighter wins. Here’s an example:

This bet cashes in the event of any victory for Pereira that ends the fight in Round 2. If the fight ends in any other round, or if it goes the distance, the bet would lose. At these odds, a $100 bet would stand to win $290 in profit.

Method of victory props

These types of bets typically give you longer odds and bigger potential payouts by allowing you to pick how the fight will end. UFC bouts can end via TKO/KO, submission, decision, draw, or DQ. By far, the most common methods are TKO/KO, submission, and decision. Sportsbooks will typically offer odds on draws, though DQs fall in with KO/TKO in the prop bet category. Most sportsbooks offer method of victory props for every fight on the card, though they often do not become available until a few days prior to the event. Below is an example:

This bet cashes only if Harrison wins the fight via submission. Any other result or method of victory, even if Harrison wins, means the bet loses. For this bet, a wager of $100 would win $310 in profit if it’s correct.

Round totals

These are bets on how long the fight will last, but without requiring you to specify a winner. These are commonly presented as over/under bets, with the sportsbook designating a point in the fight and the bettor choosing whether the fight will end before (under) or after (over) that point. Here’s an example:

This bet would cash only if the fight ends in under two and a half rounds. UFC fights will be scheduled for either three or five rounds, and the rounds are always five minutes in length. This means that the fight would have to end before the 2:30 mark of Round 3 for this bet to be successful. With these odds, a bet of $100 would win you $115 in profit if correct.

First-minute finish props

These are simple yes or no bets on whether a given fight will end within the first 60 seconds of the first round. The method of the finish does not matter, only that the fight ends for any reason within that opening minute. These are especially popular bets in heavier weight classes and in matchups where quick finishes seem likely for one reason or another. Below is an example:

For this bet, a wager of $100 on yes would get you $350 in profit if the fight were to end in the first minute. It doesn’t matter whether the fight ends via injury, disqualification, knockout, accidental foul, etc. All that matters is that the fight does not go over the one-minute mark of Round 1.

Decision props

There are several ways to bet on decisions in a UFC fight. Many sportsbooks will offer UFC odds on whether a specific fight will go the distance, meaning that it does not end within the scheduled number of rounds and comes down to the judges’ scorecards. These are simple yes or no bets and do not typically require you to pick which fighter will win that judges’ decision. 

You can also get more specific by betting on what kind of decision will be rendered in the fight. There are three basic types of judges’ decisions: unanimous (all three judges scoring the fight for the same fighter), split (two judges in favor of one fighter, the third for the opposing fighter), and majority (two judges in favor of one fighter, the third scoring it a draw). Unanimous decisions are the most common, so odds on split/majority decisions tend to be much longer, with bigger potential payouts if you get it right.

Here’s an example of both types of decision props:

The yes bet here would hit only if the fight goes to the judges at the end of the scheduled rounds. The no bet would win if any result stops the fight from reaching the end of the last scheduled round. For this bet, it does not matter which fighter wins or by which method.

Here, the yes bet only cashes if the final result of the fight is a split or majority decision for either fighter. Any other outcome — a knockout, submission, unanimous decision, etc. — and the bet would lose. 

How do I read MMA odds?

UFC odds can seem confusing at first, but they are actually quite simple once you understand what the numbers mean. For each bet, there will be a number with a plus (+) or a minus (-) in front of it. The plus indicates an underdog bet, meaning oddsmakers think it is less likely to happen and therefore you stand to win more money in profit than you wager as your stake if that bet hits. A minus sign indicates a favorite, which means you would win less money in profit than you wagered as your stake.

One easy way to think about it is to consider each bet in terms of $100. For underdog bets, the numbers with the plus sign in front of them show you what you would win in profit with a bet of $100. For favorites, the numbers with the minus sign in front show what you would have to wager as a stake to win $100 in profit. Here’s an example:

Jones is the favorite in the example above. A successful bet of $235 on him would win you $100 in profit, plus the return of your original stake, for a total of $335. Miocic is the underdog. A $100 bet on him would earn you $190 in profit plus the return of your $100 stake, for a total of $290 if he were to win.

Where can I bet on the UFC in the US?

You can bet on UFC fights in any state where online sports betting is legal. Here are the current options:

StatesCan I Bet on MMA?
Arizona sports bettingYes
Arkansas sports bettingYes
Colorado sports bettingYes
Connecticut sports bettingYes
Delaware sports bettingYes
Florida sports bettingYes
Illinois sports bettingYes
Indiana sports bettingYes
Iowa sports bettingYes
Kansas sports bettingYes
Kentucky sports bettingYes
Louisiana sports bettingYes
Maine sports bettingYes (online only)
Maryland sports bettingYes
Massachusetts sports bettingYes
Michigan sports bettingYes
Mississippi sports bettingYes (retail and limited online options)
Montana sports bettingYes (retail and limited online options)
Nebraska sports bettingYes (retail only)
Nevada sports bettingYes
New Hampshire sports bettingYes
New Jersey sports bettingYes
New Mexico sports bettingYes (retail only)
New York sports bettingYes
North Carolina sports bettingYes
North Dakota sports bettingYes (retail only)
Ohio sports bettingYes
Oregon sports bettingYes
Pennsylvania sports bettingYes
Rhode Island sports bettingYes
South Dakota sports bettingYes (retail only)
Tennessee sports bettingYes (online only)
Vermont sports bettingYes (online only)
Virginia sports bettingYes
Washington, D.C., sports bettingYes
Washington sports bettingYes (retail and limited online options)
West Virginia sports bettingYes
Wisconsin sports bettingYes
Wyoming sports bettingYes (online only)

Note that in some states, the options for which online sportsbook you can use may vary. But since the UFC always counts as a professional sport, there are very few restrictions on the types of bets you can place on UFC fights from one state to the next.

MMA betting strategies

There are several strategies for UFC betting that have become popular over the years. The merits of these strategies are for individual bettors to decide on their own, according to their own budgets and goals.

One strategy is to add several heavy favorites from the same fight card into a parlay. While the odds on favorites might not appear enticing on their own, parlaying them together makes for longer odds and bigger potential payouts. The downside of this strategy is that you have to correctly pick the winner in every fight of the parlay. Even one wrong pick brings down the entire parlay, and it’s a rare UFC event that doesn’t include at least a couple of upsets.

Another strategy is to bet on specific outcomes. Some fighters are specialists, meaning that when they win, they tend to win by one method. If a certain fighter is known as a knockout artist, some bettors will bet on him to win via TKO/KO, giving them better odds than they would get on a straight bet to win. This can also happen in reverse. Some bettors will look at one fighter’s vulnerabilities, such as a tendency to lose via submission, and then bet on that fighter’s opponent to win via that method.

Finally, some bettors opt for an approach that’s more dependent on correctly guessing what kind of fight it will be, and not necessarily which fighter will win it. For a matchup that they think is likely to produce a knockout, they might bet that the fight does not go the distance, or even that it does not begin Round 2 (or Round 3, Round 4, etc.). In a fight between two more tactical fighters, or between fighters who aren’t known for finishing opponents, they might bet on the fight to go the distance.

UFC betting FAQ

What happens to my bet if the fight is declared a no-contest?

A no-contest means the fight counts as if it never happened. Since most sportsbooks do not provide the option to bet on a no-contest as one of the possible results, they will likely void the bet and return your stake to your account. This can vary depending on the sportsbook, so be sure to read the house rules prior to betting.

How often do underdogs win in the UFC?

Not every UFC fight has a clear underdog, as some are considered “pick’ems” with even odds on both sides. But through 2023 and the first few months of 2024, underdogs in the UFC have won roughly 33% of the time.

How far in advance can I bet on UFC fights?

For title fights or other high-profile matchups, odds will typically appear as soon as the fight is announced. Some sportsbooks even post odds on rumored fights before anything is official. Odds on undercard bouts may not be posted until the weeks leading up to the event. As soon as your sportsbook of choice posts the odds, you can bet on that fight.

What happens if a UFC fight is canceled after I’ve made my bet?

Fights are sometimes canceled or “scratched” at the last minute, sometimes even just prior to the scheduled start time. This can happen for a number of reasons, but it typically has to do with fighter health. When that happens, sportsbooks will void bets on that fight and return your stake to your account. If that bet was a part of a parlay, most sportsbooks will opt to keep the rest of the parlay intact and simply remove that fight.