The UFC is the biggest professional fighting organization in the sport of mixed martial arts. With events almost every weekend, ranging from small shows at its Las Vegas facility to major pay-per-views all around the world, the sport has a wide range of content offerings. There are several ways for fighters to win UFC bouts, and therefore many different UFC betting options in each fight.
Below, we’ll look at some of the basics about how to bet on the UFC. This includes where and how to bet on the sport via top US sportsbooks, as well as a guide to odds and key terms within the sport of MMA itself.
Top sportsbooks with promos for UFC betting
How to bet on the UFC
Legal sportsbooks will usually provide odds on every fight scheduled for a UFC event, from the first few prelim bouts to the main event. For each bout, there will typically be multiple facets to bet on. Most options involve betting on how and when the fight will end.
Bouts in MMA can end in a variety of ways and at virtually any point in the contest. This is one of the variables that add a lot of excitement to the sport and also creates an array of betting options.
Get more information on UFC odds.
Step-by-step guide to betting on the UFC:
- Choose a sports betting app that is legal and available in your state.
- Sign up for an account by filling out the necessary personal information. Be sure to read up on the promos at that sportsbook. Many will have special sign-up bonuses that you can claim.
- Select a deposit method and add money to your account.
- You’re now ready to make a UFC bet.
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Deposit and withdrawal methods
Different sportsbooks may offer different ways of putting money into and getting money out of your account. Two of the most popular options that you’ll find at most major books are PayPal and ACH.
PayPal is among the top choices because the transactions typically clear quickly. PayPal also doesn’t charge a fee per transaction, as some other e-wallet options might.
ACH (or automated clearing house) transfers are basically electronic transfers between banks. As long as you have an account at a bank that your sportsbook accepts, this can be a convenient choice that’s also usually fairly quick and easy.
Some sportsbooks also accept credit cards or debit cards. These sometimes involve extra fees, and not all sportsbooks provide this as an option. Similarly, some but not all sportsbooks also accept Venmo and Cash App.
Typical welcome bonuses
Sportsbooks will often advertise promotions in an attempt to draw new users who may be choosing between several options. These offers can vary from state to state, and the exact details can change from one week to the next. It’s important to read up on the current bonuses for the sportsbooks available in your state.
Two of the best sportsbook promos are when you make your first deposit or first bet. First-bet bonuses usually provide an incentive for signing up and placing your first wager at the sportsbook. First-deposit bonuses, meanwhile, often match a set percentage of your initial deposit at that sportsbook.
All bonuses generally take the form of site credit or “bonus bets.” These are funds that you can use on wagers at that particular sportsbook, typically for bets on any sport that the sportsbook offers. They are not, however, eligible for you to withdraw as cash. Bonus funds also usually expire if you don’t wager them within a certain time frame, so be sure to read the details of each bonus.
Types of UFC events to bet on
UFC events usually fit into one of three tiers: UFC pay-per-views, UFC network/cable TV events and UFC Fight Nights.
UFC pay-per-views are the numbered events (UFC 283, UFC 284, etc.), and they tend to be the most star-studded affairs. Viewable at a premium price via ESPN+ pay-per-view in the US, these are where you’ll usually see UFC title fights as well as bouts between the biggest stars and top contenders. These events take place roughly once a month with the current schedule.
UFC network/cable TV events (UFC on ABC, UFC on ESPN, etc.) happen slightly less frequently but usually feature at least a few big names on the fight card. While these aren’t the top of the UFC content pyramid, they do often include some important matchups designed for a more general audience.
UFC Fight Nights are the most common events, with around two to three per month. In the US, they’re only available via the ESPN+ streaming service, which requires a monthly fee. These tend to feature more fighters who are new to the UFC and therefore not as well-known to fans. Nonetheless, sportsbooks will still offer odds on every scheduled fight.
UFC betting apps
DraftKings is one of the most visible and well-known online sports betting companies. Based in Boston, it offers multiple betting options for every UFC fight and bills itself as the official sportsbook of the UFC. DraftKings also has a sign-up bonus for new users.
DraftKings Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV and WY.
FanDuel began as a daily fantasy sports provider and has become one of the major players in online sports betting. The app offers easy and intuitive navigation, as well as a range of betting options for all UFC fights.
FanDuel Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV and WY.
BetMGM is now available in a number of states and has enjoyed a growing footprint in the online sports betting space. It offers a wide array of odds on every scheduled UFC event.
BetMGM Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, DC, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, MS, NJ, OH, NV, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV and WY. Note: Welcome bonus not available in DC, MS, NV or NY.
PointsBet, an Australian-based sportsbook, has grown quickly since its US debut in 2019. The sportsbook has been an innovator in short-term betting options, which it calls “lightning bets.”
PointsBet Sportsbook is available in the following states: CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA and WV.
BetRivers first started as a regional presence, but it has become an increasingly bigger name in sports betting. It offers a strong rewards program and many types of bets on UFC bouts.
BetRivers Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, LA, MD, MI, OH, NJ, NY, PA, VA and WV.
UFC betting terms
Moneyline: This refers to a straight bet on the winner of a fight. For this bet, the method, time and round of victory do not matter. It’s simply about correctly picking which fighter will win, with the odds determining your payout. A positive odds number indicates an underdog, while a negative number indicates a favorite. If the odds are +200, it means that a winning bet of $100 would get you $200, as well as the return of your original stake. Odds of -200 mean that a bet of $200 would stand to win a profit of $100, as well as the return of your original stake.
Over/under rounds: This refers to what round the fight will end in. Most UFC fights are scheduled for three rounds, with main events and title fights are usually scheduled for five rounds. Sportsbooks will set a line — for example, 2.5 rounds — and you can bet on whether the fight will go over that point or end before that point.
Prop bets: A prop (short for proposition) bet is a wager on specific things to happen during a fight. Usually, these refer to how the fight will end, or when. There are fight props, such as whether the fight will continue until the end of the last scheduled round (often called “going the distance,” at which point judges’ scorecards will determine the result). There are also round props, such as choosing the exact round in which the fight will end.
Winning method: These are bets on exactly how the fight will end. UFC fights can end in a number of ways: knockout/technical knockout, submission, decision, disqualification or draw. Most sportsbooks will offer odds on each fighter for each method of victory. Many will also offer odds on the fight to end via a certain method without requiring you to specify a winner.
First-minute finish: This is a bet on the fight to end in the first minute of the first round. The winning method and even the winning fighter typically do not matter for this wager. All that’s necessary is to correctly predict that the fight will end within the first 60 seconds.
Fight to start round X: This is a bet on whether the fight will reach a given round. For instance, if you think a fight will end at some point within the first two rounds, you might take the “no” bet on the fight to start the third round. For this bet, it does not matter why the fight doesn’t start that round or which fighter wins.
UFC betting FAQs
Can I bet on UFC fights?
Yes. Most major sportsbooks will offer odds on every scheduled fight for every UFC event. Often the main events or main card bouts will have a variety of betting options, while some of the preliminary bouts might have only a few.
When do UFC events take place?
Most UFC events happen on Saturday evening or afternoon in North America. Occasionally, due to time zone differences, UFC events in other countries will be broadcast live in the morning in North America. The UFC holds events almost every weekend throughout the year, with no offseason.
How many UFC fights are there per year?
The current UFC schedule usually includes around 42 events per year, with about 12 fights per event. Fights are sometimes canceled at the last minute for various reasons, including injury or illness, so the number of total fights is always slightly lower than the number on the schedule. In 2022, there were 511 total fights in the UFC. Of those, 19 were title fights.
How is UFC betting different from wagering on other sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, etc.?
The main thing to remember about UFC bouts is that they can end at any time. Knockouts can happen with a single punch or kick. Submissions can develop seemingly out of nowhere. And once the referee steps in to stop the fight, it cannot be restarted even if the stoppage seems premature. Fights also go the distance with some frequency, at which point the winner comes down to the decision of three judges at cageside.
What happens to my bet if the result of the fight changes later?
The results of fights sometimes change days or weeks later, either due to fighter appeals or drug test results. Most sportsbooks, however, will go with the result that is announced in the cage on fight night and will pay out bets accordingly.