From a niche sport that was little more than a curiosity to the dominant brand in the world of mixed martial arts, it’s been quite the ride for the UFC. The UFC is far removed from its days of obscurity as fights and cards now attract tons of betting action and millions of pay-per-view viewers.
The growth of UFC has run parallel with another huge story from the sporting world: the rise of legalized sports betting. Several states now have completely legal and regulated sports betting industries, and business is booming.
Virginia online sportsbooks have joined the party, so you can bet on the UFC right here at home. On this page we’ll cover everything you need to know about UFC betting, from how to bet on the fights to the best spots to legally and safely place your UFC bets.
Here are our top three recommended mobile apps for UFC betting.
The same things that brought DraftKings to the top of the daily fantasy sports world are moving it to the forefront of the US sports betting industry. Million-dollar guarantees, competitive lines, and easy-to-use software are sure wins with bettors and VA will see why when DraftKings Virginia Sportsbook launches. UFC bettors can expect:
Also originally known as a daily fantasy titan, FanDuel has quickly become a top destination for sports betting in each legal market the company has entered to date. The betting platform is right up there with DraftKings for ease-of-use and their lines may be a little bit more player-friendly. Odds boosts and risk-free bets for new users are also on the table. For UFC cards expect:
Casino and gaming giant MGM isn’t about to let DraftKings and FanDuel run away with the Virginia sports betting market. Expect BetMGM to compete for new sports bettors in Virginia with a major new player offer and lots of UFC betting lines among other sports. BetMGM currently offers:
BetMGM has made great strides in each market entered to date. We can safely expect more of the same here in VA.
To create an account with these operators, click through on our links to claim the exclusive deposit bonuses. From there, enter a few details and your new account will be set in minutes. Download the iOS or Android app directly from the operator website. Log in on mobile, and you’ll be ready to bet on UFC on the go.
The UFC holds dozens of pay-per-view and regional fight cards throughout the year. Some are known as Fight Nights and can be found on cable television, while the biggest fights and events are reserved for the pay-per-view spectacles.
Regardless of the type of event, the card will generally be filled with fights, ranging from prelims to the main event. You can bet on every fight from the opener to the finale, or simply pick your spots on the fights you find most appealing.
At online sportsbooks and sportsbook apps, you’ll see the odds for each of the fights under the UFC tab. Fight odds will look something like this.
The default listing revolves around which fighter will win the fight. Odds are the same as they are for any other sporting event; favorites have negative (-) odds while the underdog has a positive (+) number attached.
If you click through fight odds you’ll find several other ways to bet on each fight. Here’s a look at the top ways to get in on the action.
The moneyline bet is a bet on which fighter will win. The odds help to point out the closeness of the fight. The tighter the range between the favorite and underdog, the closer it may be. A wide span points to a potential mismatch.
This is a bet on how the fight will end. Typically, you can make your bet on the fighter of your choice to win by:
If you’re looking for a way to use a spread on UFC, this is an area to look at. For fights that go the distance, you can choose the winning side plus or minus a certain number of points on the scorecards.
This is just like a totals bet that you’ll find in other sports. Instead of points, you’re simply trying to pinpoint the total number of rounds the fight will last. Oddsmakers set the bar, so you just have to choose over or under.
This wager asks for you to pinpoint the exact round that the fight will end. You should see choices for both fighters and the number of rounds with corresponding odds that point to the likelihood.
Instead of trying to figure out the exact round, the fight will end in, this wager allows you to go with a range of rounds. For each level of choice, the sportsbook will provide odds based on the most likely outcome as they see it.
For those new to UFC betting, a good starting point is sticking to picking fight winners. If there’s a fight you have a good read on, that’s a great time to try some other bet types.
Remember that there’s no need to bet on every fight on the card. If it’s a fight that you can’t make heads or tails of, take a pass and focus on the others.
The betting action doesn’t end once the fights get underway. You can bet right along with every twist and turn inside of the octagon. That’s thanks to live betting, a fast-growing segment of the sports betting experience.
Live betting lets you make bets in real-time as the action unfolds. It has evolved from an interesting innovation to a staple at online sportsbooks. As you would expect, fight odds move fast.
The good news is that the top betting apps make it easy to stay on top of things. There’s a dedicated section for live betting so you can zero in on what’s happening right now. The actual bet types will vary, but here are some examples of what you might see.
For the latter, there will be updated odds based on what’s happening in real-time. As an example, if Kamaru Usman enters as a big favorite but winds up struggling in the early going, you might see a bet offered on the moneyline that reflects the new reality.
Live betting provides you with the chance to hedge your initial bets if something like this comes to pass. If you now felt that Gilbert Burns was going to win as opposed to your original pick of Usman, you could mitigate some of the damage with a new bet.
Alternatively, you could double down on Usman at even more favorable odds if you feel he’s going to turn it around. Mobile apps make it easy to place your live bets as the action is playing out, but be sure to stick to a plan and budget so you don’t go overboard.
It wasn’t too long ago that folks across the US simply didn’t have any options outside of Las Vegas for legal and regulated sports betting. That led to a rise in offshore sportsbooks and other risky options.
These days, legal and licensed sportsbooks abound in several different states, including right here in VA. There’s simply not much of a case to be made for taking unnecessary risks. Here are just some of the main reasons why you’ll want to do all of your business with a legal and regulated entity.
The bottom line, it’s helpful to do a simple risk to reward assessment. Sure, there are other options out there, but exactly how does it make sense to take your business somewhere risky when there are perfectly legal and safe options to choose from?
One of the big benefits of betting on UFC is that fight cards are announced well in advance of the event. There may be some changes along the way, but you’ll have plenty of time to prepare. For handicapping purposes, that extra time can be invaluable.
Naturally, you’ll want to break down the matchups as best as you can while looking for edges on either side. Here are some tips you can use as you work towards making that happen.
When odds are released for the fight, check the odds in multiple spots and continue to keep an eye on them. Some books may release more attractive prices than others, and the odds can also be impacted by betting action.
Not every UFC fighter is built the same. For example, some may come from a grappling background, while others may be more well-rounded. If you understand the styles of those involved, you’ll begin to get a feel for how the match may go. Certain styles just don’t mesh well with others, while some mixes can be almost too close to call.
As you research the fighters, pay attention to who they have faced in the past. If they happen to have crossed paths with the same fighters, there can be some valuable intel to glean. Also, pay particularly close attention to how things have been going over the last three fights or so and don’t just solely rely on the overall record.
There’s plenty of media coverage of UFC, so there are typically lots of tidbits to digest about upcoming fights. Be sure to stay aware of what’s going on and make note of any out of the ring things that could impact the proceedings, such as weight, travel, injuries, or distractions that might impact the focus of one of the participants.
You don’t need to master every bet type or wager on the entire card from top to bottom before you are ready. There’s nothing wrong with starting small and working your way up. Legal sports betting isn’t going anywhere, so you’ll have plenty of time to increase your play and style of betting as your skills advance.
If you’re looking for help in breaking down the fights, there are plenty of free resources to lean on. You’ll also find subscription sites and picks for sale, but be a diligent shopper if you head down this path and stick to those with verifiable reputations.
Upsets are a part of life in sports, and it’s no different in the UFC. While favorites certainly win their fair share, underdogs can surprise here and there. Through the years, there have been several notable upsets in the octagon. Here’s a look at three of the biggest of all time.
Rousey was in the midst of her dominant run in the bantamweight division which had helped her to become a cultural icon. Then she ran into Holm. The underdog shocked the world with a second-round win in the 2015 fight.
Weidman pulled out two victories over the legendary Silva, but the first one was the most notable. The big underdog took down the long-reigning middleweight champ in 2013 and followed that up with another victory over Silva in the rematch.
This one happened way back at UFC 69. St-Pierre was on his way to becoming one of the top fighters in the sport’s history, but Serra stunned him with a TKO. St-Pierre would go on to avenge the defeat, but that doesn’t take away from the result of fight one.
Once the bell rings, anything can happen in the cage. While monumental upsets such as those up above aren’t necessarily easy to spot, don’t be shy about taking a shot on some underdogs you have a good feel for.
The inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship was held on November 12, 1993, at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. The concept was derived to find the best fighting style from a range of competitors. That resulted in an eight-man tournament which was won by Royce Gracie.
The first event was more of a curiosity than anything, and it became notable for not having any weight classes or rounds. UFC continued to evolve throughout the 1990s, and it would run into plenty of criticism and opposition along the way.
Nonetheless, the organization prevailed, and it began to take off after the turn of the century. UFC achieved mainstream credibility when it joined the Fox Sports family and has subsequently moved on with some events broadcast on ESPN.
Pay-per-view remains a staple, and UFC is no longer just a niche on the outside of the sporting establishment. It’s now big business with some estimates placing the overall valuation at a staggering $7 billion.
Here’s a look at some of the more notable records in UFC history.
The official owner and operator of UFC are known as Endeavor Holdings, while Dana White serves as president and the effective face of the brand. A group led by WME-IMG purchased UFC from original owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in 2016 for around $4 billion.
In 2019, UFC held 42 events. You can typically expect to find a few events per month. Some will be of the smaller variety, others will be Fight Nights, while the biggest attractions are reserved for pay-per-view. For cards not on PPV, you can usually find them on the ESPN family of networks or the ESPN+ subscription service.
An average fighter in the UFC is looking at potentially over six figures per year as a starting point. For those who climb the ranks and achieve champion or superstar status, the earnings can creep into seven figures. When you add in the potential for endorsements and other revenue streams, the top fighters in UFC can earn a nice living.
Bellator has a pretty good following in the MMA world, but it’s not quite at the level of UFC in terms of mainstream appeal. As such, finding odds and lines for fights in that group isn’t as simple. UFC is a staple offering at online and mobile sportsbooks, but not every operator offers Bellator. Check with the books that you play regularly for an exact list of markets offered.
UFC has held a trio of events at the Patriot Center in Fairfax.
Two UFC events have been held in Norfolk, both at the Chartway Arena.