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Intro to MMA Betting

 Credit: Zuffa LLC Copyright: 2018 Zuffa LLC
Credit: Zuffa LLC Copyright: 2018 Zuffa LLC

MMA or Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most exciting sports in the world. It is the one I am most passionate about and today we will take a dive into the betting world surrounding it. Like most sports there exists a robust and strong betting community in MMA, just ask James Krause. (Just kidding, he’s currently the disgraced former coach of an MMA gym implicated along with his fighters in placing inside bets on fight outcomes involving his athletes). Jokes aside, MMA betting on the surface would appear to be like any other sports betting venture, there are the favorites and the underdogs, the pluses and minuses or the rare even matchup where Vegas can’t really call it. Figuring out how to bet on MMA fights and developing a strategy can quickly frustrate even the most experienced of bettors and that’s where I attempt to make sense of the madness.

Unlike most other point-based sports such as basketball, football, soccer, etc. in MMA a dramatic comeback against all odds in the literal last second is an entirely reasonable possibility. Your favorite fighter on the end of a one-sided beatdown in a 15-minute match looking at losing a unanimous decision could secure a knockout or submission finish at 14:59 to earn their win and show money. This adds a level of unpredictability to MMA that you can’t find in other sports. There’s no real way to avoid this possibility, just be aware if you’re new to betting on combat sports such as MMA this could happen and don’t be too hard on yourself if it smashes your parlay.

Another key pointer for placing MMA related bets is the old saying of “styles make fights”. Most sports you place bets on factors such as who has the better team with the better players. Who is injured or recovering from injury? What is the strength of schedule of the teams? These things are harder to pinpoint in MMA. The better fighter with more accolades, accomplishments, and experience doesn’t always win. Injuries are carefully concealed from anyone and everyone except for the most important people in a fighter’s camp. If the injury is severe enough oftentimes the fight doesn’t even occur as the athlete is forced to withdraw, leading to a reschedule for later or an entirely different opponent. Strength of schedule is more valuable than the other two factors, as a fighter consistently facing the upper echelons of competition is either sharpened and experienced by this or broken down and headed for sharp decline as combat sports are difficult on the body. The greatest thing I’ve found to help me is examining the styles of fighters in MMA fights. Knowing strengths and weaknesses of fighters facing off can be a huge factor in getting your bets to hit for you. If you know Fighter A struggles with leg kicks and his opponent is fighter B who won, his last fight off throwing large amounts of leg kicks this can be a bonus to your betting. Even if A is the favorite in that fight that’s a bet I’d love to take a chance on as this information gets overlooked by so many in the betting community. Fighter A is getting taken down in fights all the time and now faces Fighter B who is an accomplished wrestler? Takedown defense can be improved but oftentimes not fast enough for most to overcome such a deficit.

Betting on MMA presents challenges unique to the sport not encountered in other sports, especially team-based ones. Despite this, there are a lot of ways to look at the information and make your best-informed decision before placing your bets. This is just a brief overview of MMA and specifically betting in MMA. More to come and thank you for reading. May all your bets bring you cold hard cash.

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