by Matt Rogers
Since the ancient days of gladiators, spectators have enjoyed the thrill of betting on combative sporting contests. Every moment of a fight seems much more exciting when there is money riding on the outcome. Today is no different, as a growing number of people are betting on modern-day gladiatorial contests - mixed martial arts events. I believe even more people would be wagering on these events if it weren't for a lack of knowledge of how to go about doing so. Therefore, I'm providing the following guide on mixed martial arts betting - an explanation of what the odds mean and what areas to look at when picking a winner. This information is presented so you can enjoy events such as the UFC and Pride to the fullest, and maybe even make a little money along the way.
Picking a Winner in Mixed Martial Arts Betting
The nature of mixed martial arts makes it a difficult sport to consistently pick the winner. This is because there is such a wide range of skill sets for fighters to draw from and contend with. However, after ten plus years of mixed martial arts in the United States, with a history of entrants ranging from self-proclaimed ninjas to Olympic wrestlers, it has become obvious that a fighter's success in mixed martial arts depends on three basic components. By analyzing a fighter's strength in these three components as compared to his opponent, it is easier to pick a likely winner.
1) Stand-up Striking: This category includes skill sets such as muay thai kickboxing and western boxing, and uses weapons such as punches, kicks, elbows and knees. Basically, how good is the fighter at attacking and defending while on his feet? If a fighter has shown to be competent in these skills sets, he will often be referred to as having "good stand-up."
2) Ground Grappling: This category includes skill sets such as jiu jitsu and sambo. A fighter's ground grapping ability will determine how likely he is able to control his opponent on the ground or finish the fight with a submission hold such as an armlock, leglock or choke.
3) Wrestling: This category is not only limited to the sport of wrestling; it also includes skill sets such as judo. This component determines how well a fighter is able to bring his opponent to the ground, or prevent the opponent from bringing him to the ground. Fighters with a strong wrestling component are able to dictate whether the fight takes place on the feet or on the ground.
In addition to these three main components of mixed martial arts, there are also various minor components that may play a role in the outcome of a fight. These include:
1) Injury: Obviously, an injury can have an adverse role in a fighter's performance come fight night. MMA fighters often try to hide injuries they've sustained during training to prevent their opponents from enjoying a psychological advantage.
2) Win Streak: One of the most important factors for a fighter is confidence. If a fighter is coming off an impressive win streak, his confidence is likely to be high.
3) Past Performance Against Opponent: If a fight is a rematch, the past performance of either fighter can be indicative of things to come. However, the longer the time period between the first fight and the rematch, the less influence this has in picking a winner.
Understanding Mixed Martial Arts Betting Odds
To help explain how the odds for betting on UFC or other MMA events work, I will provide an example of odds from one of the most watched UFC main events of all time, the rematch of Randy Couture versus Chuck Liddell.
Randy Couture to win -265
Chuck Liddell to win +175
Pick each fighter individually to win by knockout:
Couture by KO or stoppage +210
Liddell by KO or stoppage +270
Pick each fighter to win by submission
Couture by Submission +285
Liddell by Submission +315
If a newcomer to the betting world took a look at these numbers, he or she may be a bit confused. However, it really isn't all that complicated.
Should a bettor pick Randy Couture to win, Couture would have to win by any means, and the bettor would receive $100 for every $265 wagered. If the better had chosen Liddell to win, Liddell would have to win by any means and the better would receive $175 for every $100 wagered.
Should a bettor pick Couture to win by knockout or ref stoppage, he or she would win $210 for every $100 wagered. Choosing Liddell by knockout or ref stoppage would pay $270 for every $100 wagered.
Picking a winner by submission is similar to picking a fighter by knockout. Should a bettor pick Couture to win by submission, the bettor would receive $285 for every $100 wagered. Picking Liddell by submission would pay $315 for every $100 bet.
In addition to his careers as a freelance writer and personal fitness trainer, Matt Rogers has been a professional mixed martial arts competitor since 1999. He won the Florida State Mixed Martial Arts Championship in 2001, defending it three times before moving on to fight in other organizations, and was ranked no. 1 in the 190 lb. division by the World Vale Tudo Federation (WVF).