The Thrill of Betting on Boxing and MMA

Betting on Boxing and MMA

Betting on combat sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) has been popular for ages. The unpredictability, intensity, and excitement that these sports offers make them perfect candidates for thrilling betting experiences. Fans can engage in a deeper level of connection with the sports they love while potentially earning some extra money by predicting the outcomes of the fights.

The rise of combat sports in the United States can be attributed to the increasing number of high-profile fights, celebrity endorsements, and the widespread availability of televised events. Fighters like Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather, and Ronda Rousey have captured the attention of fans and bettors alike. This growth in popularity has fueled an ever-expanding market for betting on boxing and MMA events.

Notable Combat Matches in the Past Decade

Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo (UFC 194, December 2015)

In a highly anticipated featherweight title bout at UFC 194, Conor McGregor faced off against reigning champion Jose Aldo. In a stunning turn of events, McGregor knocked out Aldo in just 13 seconds, becoming the new UFC Featherweight Champion. This victory solidified McGregor’s status as a superstar and set the record for the fastest finish in a UFC title fight.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao (May 2015)

Floyd Mayweather’s bout against Manny Pacquiao was dubbed the “Fight of the Century” and broke numerous records, including the highest-grossing PPV event in history, with 4.6 million buys. Mayweather showcased his defensive prowess and tactical brilliance, earning a unanimous decision victory and maintaining his perfect record.

Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm (UFC 193, November 2015)

Ronda Rousey’s fight against Holly Holm was one of the most shocking upsets in UFC history. Rousey, the seemingly invincible bantamweight champion, was defeated by Holm via a second-round head kick knockout. The fight generated over 1.1 million PPV buys, and Rousey’s loss marked the end of her dominant reign in women’s MMA.

Jake Paul: Paul vs. Tyron Woodley (August 2021)

In his fourth professional boxing match, YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul faced former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Paul’s performance showcased his progress as a boxer, as he won the fight via a split decision. The event was a financial success, generating over 500,000 PPV buys and further establishing Paul as a controversial figure in the world of combat sports.

Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 248, March 2020)

Zhang Weili, the reigning UFC Strawweight Champion, defended her title against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a thrilling, back-and-forth battle. The fight is widely considered one of the greatest women’s MMA bouts of all time. Both fighters showcased incredible striking skills, heart, and resilience throughout the contest. After five intense rounds, Weili emerged as the winner via split decision, retaining her title in a fight that will be remembered for its non-stop action and the warriors’ spirit displayed by both athletes

Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz (October 2020)

Gervonta “Tank” Davis, a rising star in the boxing world, faced four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz in a highly anticipated super featherweight and lightweight title bout. The fight was competitive from the beginning, with both fighters displaying their offensive skills and trading punches throughout the contest. However, in the sixth round, Davis unleashed a brutal uppercut that knocked Santa Cruz out cold. The fight earned Davis the WBA Super Featherweight and WBA Lightweight titles, making him a simultaneous two-division champion.

Understanding the Basics of Betting

Betting Terminology and Concepts

To better understand and navigate the world of combat sports betting, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with common betting terminology and concepts. Below is a list of key terms and concepts every bettor should know:

  • Moneyline: A type of bet where you wager on the outright winner of a fight. Odds are expressed as positive (underdog) or negative (favorite) numbers, indicating potential payouts or required wagers.
  • Point Spread: A bet that involves predicting not only the winner of a fight but also the margin of victory. Bookmakers set a point spread, and bettors must decide if the favorite will win by more than the spread or if the underdog will lose by less than the spread, or win outright.
  • Over/Under: Also known as “totals,” this bet involves predicting whether the combined total of specific events in a fight (e.g., total rounds) will be over or under a predetermined number set by the bookmaker.
  • Prop Bets: Short for “proposition bets,” these wagers involve betting on specific events or occurrences within a fight, such as the method of victory, a round of victory, or whether a fight will go the distance.
  • Parlays: A single bet that combines multiple individual bets (or “legs”) into one wager. To win a parlay, all individual bets must be correct. Parlays offer higher potential payouts but come with increased risk.
  • Futures: Bets placed on events that will happen in the future, such as who will win an upcoming championship fight or who will be named the Fighter of the Year.
  • In-Play Betting: Also known as “live betting,” this involves placing bets on events happening during a fight in real time. In-play betting allows bettors to react to changing circumstances and potentially capitalize on unexpected occurrences.
  • Odds: The probability of an outcome occurring, as determined by bookmakers. Odds are expressed in various formats, such as American, decimal, or fractional, and indicate the potential payout for a successful bet.
  • Vigorish (or “Vig” or “Juice”): The commission that bookmakers charge on bets, which is built into the odds. The vigorish is how sportsbooks make a profit.
  • Bankroll: The total amount of money a bettor has set aside specifically for betting purposes. Responsible bankroll management is essential for long-term betting success and minimizing losses.
  • Unit: A standard measurement of a bettor’s wager, often expressed as a percentage of their bankroll. Using units helps bettors maintain consistent bet sizes and manage their bankroll more effectively.
  • Value Betting: Identifying and placing bets where the perceived probability of an outcome occurring is greater than the odds offered by bookmakers. Value betting can lead to long-term profits.

Types of Bets in Boxing and MMA

Various types of bets can be placed on boxing and MMA events, such as moneyline bets, total round bets, method of victory bets, and prop bets. Moneyline bets focus on predicting the outright winner, while total round bets involve predicting whether the fight will go over or under a predetermined number of rounds. 

Method of victory bets requires bettors to predict not only the winner but also how the fight will end, such as by knockout, submission, or decision. Prop bets are more specialized and can involve a wide range of unique betting options, from predicting the exact round of a knockout to whether a specific event will occur during a fight.

Calculating Odds and Payouts

Understanding how to calculate odds and potential payouts is essential for any bettor. In the United States, odds are typically expressed as moneylines. A positive moneyline represents the amount of money a bettor would win on a $100 bet, while a negative moneyline shows how much a bettor must wager to win $100. Calculating potential payouts based on these odds helps bettors evaluate the risk-reward balance of each wager.

Top US Sportsbooks for Betting on Boxing and MMA

DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook is a leading online betting platform in the United States, known for its extensive range of betting options and user-friendly interface. They offer competitive odds on boxing and MMA events, as well as a variety of promotional offers and bonuses for new and existing users. DraftKings also provides useful resources and expert analysis to help bettors make informed decisions.

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook is another popular choice for combat sports betting in the US, offering a wide array of betting options and competitive odds on both boxing and MMA events. Sportsbook FanDuel features an intuitive user interface, making it easy for bettors to find the events they are interested in. They also provide numerous promotional offers and bonuses for new and existing customers.

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM Sportsbook is a prominent online sportsbook that offers a comprehensive range of betting options for combat sports enthusiasts. With a user-friendly platform and competitive odds, BetMGM covers a wide variety of boxing and MMA events. They also offer various promotions and bonuses for both new and existing customers, enhancing the overall betting experience.

PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet Sportsbook is a unique online betting platform in the US, offering a distinct betting style known as “points betting” in addition to traditional betting options. Their platform provides an extensive selection of betting markets for boxing and MMA, as well as competitive odds and promotions. PointsBet also offers useful resources and expert analysis to help bettors make well-informed decisions.

Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars Sportsbook, backed by the renowned Caesars Entertainment brand, is another top choice for combat sports betting in the US. They offer a wide range of betting options and competitive odds on boxing and MMA events. Caesars Sportsbook features an easy-to-use interface, numerous promotional offers, and valuable resources to assist bettors in making informed decisions.

Betting Strategies and Tips

Researching Fighters’ Statistics and Background

A crucial aspect of successful combat sports betting is conducting thorough research on fighters’ statistics and backgrounds. Evaluating factors such as win-loss records, fighting styles, strengths, and weaknesses can provide valuable insights into potential outcomes. This research can help bettors identify promising betting opportunities and avoid potential pitfalls.

Analyzing Styles and Matchups

Understanding the styles and matchups in a fight is essential for making informed betting decisions. Certain fighting styles may have advantages or disadvantages against specific opponents, which can significantly impact the outcome of a fight. By analyzing these matchups, bettors can identify value bets and make more accurate predictions.

Considering Injuries and Training Camps

Injuries and training camps can play a crucial role in a fighter’s performance. Knowing about any existing injuries or issues within a fighter’s training camp can provide bettors with valuable insights that may impact the outcome of a fight. Keeping up to date with news and updates about fighters can help bettors make more informed decisions.

Staying Updated on the Latest News

Another crucial aspect of successful combat sports betting is staying updated on the latest news and developments in the sport. This includes keeping an eye on fighters’ training, injuries, weight cuts, and any other factors that may influence their performance. By staying informed, you can make better decisions when placing bets and potentially gain an edge over other bettors who may not be as up-to-date.

Legal Landscape and Responsible Gambling

Sports Betting Regulations in the US

Sports betting regulations in the United States vary by state, with each jurisdiction having its own rules and requirements. Bettors need to understand the legal landscape in their state to ensure they are betting within the confines of the law. As sports betting becomes more widely accepted, regulations are expected to evolve, providing more opportunities for bettors in the US.

The legal landscape for sports betting, including combat sports, has undergone significant changes in the United States in recent years. The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in May 2018 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) paved the way for individual states to legalize and regulate sports betting.

As of September 2021, more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of sports betting. Among these, states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have emerged as major markets for combat sports betting, with numerous sportsbooks operating both online and in physical locations. It’s crucial to stay updated on the laws and regulations in your state to ensure you are betting legally and responsibly.

Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling is crucial for a healthy and enjoyable betting experience. Setting spending limits, avoiding chasing losses, and maintaining a balanced approach to gambling are essential practices for bettors. Additionally, choosing a reputable sportsbook and employing safe online practices can help protect bettors’ money and personal information. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Set a budget: Allocate a specific amount of money for betting, separate it from your finances, and stick to that budget.
  • Don’t chase losses: If you lose a bet, avoid the temptation to bet larger amounts in an attempt to win back your losses quickly. Chasing losses can lead to a vicious cycle and potentially significant financial damage.
  • Stay informed: Educate yourself about the sports and fighters you’re betting on. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions.
  • Recognize the signs of problem gambling: Be aware of the signs of gambling addiction, such as betting beyond your means, constantly thinking about gambling, or lying to friends and family about your betting activities. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone you know, seek help from organizations like the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) or Gamblers Anonymous.
  • Know when to walk away: Set limits for yourself in terms of time spent betting and the number of bets you place. If you find yourself struggling to stop, take a break or seek assistance from a support group or professional.
  • Use self-exclusion tools: Many sportsbooks offer self-exclusion tools, allowing you to voluntarily suspend your account for a specified period if you feel you need a break from betting.

By adhering to responsible gambling practices and staying informed about your local laws and regulations, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding combat sports betting experience.

The Future of Boxing and MMA Betting

Emergence of New Betting Markets

As combat sports continue to grow in popularity, new betting markets are expected to emerge, providing bettors with more opportunities to wager on various aspects of boxing and MMA events. These new markets may include:

  • In-play betting
  • Fighter-specific prop bets, and 
  • More exotic wagering options

Impact of Technology on Combat Sports Betting

Technology will continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of combat sports betting. Innovations such as live streaming, virtual reality, and data analytics will enhance the overall betting experience, providing bettors with more information and immersive ways to engage with the sports they love. These advancements are likely to attract new audiences and encourage further growth in the boxing and MMA betting markets.


Betting on boxing and MMA events offers a thrilling and rewarding experience for sports enthusiasts. With a growing market and an increasing number of high-profile fights, combat sports betting provides numerous opportunities for bettors to engage with their favorite sports on a deeper level. 

By understanding the basics of betting, choosing reputable sportsbooks, and employing responsible gambling practices, bettors can enjoy the excitement of predicting fight outcomes while potentially earning some extra money.