Author's Note: Welcome, my fellow MMA enthusiasts and UFC die hards, to my weekly “Hunting the UFC” column for The Betting Predators website. In this article, you’ll find pertinent sports betting information pertaining to all things MMA, but more specifically, to the UFC. The enthusiasm surrounding MMA wagering is at an all-time high right now, and therefore, my goal is to provide you with valuable information that will help you gain an edge in your quest to beating the sports books and making money in the long term. The key here is “long-term,” as much of the information provided in these articles can be applied across multiple events and across multiple pro MMA organizations as well. For this week, we will focus on the basics of MMA prop betting strategy, focusing on distinct edges and examples we can use to capitalize on, no matter what main event or UFC card is upon us. Now let’s dive into this week’s article!
This week’s topic focuses on prop betting in MMA, which in our case, is essentially any bet that is placed on a fight that is outside of simply picking the outright winner of the fight. These types of bets in MMA can often offer the individual bettor who places them more favorable odds and increased value than your typical outright winner. The three most common types of MMA prop bets are “Method of Victory,” “Length of the Fight,” and “Round Betting.” Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at each one of these prop types:
Method of Victory Props: How will the fight end for the victorious fighter?
There are several ways a fight can end for a victorious fighter - whether it's via Knockout (KO)/Technical Knockout (TKO), Submission, Decision, or Disqualification - and the sports books will offer bettors an opportunity to essentially parlay the winner of the fight with the method in which they do it for much better odds. These bets are very enticing and can be very profitable as well, if you do your research. The trick here is to find a fighter/matchup that tends to lend itself to a specific outcome the majority of the time.
A great example of this is a matchup set for this Saturday night at the UFC Fight Night 186: Rozenstruik v. Gane card: Angela Hill (-345) takes on Ashley Yoder (+285) in a Strawweight bout. Angela Hill has 21 professional MMA fights in her career, and 14 of her 21 fights have gone to a decision. That’s better than a 66% clip! Hill also comes into Saturday’s fight off of three straight decisions while her opponent, Ashley Yoder, has 14 professional fights in her career, and 10 of those 14 fights have also gone to a decision.
That’s better than a 71% clip! As a matter of fact, the last time one of Yoder's fights did not go to a decision was all the way back on December 9th, 2016 (that's eight straight decisions). Finally, and maybe most importantly, Angela Hill beat Ashley Yoder 3+ years ago at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale via - you guessed it - a decision. So, if you like Angela Hill to get the victory here again - and I do - this is where you want to use the “Method of Victory” prop angle and take Angela Hill to win via Decision (-165). You’re getting Hill at -165 instead of an inflated -345 line. This prop more than doubles our initial ML odds.
Length of Fight Props: Will the fight complete the scheduled amount of rounds? Will the fight go over or under a certain amount of rounds?
This prop is pretty straightforward. For example, a three-round fight may have an over/under set at 1.5 rounds (7 minutes and 30 seconds of fight time total). This line will vary based on the fighter’s skillset and the matchup itself. Outside of picking a fighter to win outright, this is our second most common prop bet.
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 186: Rozenstruik v. Gane also offers up a “Length of the Fight” prop bet that we can take advantage of. Now I must admit, this prop play is pretty chalky, but it's based on the numbers and still a solid play regardless. Pedro Munhoz takes on Jimmie Rivera in a fun bantamweight bout.
Both of these fighters are super tough and durable as their respective records show. Munhoz has five total losses in his career, all five coming via decision. Removing his first six career fights - due to their being no method of victory being recorded for them - eight of his 17 fights have gone to a decision (47%). Furthermore, four of his last six fights have gone to a decision (67%), including each of his last two.
Rivera, on the other hand, has gone to a decision in eight of his last nine bouts (89%), including four straight coming into this matchup. Rivera has also had 17 of his 27 total career fights go to a decision (63%).
If all of those stats weren’t enough, consider that Rivera beat Munhoz 5+ years ago at UFC Fight Night 77 via, you guessed it again, a decision. All in all, this fight lines up to be a tough, back and forth scrap, that will eventually go to the judge’s scorecards. If you believe in the durability of both fighters, along with their propensity to fight to a decision, the Munhoz v. Rivera “fight goes to decision” prop (-230) is a solid bet.
Round Betting Props: What round will the fight end?
This prop is easy to understand, sure, but it's one that is hard to be long-term profitable playing. There are two ways of playing this prop, and one way is much more difficult than the other. The first way is choosing the round in which you believe the fight will end. The second and more difficult way is choosing the round in which the fight will end plus picking the victorious fighter. Simply put, this is a “hail mary” type of MMA prop bet. If you want to have a chance at cashing a round betting prop ticket, you’ll want to focus on looking at a fighter’s overall statistical trends to determine if it's even worth the risk in the first place.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 186: Rozenstruik v. Gane does not offer much in the way of round betting prop opportunities. Moving forward, however, if there is one weight class that does offer the most consistent upside for the round betting prop, it’s in the heavyweight division. The heavyweight division is historically known for its knockout finishes, with many of them coming in the first round.