The popularity of UFC has skyrocketed in recent years and it continues to gain new fans thanks to the electrifying entertainment it provides. In the past 15 years it has gone from an obscure underground movement to a multibillion-dollar industry, replete with superstars that are cherished across the globe. One such icon, Eddie Alvarez, hails from Philadelphia and he has helped drive UFC’s popularity in Delaware since becoming UFC lightweight world champion in 2016.
The likes of Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva are all household names, racking up huge amounts of column inches across the USA and further afield. Much has been made of a dearth of emerging stars to take over from veterans like St-Pierre and McGregor, but that does a disservice to fighters like Max Holloway, Robert Whittaker, Cody Garbrandt and Rose Namajunas.
UFC has a unique and thrilling offering and its popularity looks set to endure, so it will be a crucial part of the mix for Delaware sportsbooks after the state legalized sports betting. You can choose from all manner of betting options to keep things interesting, and here are the main ones to be aware of:
This is by far the most common betting option for UFC fans, and it simply involves backing one fighter to win. The sportsbooks weigh up the relative strengths of both contestants and offer a suitable set of odds on each one. Sometimes it is really close, and at other times there is a huge favorite and a massive underdog. For example, Merab Dvalishvili was the +185 (you may also see this listed as 1.85/1 fractional odds or 2.85 decimal odds) underdog in his recent UFC 221 bout against Ricky Simon at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, while Simon was the -235 (0.42/1 or 1.43) favorite to win when the lines opened.
With moneyline odds, whenever there is a minus symbol, it tells you that you have to lay down that amount to win a hundred dollars. So if the odds are -235, you must stake $235 to win $100. When there is a plus symbol, it tells you how much you will win for every $100 you bet. So if you stake $100 at +185, you will make a $185 profit if your prediction is correct. In UFC betting, if one fighter has plus odds and another has minus odds, the one with minus odds is the favorite and expected to win. The further the numbers stray from 100, the greater the perceived gulf in class between the fighters.
In the Dvalishvili v Simon fight, a $10 bet on Dvalishvili would have returned an $18.50 profit, while a $10 bet on Simon would only have landed you a $4.30 profit, indicating that Simon was the clear favorite. However, as a fight draws closer, you will often see those odds change. Dvalishvili attracted a lot of bets and the odds on him eventually dwindled all the way to +100 (1/1 or 2.0), while the odds on Simon drifted to -120 (0.83/1 or 1.83). Anyone that took advantage of the shift and backed Simon at -120 would have been celebrating, as he recorded a dramatic late knockout to secure victory.
Sometimes two fighters are deemed to be pretty evenly matched and there is little to choose between them in the odds. For example, TJ Dillashaw opened at -120 to beat Cody Garbrandt, while Garbrandt was +100. At other times, you will see one fighter at +900 (9/1 or 10.0) and the opponent at -500 (0.19/1 or 1.2), as they are deemed to be unevenly matched.
If you want to get more value and gain a bigger profit from your bet, you can stipulate how your chosen fighter will win, and you will be rewarded with longer odds. Your three choices are to win by knockout (including KO or TKO), to win via submission or to win via a decision (split or unanimous). This is especially popular when there is a clear favorite to win a fight, as it helps you get better odds.
The sportsbooks will also often allow you to bet on whether there will be over or under 2.5 rounds. This is essentially a bet on whether or not the fight will go the distance. If there is a clear favorite with a good history of knockouts, the odds on under will probably be quite low, but if both fighters are well matched the odds on under 2.5 rounds might be pretty attractive. If you see the line set at 1.5 rounds, and you select under 1.5 rounds, it means you think the fight will finish before the 2min 30sec mark in the second round.Round and method of victory
If you want to go really deep, you can sometimes select which fighter will win, which round they will gain victory in and the method of victory. For example, Simon to win via a knockout in round 3. It is fiendishly difficult to predict, but the odds on this sort of thing are suitably attractive.
If you are unsure of which fighter will win, but you think it will be a quick fight or a long and drawn out fight, round betting is a good option. You can guess the first, second or third round, and the sportsbooks will assign different odds on each outcome depending on how likely they think each one is. You can also often specify a particular fighter to win in a particular round – for example, Simon to win in the third round – and this sees you rewarded with even healthier odds.
If you thought Chris Gruetzemacher would beat Joe Lauzon, but you were not particularly tempted by the odds on offer, you could bet on Gruetzemacher to win in the second round. That would earn you a far higher payout, as your bet would be bust if he won in the first round, the third round or via a decision. The harder it is to win a bet, the higher the odds you will receive. You could also take it one step further and bet on Gruetzemacher to win via a knockout in the second round. If he were to win by a submission, your bet would lose. You are essentially putting in another stipulation in order to make life harder for yourself and earn a higher potential payout.
Sportsbooks may offer special betting options ahead of a big night. For example, before UFC 221 you could bet on which bout would be named Fight of the Night, who would be awarded Knockout of the Night and who would be awarded the Submission of the Night honor. The odds on these outcomes can be intriguing.