The UFC is the most watched, most wagered and most talented version of MMA fighting.
Over the last decade, the UFC — which began in November 1993 — has had popularity spurts with both fans and bettors alike. The fights feature the best mixed martial artists in the world. Furthermore, there is big money to be made to go along with all the excitement.
It isn’t only the brutal fights by some of the world’s best that has propelled the sport’s growth. The legalization of sports betting in individual states has paralleled the UFC’s growth and popularity. Live UFC betting, for example, adds a new dimension to watching the fights.
Read on to find out the various ways you can legally bet on UFC fights in Illinois.
Placing bets on UFC fights is a straightforward process. You can wager on who will be the winner, how the fight will conclude and how long the fight will last before it ends.
Of course, there are more involved bet types, such as UFC prop bets and live betting. We’ll cover the latter one of those in an upcoming section.
Until then, here is a rundown of the typical UFC — and other MMA — bets you’ll find at most legal online and retail sportsbooks in Illinois.
In most sports leagues, including the UFC, moneyline wagers involve sportsbooks offering up the odds for each team or person in a single matchup.
Those odds indicate how the oddsmakers see the matchup shaking out and who the winner is more or less likely to be. The favored team or individual will have a negative odds number, while a positive odds number indicates the expected underdog.
Your task as a sports bettor is to choose which UFC fighter you think will win and then find the best odds you can at the various sportsbooks. Line shopping is a vital betting strategy for successful betting.
Take this example of a hypothetical UFC matchup:
|Conor McGregor -140|
|Eddie Alvarez +110|
The oddsmakers believe this fight could be a close one, which is why the numbers aren’t too far off from one another. However, they do think it’s McGregor who will take the win.
If you bet $140 on McGregor and he winds up winning, then you’d get $240 back from the sportsbook. Your $140 stake, plus $100 profit. If you wagered on Alvarez with a crisp $100 bill and he wins, then you would get $210. Your $100 stake, plus $110 profit.
When these two went toe-to-toe in the octagon in UFC 205 in 2016, McGregor won with a second-round TKO (technical knockout) to become the first simultaneous two-weight UFC champion (145 pounds and 155 pounds).
You’ve probably heard of betting on totals or the over/under before.
Oddsmakers decide how many rounds they believe a fight will go, and they put a line on it. You then choose if the fight will last more than the projected number of rounds or fewer. It doesn’t matter who is victorious in the fight, just when it ends.
For example, back when Ronda Rousey was demolishing opponents in record-setting time, the oddsmakers may have put together a line like this:
|Under 1.5 rounds -550
|Over 1.5 rounds +220|
There are also bets specifically when a fight will end, such as Round 1, Round 2 or Round 3.
Sometimes sportsbooks even have ranges in which a fight will end, like rounds 1-2 and rounds 2-3. Like the other wager, you choose which you believe will be the case. If you choose correctly, your bet will be a winner.
The majority of Illinois sportsbooks will allow bettors to wager on how a fight will be won. The method of victory is a unique bet type to UFC and other mixed martial arts. Fighters win via one of three ways: knockout, submission or decision.
Like the total rounds bet, it doesn’t matter which fighter wins. All that matters is that you choose correctly how the fight will end. The odds may look like this:
As you can see, a knockout is the expected outcome, though a possible submission isn’t far behind. The oddsmakers, however, do think a decision is a long shot.
Since UFC events are always multiple-fight affairs, you can choose a combination of two or more basic bets on one betting slip to create a parlay wager.
For example, you want to wager on both the Khabib Nurmagomedov–Conor McGregor fight and the Tony Ferguson–Anthony Pettis fight. You’re confident that Nurmagomedov and Pettis are going to win. You can combine those two wagers into a parlay.
Your return on investment is significantly higher in a parlay than it would be for individual wagers. However, if you don’t get every selection on your bet slip correct, you’ll lose. While the reward is higher, the risk increases with every additional bet you add to the parlay.
Sportsbook apps and sites in Illinois allow you to participate in live betting during UFC fights. This wager type, also known as in-fight betting, allows you to bet on lines that are in flux as the fight takes place in real-time. Live betting continues to be available at the end of the bout.
Depending on the Illinois sportsbook you choose, live bets may include attempted submissions, takedowns landed, knockdowns and takedown attempts.
As the real-time fight happens, the odds on the UFC match will continue to shift. You can wager at any point, as the odds at Illinois sportsbooks update in real-time.
Retail sportsbooks are not likely to offer live betting; however, you can use your mobile device to wager at online sportsbooks during a fight in Illinois. You only have to be within state lines when you place those bets.
Since sports betting is legal in Illinois, anyone who is 21 or older and within the state lines can place UFC bets at licensed brick-and-mortar sportsbooks or using online sports betting apps.
These legal, regulated sportsbooks fall under Illinois law, ensuring that sports bettors will not be scammed or cheated. The Illinois Gaming Board is continuously evaluating and inspecting these sportsbooks. Because they receive their license from the state, the sportsbooks must comply or potentially lose their license.
Offshore and illegal sportsbooks are not under any state’s jurisdiction, which means there is little to no protection for gamblers and their money. A corrupt business could steal from bettors or cheat them out of their rightful winnings. In any case, you don’t have any legal protection.
It is important to keep in mind that each sportsbook will have its set of house rules for betting on the UFC. It is crucial to read the terms and conditions before placing any wagers.
Some standard rules when it comes to UFC fights are:
However, these rules aren’t chiseled in stone, which is why you should take note of any rules individual sportsbooks have in place before you wager.
If you’ve decided to place some wagers on an upcoming UFC fight, then you should do as much research as you can and develop your betting strategy. While this advice is far from being the be-all and end-all of UFC betting tips, we hope it helps you make informed and educated UFC bets:
Unlike a lot of sports, you’re not going to be able to flip on the TV and find a UFC fight. Instead, you’ll have to use specific apps or channels to watch the events.
For UFC fight cards, you can watch early preliminaries on UFC Fight Pass, and you can catch the preliminaries on ESPN. In order to watch the main fights, you’ll need to purchase pay-per-view (PPV) through ESPN+.
You can also get a Fight Pass subscription, which will let you use your mobile device to stream fights. If you already have subscriptions to ESPN or ESPN+, you can use those credentials to log in and stream online with your computer or via your mobile device.
There have been some outstanding fights over the years as the UFC has continued to grow in popularity. Here are three that stand out among the others:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) began as a tournament in which fighters who were experts in their various fighting styles came together to prove once and for all that martial art was the best of the best. The first-ever event in Denver in November 1993 ended with Royce Gracie winning with his Brazilian jiujitsu.
The UFC grew and changed over the years. In 2000, the organization adopted a set of MMA rules. The days of all-out brawls were over; UFC was becoming legit.
Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, who were executives with Station Casinos, noticed and purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001. Dana White was named president, and over the next 15 years, the UFC grew as a spectator sport. The hard work paid off — quite literally — when the organization sold for $4.025 billion in July 2016.
MMA soon began to boom and the UFC right along with it. With the growth of superstars within its ranks and its establishment as the premier mixed martial arts destination for fighters, it has continued to grow into the massive sports and media giant it is today.
The abbreviation UFC stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, which harks back to the beginning of the sport when martial arts experts fought in a tournament-style event to determine which fighting discipline would be the winner.
Purchased for more than $4 billion in 2016, the UFC is currently owned by a group named Endeavor. Other stakeholders include investment firms Silver Lake Partners, MSD Capital, UFC president Dana White and KKR & Co.
Of course. DraftKings is one of the most extensive sportsbooks available to Illinois bettors, and the UFC is one of the most popular sports being wagered. DraftKings features a nice selection of betting options for UFC enthusiasts, ranging from typical bets like total rounds, moneyline and winning methods to parlays, futures, props and live betting.
Conor McGregor is a name you hear a lot in the UFC, and for a good reason. He’s one of the most popular fighters in the world, and his bank account has benefited for sure. For his fight in UFC 202, McGregor earned $3 million. He repeated that payday in UFC 246 when he took home another $3 million in prize money.
UFC president Dana White went on record as saying that he estimated the brand to be valued at around $7 billion.