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While WWE prevails with its colourful characters and scripted wrestling matches, MMA events are an entertaining and incredibly lucrative alternative for fans of mixed martial arts betting.
MMA's popularity has soared over the years, with around half a million spectators tuning in to the UFC 175 show in 2014. This has been matched by a rise in betting on mixed martial arts events, such as those put on by UFC, the largest MMA promotion company in the world.
UFC 205 marks an important milestone in the mixed martial arts event – it’s the first time it’s ever been held in New York. Madison Square Garden will host an array of fighters over the stretch of the tournament, but
Although UFC is based in the USA's playground of Las Vegas, it produces events all around the globe, from London to Rio de Janeiro. It has fights in eight different weight categories, from flyweight all the way up to heavyweight.
Women’s MMA has also seen a boom in popularity; in 2012 UFC had its first female champion, with Ronda Rousey claiming the women’s bantamweight title. In 2013, UFC opted to use the strawweight category, which it doesn't usually recognise, for an all-female tournament.
When betting on UFC or MMA, knowledge is king. Factors to analyse include age, weight, height, previous wins, where the fighter trains, and which disciplines they are masters in. These can include standard fighting styles like boxing, freestyle wrestling and judo, or less common types such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, Kyokushin karate, Jeet Kune Do and Sanshou.
Sherdog, known as a global authority on MMA, gives punters access to a wealth of facts and figures that can help them to make an informed decision. In 2011 entrepreneur and tech innovator Vik Singh analysed Sherdog's MMA data, and discovered a number of revealing insights.
The numbers crunched showed that 71% of fighters from Japan were more likely to lose, and that 60% of those who had at least three times the decision wins of their opponent stood a greater chance of winning. An extra 24% of those were more likely to win if the fighter was also 3% taller than their rival.
UFC and MMA betting aren't limited to who will win the fight. Proposition bets can often net a bigger prize, as they involve both who the winner will be and how they'll win. Other bets could be on whether the fight will go the distance, relying on the judges’ decision, or whether it will end with a submission or knock-out.
There is also the option to predict a draw; it’s an uncommon occurrence in UFC, making it a bet that gives incredible odds. Finally, on bigger fights you could look out for odds on which round it'll finish in; if you guess both that and the victor successfully, you could be in for a hefty reward.
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