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UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov Retires as Champ

After dispatching challenger Justin Gaethje in a second-round TKO and announcing his retirement at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov will leave behind a legacy. He has held the UFC Lightweight belt longer than any other champ, and no one has even come close to usurping him. While this was the main attraction of the UFC 254 card, several other intriguing matchups were settled on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, and we’re recapping the most significant ones—along with their MMA betting odds.

UFC 254 Main Event: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

The Nurmagomedov-Gaethje bout began with both fighters feeling each other out, but as things progressed, they started to trade strikes. Nurmagomedov had Gaethje down on the mat towards the end of the first, as he wrestled towards an armbar, but the bell rang at the right moment for Gaethje.  

Nurmagomedov continued to put pressure on Gaethje in the second round, forcing the Arizona native to circulate around the gate. One and a half minutes in, Nurmagomedov had Gaethje back on the mat again, and it was clear that Gaethje’s skills as a former All-American wrestler were no match for Nurmagomedov, who mounted a triangle choke to submit Gaethje unconscious, earning the eighth TKO/KO victory of his perfect 29-0 career. Bettors were paid anywhere between —310 and —275 depending on when they locked in his UFC betting odds. 

It was a teary end for Nurmagomedov, who’s still mourning the loss of his father (also his coach) since he passed away this summer. Fulfilling a promise to his mother, Nurmagomedov symbolically placed his gloves onto the ground in the centre of the octagon after the fight to signal his retirement as one of the greatest all-time fighters the UFC has ever seen.  

UFC 254 Odds: Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier

There may not have been a belt on the line in this co-main event between former Middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker and No. 2 Jared Cannonier, but Dana White did indicate that a title shot would be in the cards for the winner. The first round saw Cannonier work on chipping at his opponent’s stability by delivering leg-kick after leg-kick, one of which resulted in Whittaker briefly dropping to the ground in the final minute. In the third round, Whittaker had Cannonier on the mat and began an onslaught of punches before mounting his opponent and trying to go for the rear-naked choke. However, Cannonier managed to get back on his feet and put Whittaker against the cage. 

Despite absorbing damage by Cannonier’s kicks, Whittaker put in more volume and focused on head strikes, landing 85% (59 of 138) to Cannonier’s 32% (17 of 46). That, combined with some impressive takedowns, was enough to impress the judges, who ruled in Whittaker’s favour unanimously, paying —110 on the UFC 254 odds board. Stay tuned for a potential rematch between “The Reaper” and the Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, who dethroned Whittaker one year ago. 

UFC 254 Odds: Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova

A switch had to be made on the UFC 254 main card when Lauren Murphy’s original Flyweight opponent, Cynthia Calvillo tested positive for COVID-19. Her replacement, Liliya Shakirova from Uzbekistan, was making her UFC debut after spending five years on the indie circuit and racking up an 8-1 record. 

From the outset, Shakirova showed an unorthodox fighting style and appeared to expend a lot of energy in her attacks. Murphy, meanwhile, displayed patience and control, but still struggled to box in her opponent. The second round saw Murphy assert herself more and she managed to get Shakirova onto the mat, where she mounted Shakirova from behind for a rear-naked choke, forcing a submission as a heavy favourite on the MMA odds board. 

Other UFC 254 Odds

The recipient of the Fight of the Night bonus was a last-minute catchweight bout at 140 pounds between Casey Kenney, who was coming off a unanimous decision win three weeks prior, and up-and-comer Nathaniel Wood. Both fighters were raring to go right from the get-go, trading blows and leg kicks in a back-and-forth affair that concluded with Kenney earning his third straight win and likely a future bout with a more established opponent. 

Next up on the UFC calendar is a Fight Night scheduled on October 31 that will see Uriah Hall (—225 UFC odds) take on Middleweight legend Anderson Silva (+175). 

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*Odds as of October 28, 2020

 

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How to Bet on UFC

The world of combat sports changed forever on November 12, 1993, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship held their first event in front of 7,800 fight fans in Denver. Now they’re the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts, regularly packing large arenas, and even stadiums, thanks to the millions of people around the world who are betting on the UFC. If you’d like a piece of the action, this UFC Betting 101 guide will show you how to bet on MMA fights, plus some tips and tricks to maximize your betting value.

 

UFC Betting

Unlike other sports that feature a regular season and a playoff, the UFC runs events throughout the year, with the most important ones reserved for pay-per-view and the rest shown on television or UFC Fight Pass. Each card will have about a dozen fights, including preliminaries, with the main event at the top of the card; PPV main events usually have a title on the line, from one of the UFC’s 12 weight divisions (eight male, four female). Here are your options for how to bet on the UFC:

 

Betting On The UFC

Moneyline Betting on the UFC

Like most head-to-head sports, including boxing and tennis, UFC betting is done using moneyline odds, which are expressed at Bodog Sportsbook using the American odds format. One of the fighters will be the favourite, and the other will be the underdog – unless they have exactly the same odds, in which case, the fight will be a pick ‘em. UFC moneyline odds are fixed odds, no point spread attached; all you have to do is pick the winner. The odds you get at the time you place your bet are the odds used to calculate your payout.

 

What Are UFC Moneyline Odds?

To further illustrate this concept, here’s the moneyline from one of the most famous fights in UFC history, when Conor McGregor first met Nate Diaz on March 5, 2016 at UFC 196:

 

  • Diaz                 +300
  • McGregor       –400

McGregor went into this non-title Welterweight bout at the UFC Featherweight champion, and an incredibly popular –400 favorite, paying out $100 for every $400 wagered. With the American odds format, the favorite will always have the negative sign; the underdog usually has the positive sign, as it was in this case with Diaz at +300. In the end, Diaz won this fight via second-round submission, and paid out $300 for every $100 wagered. Smaller and larger bets are allowed, within the minimum and maximum limits at Bodog Sportsbook.

 

Parlay Betting on the UFC

Chances are you’ll want to bet on more than one fight at a time. If you’re looking for a big payday, you can combine all those bets into a single parlay at Bodog. UFC parlays can feature anywhere from two to 12 moneylines; if you get all your picks right, you get paid exponentially more than you would by placing those bets individually. However, if even one of those picks is wrong, the entire parlay loses. It’s the classic risk/reward scenario in action.

 

How Do UFC Parlay Bets Work?

To figure out how much you’ll get paid if your parlay cashes in, just multiply the UFC odds for each fight in your combo bet. This can be a little tricky with moneyline odds. You can do it by hand, or by using one of the many parlay calculators available on the internet. Bodog Sportsbook will do the math for you automatically when you’re filling out your bet slip.

For example, the co-main event at UFC 196 was the following Women’s Bantamweight title fight between champion Holly Holm and challenger Miesha Tate:

 

Tate +240
Holm -310

 

Holm was the heavy favorite after taking the title in a shocking, yet convincing upset over Ronda Rousey, who had beaten Tate soundly in both their earlier fights. However, it was Tate winning the belt by submission late in the fifth round. If you had bet $50 on Diaz and another $50 on Tate, you would have earned $270 in profit, but combining the two underdogs in a $100 parlay would have paid $720 instead. The more fights you add to a parlay, the bigger the payout – as long as you get all those picks right.

 

Futures Betting on the UFC

Betting on UFC futures can be a bit confusing compared to other sports, but it’s actually quite simple. Every once in a while, a situation comes up where two fighters might meet in the Octagon, but nothing has been made official just yet. If it’s two big-name fighters, and enough people are buzzing about their potential matchup, UFC futures odds will be posted.

 

What Is a UFC Futures Bet?

A futures bet in the UFC works exactly the same as a moneyline bet, with a favourite and an underdog shown as above using the American odds format. The only difference is you can’t use futures odds in your UFC parlay.

 

Prop Betting on the UFC

UFC prop bets (short for proposition bets) ask you to wager on something other than the straight-up winner of a fight. Among the most common UFC props are Margin of Victory, where you bet on whether a fighter will win by TKO/KO/DQ, submission, or decision, and Total Rounds, where you bet on whether the fight will go Over or Under the posted total.

Betting on UFC props gets even busier when there’s a marquee matchup on the card. It’s kind of like the Super Bowl; if the fight’s big enough, you might see props for things like which round the fight will end in, or whether a fighter will win by unanimous decision or majority/split decision.

 

How to Bet on the UFC

UFC Betting Strategy and Tips

The more you know about mixed martial arts, the better you’ll do at picking a winner. But even if you’re a beginner, you can put the squeeze on your competition by going online and doing some quick research on the two fighters in question. As they say, styles make fights; a well-rounded MMA practitioner will be skilled at both striking and grappling, both on offense and defense. Look for fights where one opponent’s strengths match up well against the other opponent’s weaknesses. In general. someone with black belts in multiple disciplines (say, Brazilian jiu-jistu and Muay Thai) is more likely to prevail against someone with a lesser belt in just one martial art.

You can also find betting value on the UFC props market by paying attention to the weight divisions. Smaller fighters tend to have more stamina, and they don’t pack the same punching power as fighters from the heavier divisions. It makes a big difference; in the lightest UFC division, Women’s Strawweight (up to 115 pounds), roughly 70 percent of fights end in a decision, while the men in the Heavyweight division (206-265 pounds) only go to the judges’ score cards about 25% of the time.

 

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