Category Archives: MMA Betting

How I Watch Fights (UFC Betting Interview)

It’s always interesting to here what other bettors prioritise when breaking down fights. YouTube blogger and member of Bet MMA, The 30-26 Breakdown has created a series of videos where he interviews MMA Handicappers about this topic, myself included.

Link to the series as a whole

My two interview videos:
Mike Tycoon
Units Profit: 213.81, ROI: 48%

I have the opportunity to elaborate on some of the points in the videos here and also to add some more stuff.

In my video I mentioned that what I do best is “leaving bets the hell alone“. Great example this week… I spent about 6 hours scouting the Cezar Ferreira vs Elias Theodorou fight. Cezar is pretty much better at everything technically and Elias is super sloppy. I wanted so bad to pick Cezar and I even did a pick writeup for it but if I am not 100% certain on a pick, I leave the writeup and play games for an hour then read the writeup and see if I definitely want to submit. Sometimes I will do a writeup just to arrange the thoughts I have in my head and see if it all makes sense. If I can’t convince myself with a writeup, I’ll ditch it. Even though I’d spent ages and ages on that fight, I just couldn’t back Cezar because of his worse cardio, worse chin and poor fight IQ… All the important intangibles. Though my record doesn’t get any actual credit in the form of a nice big green W; not betting that fight was just as important, if not moreso, because if you are tipping fights then people remember those big fat red Ls more than the green Ws. I’m certainly just as pleased with myself for not tipping that fight as I am for actually tipping a McMann win or a Kongo win from this weekend.
I get 35-50 buys per week on my picks at the moment. I can imagine a few people who bought the picks were like “what the hell? I am paying this dude money to tell me to bet 6 units on McMann and 5 units on Kongo, two big favourites? I would have bet them anyway.” Well, actually, what you’re paying me five whole dollars for is more to watch nearly a full day’s tape on Cezar Ferreira then not get suckered into tipping it just because of all the time I spent on it.

To elaborate on what I meant by picking winners sometimes being an ego thing. Basically, sometimes I feel like people get fixated with trying to pick a winner. They’ll spend hours and hours watching tape for a super close matchup because they wanna prove to themself that they can break down the fight well or they wanna get the right pick in a pickem contest or maybe they wanna look clever to other people… They end up getting obsessed with tiny details like “x puts his foot here when he throws his right hand and I think that gives him a slight edge in the striking” or whatever… It’s OK to say you have no idea who’s going to win, even after watching loads of tape, but sometimes people feel like they HAVE to make a pick because they’ve put so much time into it. It’s much easier to say “this is a super competitive fight. I dunno who’s going to win but neither guy is really a finisher, so I’d say the over hits 80% of the time.” If that 80% represents value (and it usually will), then it’s a much, much better bet.

I had a look through the top few cappers again. Of the guys that bet props:
I’m 45-5 (90%) on overs, 3-1 (75%) on unders.
HedgeFund is 14-10 58% on over and 1-2 (33%) on unders.
Mark Habshade is 50-12 (81%) on overs and 1-2 (33%) on unders.
Iso Soprano is 62-19 (77%) on overs and 0-1 on unders.
Hades Nexus is 15-3 on overs (83%) and 2-2 (50%) on unders.

Obviously a lot of those bets are at short odds so you have to analyse the value further but you can see that at the very least, the people who make the most profit do like betting overs a lot more than unders and have a lot higher hit rate with them too.

Clinch Importance. I asked him to tag this on the end of the second video because I think a LOT of fights are won and lost in the clinch. If you are losing the striking, being better in the clinch is a great out. If you are the better striker, if you can also dominate the clinch then it’s going to put them in a really bad place where they have to land a takedown from range.

Because the clinch is so based on fundamentals (it’s pretty much just always a battle for underhooks and clinch control / positional advantage), I think you can rate people pretty well on their clinch ability if you have enough common opponents or a frame or reference. I don’t think you can rate any other aspect of the game in terms of an MMA Math “A beat B and B beat C so C will beat A”…. but in clinch, I think there’s a very strong chance that will be the case.

Corrections:
Just to correct a few things that weren’t what I meant or were a bit off.
– In vid 2 he mentioned flyweights coming off a loss. He said it’s debuting fighters but it’s not, that’s all fighters at the weight.
– Clinch hierarcy for the women’s bantamweight. He put Eye at the top but I have her right near the bottom 🙂 Unlucky Jessica 🙂 I do this for all weights, not just one weight class.
– Saparbek Safarov. I never mentioned that going to a decision. I actually bet that Villante would win inside the distance. The point was correct though. If someone has an inflated finishing rate due to poor opposition, I’ll often consider the over or a bet on them winning by decision. Even if you have two guys with high finishing rates coming in and fighting each other, I often look at the over. When you face a dangerous guy you are more cautious, even if you are a dangerous guy yourself, so sometimes they cancel each other out. Also, if you’re getting finishes yourself and not being finished, you probably have a better chin than the people who are getting finished… So two finishers against each other is often two good chins against each other.
– Listening to commentators in general and commentators being harsh or vice versa: They were being hard on Paige Van Zant in the Rose fight, rather than the other way around. To elaborate, I can understand the concept of watching with the sound off to “avoid bais”, but I don’t really think that’s backing yourself very much as a capper, if you don’t think you can tell when a commentor is talking bullshit… For me, you certainly gain more insight from having the commentary on, than problems you might cause yourself from potentially being swayed. Whether the fighter listens to their corner, whether they listen to ref instructions, whether they’re breathing heavily or not or sounding frustrated…. Not to mention mitigating circumstances for past poor performances that you will hear in the commentary.

And finally…
One thing I think is really important that was missed off. I DO listen to plenty of other people’s opinions. Again, this is kinda like the commentary thing. Why not take in extra information? If you don’t listen to other people, you’re basically a narcissist imo. Or if you don’t listen to other people because you don’t trust yourself not to be swayed… man…. back your own intelligence! If you can’t disagree with someone, you’re probably not going to be very good at analysing in general because analysing stuff is all about weighing up information, whether that is previous fight performance or other people’s take on a fight.
What I would say though – if you don’t have a really good memory, take notes on other cappers and their opinions if it helps! Treat them like they’re a fighter that needs analysing and rating.

I’ll give you one example. The MMA Vivisection guys… I listen to their podcast (one of 3-4 I listen to) and they are good at breaking down the main card. However, they talk with equal certainty about fights they clearly have not researched at all, so you have to be super careful when it comes to their undercard analysis.

For example, the Asker against Smoliakov fight, they both agreed with each other (which they tend to do when they don’t know, rather than just saying they don’t know), that Smoliakov should be the favourite and the money coming in on Asker made no sense. They stated that Smoliakov was the more natural striker and the better grappler bla bla bla… Basically everything they said was completely and utterly wrong and I could tell they hadn’t watched any tape on it at all specifically for this fight (they probably just watched some fights ages ago and were trying to remember). I only knew this because I had watched about 6 hours of tape for the fight and was betting Asker. To listen to them talk though, you’d think they’d watched tape too because they talk with too much confidence.

Once you know that though, you can listen for little tells that really they haven’t really got much of an idea on a fight and just ignore what they’re saying when you think that’s what’s happening. It would be infinitely more helpful if they just said they have no idea and move on but they addressed that criticism in their latest podcast by basically saying “if we just said we don’t know all the time, there would be no point in the podcast.”… That totally misses the point because sometimes you do know and sometimes you don’t but whatever.

In general I would say the most important thing I look for in someone else’s opinion is if they acknowledge why they might be wrong. If somoene comes out saying “x is definitely going to win, no question, this other fighter sucks”, I’ll generally make a mental note to pay very little attention to that person’s opinion. Good bettors are analysing % chance in their head and juggling lots of thoughts in their head about potential outcomes, whether they know they are doing it or not. If someone is absolute and certain in their analysis, they’re not doing that.

Other videos in the series

As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, all the other guys in the series also track their bets on Bet MMA, so here are their videos.

Dan Levi – Half The Battle / Best Fight Picks
Units Profit: 67.53, ROI: 14%
Levi is currently on a good streak. He bets small unit amounts so he’s further down the leaderboard than he should be in 16th but if you view the adjusted table, he’s currently top if you use the default adjusted bet amounts.

 

MMA Prophet
Units Profit: 79.19 ROI: 29%
As mentioned in my last blog already, this guy’s doing a really good job and is getting the second most sales on the site each event, after myself. I would like to see him add pick writeups to the site as I’m sure they’d be well thought out (I know you’ll be reading this bud) 😉

 

Sean Carey Tattoo / Thunder Dick Picks
Units Profit: 45.27, ROI: 11%
Very different from my personal philosophy and style of betting but check out his profile and see what you think and if he matches your personal style.

UFC Fighters To Watch In 2017 (Part 2)

I asked anyone on the site if they wanted to contribute their own thoughts in terms of fighters to watch this year. Response was thoroughly underwhelming but never mind! 🙂 One person who put a lot of effort into their list was MMA Prophet, so here is his full email. At the end I’ll also include one other good reply I got.

It’s no surprise that MMA Prophet is currently 2nd top in terms of sales on the site. When you put effort in like this into a writeup, people appreciate that. Follow him and buy his picks! 🙂

Note: he sent me this on 8th January.


MMA Prophet
79.19 units profit, 29% ROI

Ranked fighters who will push on to the top of the division:

Flyweight

Ray Borg: Young/Talented Grappler who made the transition to Jackson Wink MMA. The sky is the limit for him and he has all the time in the world to get there at only 23 years of age. He also just thrashed Smolka. Once he gets his striking to that next level he will be a feared top-level contender.

Featherweight

Mirsad Bektic: He’s a killer with great wrestling, KO power and the skills to submit his opponents. He is undefeated and that’s for a reason. He also trains with American Top Team and the sky is truly the limit for him. Can’t wait to see what he can do.

Welterweight

Jorge Masvidal: One of the most undervalued ranked fighters to ever grace the octagon. He doesn’t really get finished and when he loses it’s a really competitive match up and arguable the fight could go either way. The guy is super well rounded and trains with killers at American Top Team. One of his main training partners is Colby Covington as well and if that wrestling knowledge and grit rubs off in any way on Jorge it makes him an even more lethal threat. I predict he beats Cerrone pretty decisively and steals Cowboys thunder. Cerrone doesn’t respond well to pressure and I’m sure Masvidal will bring the heat. He will be top 5 at the very least.

2nd picks

Lorenz Larkin: Phenomenal striker, I hope he stays in the UFC but a match up like him vs Gunnar Nelson could be interesting to see who is more deserving to ascend. Grappler vs striker, will Gunnar be able to out power Larkin and take him to the mat? I would love to see this matchup

Gunnar Nelson: Great grappler, improving striking, if he can get opponents to the mat it’s over (Besides Maia 😉 ).

Light Heavyweight

Misha Circunov: Amazing grappler with ever improving takedowns and striking. His performances have been extremely dominant and in 2 fights I think we could see him easily ranked #3. He has a good fight IQ, is measured and finds ways to win. *Also* He picked Grab and Nunes to win their last match ups, this may be irrelevant but he understands what people bring to the table and I like that.

Heavyweight: 

Francis Ngannou: He’s not human. He’s at a level where his sheer power can overcome skills his opponent poses. He has great stand up, he has shown he can submit people and he’s just an all round finisher. Next year he should break top 5 and maybe even fight for the belt. This is the kind of guy that could become a huge draw because of his physical attributes (like an Arnold Schwarzenegger) and UFC matchmaking should give him some good match ups to get to the top.

Women’s Strawweight

Jessica Andrade: A powerful tank of a girl with lethal standup. When she hits girls they don’t know what to do, much like an Amanda Nunes. Since moving down to strawweight it seems as though the sky is the limit for her. With her power as well it makes it easy for her to outwrestle opponents and make them pay with vicious ground and pound.

Michelle Waterson: Waterson is an extremely skilled striker and grappler who trains with an amazing team at Jackson Wink MMA. I feel like Waterson can make a big run for the strawweight belt but if she’s paired up with Andrade it would be a tough matchup for her. Waterson may out skill Andrade in kicks and BJJ but when it comes to boxing and wrestling I’m giving the edge to Andrade and that could be the difference. I see them both being top 5 or top 3 in the near future.

Just outside the rankings who will push into the rankings:

Heavyweight

Curtis Blaydes: Great wrestling, improving striking, and a big powerful heavyweight. His only loss is to Francis Ngannou who’s one of my favourite ranked fighters to break into the top 5 for the HW division.

Light Heavyweight

Jarrod Cannonier: Since his move from heavyweight to light heavyweight he has looked really sharp and has defeated top a prospect in Ion Cutelaba who’s only loss was to my top prospect Misha Circunov. At Heavyweight he gave Cyril Asker his first loss by KO and that dudes head is ginormous, which is usually indicative of a grant chin. His chin is good but that shot Cannonier delivered was something else. Cannonier has crisp powerful strikes, decent wrestling and positional control and above all he doesn’t like to take damage. He’s got a big test ahead of him taking on Glover Teixeira who is ranked #3, if Cannonier finds a way to beat his relatively chinny opponent he will find himself ranked just like that. Not to mention the light heavyweight division is pretty shallow so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Welterweight

Santiago Ponzinibbio: Lethal striker with great accuracy and takedown defense. To tell you the truth I’m shocked that he isn’t ranked yet. He is on a 3 fight win streak and needs to dispatch of Nordine Taleb to prove he’s a real contender in that stacked division of killers. Nordine is a much stiffer striker, has fought worse competition and has had some close calls where Santiago has lost to great people and beat some killers as well. We will definitely see him ranked soon.

Flyweight

Ben Nguyen: Lethal striker with pinpoint accuracy, he was on a tear until Smolka derailed him with outstanding grappling and ground and pound in the scrambles. That was a mistake from a young fighter but since then he has hired a mental coach and had a dominant victory over Geane Herrera who had fought the better competition out of the teo. If he fights Smolka again I would easily pick Ben to win and he should keep the fight standing or scramble to his feet. If that fight does happen they basically swap ranks and my prophecy comes into fruition.

Lightweight

Will Brooks: He’s a dominant wrestler with solid striking and he trains with the killers at American Top Team. He suffered his first loss in 3 years recently to Alex Oliveira who missed weight by 10 lbs and cracked Brooks’ rib during the fight. Will was arguably winning the grappling exchanges, even with a 10 lb deficit but the pain from his rib injury proved to be too much. All that aside he was a dominant champion in balloter and I see him busting into the rankings in the UFC real soon.

Newbies who looks like prospects:

 Flyweight

Jenel Lausa: Excellent technical Muay Thai striker with a decent enough ground game to defend and even maintain top pressure. He has some serious KO power for the weight class and he’s also shown he can be measured and do what it takes to win a 3 rounder against someone who stricktly wants to take him down.

Featherweight

Shane Burgos: He trains with the likes of Jimmie Rivera and has showed he can hang with UFC fighters as well. Solid submission and smart technical stand up. Room for improvement but I see him climbing the ranks and becoming a contender.

Lightweight

Alex Volkanovski: Talented all round fighter who is a proven finisher. He was a dominant champion in another organization and his debut in the Octagon was long overdue.

Marc Diakese: He has looked great in his last two performances. What he lacks in striking he makes up for in powerful grappling capabilities. He shows everything a coach would want in a fighter to be able to mold them into an even more lethal weapon.

Drakkar Klose: His octagon debut is coming up at UFC Phoenix and it should be a dominant performance from the footage I’ve seen. He’s composed, sharp and has some serious power.

Welterweight

Abdul Razak Alhassan: KO wizard. None of his fights have made it past the 2-minute mark and he’s in it to win it. Looks like a physical specimen so with the right team and coaching the sky is the limit for young Abdul.

Middleweight

Andrew Sanchez: He’s shown he is a great grappler and does what’s necessary to control and win the fight. In his last fight he showed off a bit of his striking and beat a legit UFC vet in Trevor Smith who was on a 2 fight win streak. With the right training the sky is the limit.

Gerald Meerschaert: Another long overdue arrival into the UFC with a record of 25 and 8 (only 2 of those wins going the distance) and with past victories over the likes of Sam Alvey and Joe Gigliotti. He’s on a 6 fight win streak and has never been knocked out. He showed great grappling and submission skills against Gigliotti and should have a decent future in the UFC with some bumps along the way.

Heavyweight

Justin Ledet: He’s shown great work in the Octagon so far, utilizing his jab and even showing of some of his underrated BJJ. The guy is small for the heavy weight division but he still packs a punch and makes up for it with agility and slick boxing technique. Even if he loses or makes the drop to light heavyweight I see a cool career ahead of him. Very entertaining fighter.

People I think will fade away and we should bet against:

Michael Bisping: (If he ever fights a top 4 Middleweight again lol) he’s getting old and taken a lot of damage. He has children and other career opportunities as well. When Michael loses again he will most likely retire or only come back for super fights if the money is right.

Johnny Hendricks: Severe decline/USADA.

Anthony Pettis: Severe decline and head seems to be elsewhere.

Thiago Santos: Incredibly chinny with bad fight IQ.

Mike Pyle: Incredibly chinny and old.

Gian Villante: Terrible fight IQ and cardio, he doesn’t seem like he want this as much as his opponents.

Raphael Natal: Terrible fight IQ, old, and regressing.

Cole Miller: Head is no longer in the game.

Mid-level career resurgence:

Tim Elliot: We saw his performance against Mighty Mouse, giving him one of his most difficult tests to date. Tim Elliot may never become champ but he does have all the tools and skills to become a top contender.

Demian Maia: For obvious reasons, he’s already going through it technically.

Junior Dos Santos: They have put a really easy fight in front of him with Stephan Struve and Junior is deadly to anyone in the Heavyweight division.

Eddie Wineland: This is a maybe and it really is dependent on the match ups they give him. He has the potential to win his next 2 but I don’t see him gunning for that belt again given his poor defensive striking style. All that said I think he can win one or two more depending on the matchup.


The following is from Jonathan Murray
9.52 units profit, 22% ROI.

To Follow:
Jessica Andrade: I believe she’s going to have a breakthrough year this year. I would go as far as to say that she will be the first fighter to defeat Joanna champion should she get the opportunity.

Excellent boxing mixed with strong grappling. Having been a relatively competitive undersized 135lb’er. She’s moved on in leaps and bounds since comfortably getting to 115lbs. We know she’s durable as hell and willing to take some contact to improve her position.

I think she may be a slightly more polished version of Claudia Gadelha in the offensive grappling area. She also packs enough power and volume to potentially disrupt JJ’s rhythm.

I think she’s a great prospect at 25 and has many good years ahead of her.

To Fade:
James Gallagher
John Kavanagh’s second coming of Conor. He’s not. Not even close. I believe there’s much more hype than substance to Gallagher and personally can see him evaporating into lower level MMA shows than Bellator.

He’s a long way from the finished article and for all the bravado and talk about his ground game, he struggles to apply it against low-mid tier opposition. He’s not a great striker and has almost a one dimensional game.

He might have McGregor’s swagger and self confidence, but it’s as misplaced as claims that Cathal Pendred could be a great striker because he trained in the same gym as McGregor.

Gallagher seems to have concentrated more on marketing than the thing that will actually matter. Performance. For that reason I’m waiting on him to get some proper opposition so I can bet against him. This one is all about timing I think.

UFC Fighters to Watch in 2017

I was a little unsure whether to post this blog because it kinda pisses on itself… If I go telling people who I think are good fighters (and particularly underrated fighters), then the lines probably aren’t going to be as good. In the end I thought there are enough people doing this that this will get lost in the fog and really, I’m not that important 😛

Breaking through level 1
People already in the top 15 UFC fighter rankings, who I expect to make a push for the top of the division.

Jessica Andrade USADA is the only thing that bothers me about this pick. That aside, I think she’ll get a title shot this year and I would not be the least bit surprised if Andrade absolutely demolishes Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I think she would have smashed Moroz, so hopefully they make that matchup again.
Ranked at #5 in the official UFC rankings. MMA Junkie only have her at #11 which is fucking ridiculous considering they have Alexa Grasso at #6.
Big power, impressive wrestling, a really solid gas tank and a good chin. She doesn’t really look any different to how she looked at 135lbs and she was contending with the top of the tree there. Much, much bigger girls like Pennington, who is a very good clinch fighter and an absolute grinder, who has had her breakout year this year.
Joanna has been rocked by people with a LOT less power than Andrade. Given her good gas tank, I find it hard to envisage JJ not getting smacked around at some point and JJ does not have power to deter the Andrade attacks. So that’s basically given away what I presume will be one of my picks at some point late in the year.
I just finished listening to The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani giving out his end of year awards and predicting his end of year award winners for 2017 – Both he and his co-host predicted JJ as female fighter of 2017. I’m going with Andrade for mine (assuming she doesn’t get popped), so we shall see.
Misha Cirkunov A bit of a tricky one because it depends who he is matched up against. However, in an aging division, he’s someone I see making continued improvements and picking off a couple of the guys above him. If he gets matched up against Bader then possibly he gets wrestle-fucked but I don’t think that’s a bad matchup due to Bader’s chin. Gus looked poor in his last fight, OSP I think is a poor and massively overrated fighter, Manuwa would certainly test his chin but I’d favour Misha, Rua is pretty much done, Rumble would be an interesting fight but basically you get through the first round and a half and Rumble is there for the taking. I don’t think we’re looking at a title shot for Misha this year but a couple of competitive but impressive wins seems most likely.
This writeup could be written for Corey Anderson. The reason I haven’t gone for him is because he does look like he has a duff chin. Cirkunov looks like he has a good chin to me. His weakness is possibly his cardio, so I would want to see him perform well in a R3 before I get really confident but skills wise I think he’s legit.

Breaking through level 2
The following fighters are ranked outside the top 15 in their division but I believe will have a good year and stand a good chance of moving into that top 15.

Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman These two could be pretty interchangeable in terms of a writeup.  They would both merk a lot of guys in the top 15 and it’s a bit ridiculous that they’re not ranked already. I wouldn’t bet anyone outside of Woodley against either of them. I would definitely back them both to beat several of the top 15, though I’m not gunna say who in case those matchups get made 🙂
The knock on Covington was his standup. I actually think his standup has been pretty decent for a while (back as far as the Pyle fight) and people started to realise that a bit more in his last fight. My main problem with him is the stuff he says… he says a lot of dumb shit and that doesn’t fill me with much confidence in terms of decision making at the highest level.
Usman seems more level headed but perhaps a little less of a threat to be a finisher more long term. Again, the opportunity for prop betting the decision is there, particularly for Usman.
Justin Scoggins He lost his last fight against Munhoz but the guy is legit and that was a terrible matchup. His main problem is his lack of power but that also opens up opportunities for prop betting – Scoggins by unanimous decision.
Kevin Lee Dude is just good at stuff…. He’s good at taking you down and beating you up and he’s good enough at striking to hang with most people.
Rustam Khabilov …. by decision. Will probably wrestle-hump his way into the bottom of the top 15 where he’ll find his natural level but he’s just there to bet on by decision every time.
Santiago Ponzinibbio I’d kinda forgotten this guy existed till I had a look through the fightmatrix rankings site to see if I’d missed anyone. He’s older than I thought he was but still just about young enough to be making improvements as a semi-prospect. I would take him to beat at least 1/3 of the current top 15 at welterweight, which I think is probably the most inaccurate list in terms of actual talent at the weight.
Nordine Taleb He got a surprise KO in his last fight and if he’s added power to his game, that’s a massive bonus. A grinder in the mould of Covington but with a lower tempo… However, as very much an under the radar guy, it’s not so much I think he’s going to end up being a top 15 guy, I just think he’s going to offer value depending on the matchup.
Vicente Luque It’s possible that the impressive KOs will negate any value here. However, adding that power is something that has piqued my interest. At 25 he’s an interesting age. He’s showed poor defensive wrestling on TUF and in his loss to Michael Graves but I think that’s a hole he can fill in. I wouldn’t bet him against any dominant wrestler until we see for sure though.

Newbies
Could easily end up top 15 but more likely will just make a decent impression. Less fights and more question marks than the fighters above.

Tatiana Suarez She absolutely carved up the (decent level of) competition on TUF and in the finale. Impressive offensive grappling should be enough to pick off a lot of competition in this division. I’d have to remind myself of her standup, so that’s a possible hole.
Justin Ledet Another who could have gone in the breakthrough category. In a weak division we could easily see him zoom into the top 15 in one or two more fights. Very good striking and very good jiu jitsu but we’re yet to see his wrestling. There are a lot of big lumps at heavyweight so he could get wrestle-humped to a decision loss. He also doesn’t appear to have massive power. If he can make 205 then I’d say that was a better fit and he could be kind of like an upgraded Magnus Cedenblad. At 265lb I think the options are probably limited by his size but he’s someone I’ll be keeping an eye on.
Tyson Pedro Very little to go off but what he have seen looked impressive. A dominant grappler with power.
Matthew Lopez At this weight you kinda hit a brick wall in the top 5-8 fighters but this guy has a good all round game. He’s got nice scrambles and generally just a good, scrappy, fighter’s instinct.
Shane Burgos a Lando Vanatta-ish style perhaps in his debut (from recollection). Not the sort of fighter I like betting on because he’s a risk taker but he looked way ahead of the curve in terms of a debut fighter.

Quick Mentions & Turnarounds
Zak Cummings I think he’ll run the table on this vets season of TUF. I’m not sure he’ll do much beyond that but a season of TUF is worth a mention.
Lauren Murphy In a threadbare division, she’s been on the wrong end of some iffy decision and as such will be under-valued.
Nina Ansaroff It will be very interesting to see how she gets on this next event. Competitive fights against two good fighters in Lima and Kish but ultimately she showed tactical weakness in staying on bottom too long. She’s had a long layoff now and if she can display better takedown defense and a more urgent desire to scramble and escape, she could pick off 2 or 3 top 20 fighters.

When should you hedge bet? (MMA)

Blog by Mike Tycoon (site owner of Bet MMA). Link: MMA Handicapper Profile
Blog post also includes general discussion of use of bet value analysis tools and when you should bet props in general.

This is a bit of a cathartic post for me after failing to post what I believe was an obvious hedge bet on Michelle Wateson by submission against Paige VanZant. I stated in my writeup that whilst I was picking VanZant, I thought she would be in significant peril early;

“I’m pretty sure that at some points PVZ will end up in bad positions (maybe getting mounted, maybe ending up in armbars) and you’ll probably go “oh man, this was a bad pick” but in the end PVZ will wear Waterson down and come out with a win, hopefully by late stoppage because those odds are crazy good.
…..
[Paige] gives up bad positions to escape, so I would worry about Michelle diving on a sub: That’s the reason I give her a 30% chance of winning rather than the KO, so bear that in mind if you want to hedge. You can get Waterson by sub at 8.0 / +700.”
You can read the full writeup on my handicapper profile.

So why didn’t I actually post a hedge bet tip? I was giving that early sub a rougly 25% chance of happening and the odds suggested just a 12.5% chance of a Waterson sub. That’s a hudge edge. I can’t remember the exact odds but Waterson Sub R1 was at least 16/1,

I’ve made a new betting tool this week: A bet value calculator. It lets you input the odds offered by a bookmaker, then your own perceived odds / probability. If you input 8.0 as bookie odds, then 25% chance as your perceived chance, that pumps out an average ROI of 100%.

The point of that tool is to make you bet sensibly, based on the cold hard facts of ROI. The difficult thing is following through.

Just 4 events prior to this missed hedge opportunity, I did basically exactly the same hedge under very similar circumstances. I believed Scoggins had roughly a 75% chance of a win at 1.61 odds. That on its own is only an average ROI of 21%. That’s just about enough in itself to justify a bet but for me, Munhoz’s only real chance of a win was a sub. So to hedge out we’ve covered virtually every eventuality with just an extra 0.5 units and had a 1U profit if Munhoz won by sub or if Scoggins won by any method.

scoggins vs munhoz submission bet

So I’ve been thinking a lot about why I did this hedge officially and not the Waterson sub hedge. Virtually the same odds, virtually the same % chance given by me of them coming off.

I think the reason I went for the Munhoz hedge was because I viewed Scoggins as having a much lower chance of getting a finish and I also believed Munhoz would be dangerous for the whole fight with that guillotine.

On the other hand, I believed (and still believe) there was a very limited window where Waterson would be dangerous. Once PVZ got through 1 and a half rounds, I thought the fight was all hers and I thought she’d get a finish.

However, there’s flawed logic at work here. It shouldn’t matter if there’s a 1 minute window for a fighter to win or a 15 minute window. If you view the chance of a finish at 25% in both instances, you have to use the same logic. Hedge if there’s value in hedging!

You don’t always have to hedge to make the same profit no matter what the outcome. I frequently put on a cover bet to break even if a perceived risk occurs. In this instance I wish I had put 1 unit on Waterson to win by submission at any time. If it came off I would still have lost money on the fight as I had 8U on PVZ straight up at 1.91 and 1.4U on round props. However, it’s all about bankroll management. Best case scenario I’d make a massive profit on a R4 or 5 finish. Worst case scenario I’d make a 3.4U loss on the fight; a pretty insignificant worst case scenario for a massive potential win. As it is I lost 9.4U on the fight, which is definitely significant.

I will say that you can’t hedge on everything; it gets too complicated and you just eat away at your profit. However, again, try and use raw numerical facts where possible, not just instinct. To do that, use the Bet MMA site’s “your odds tool“. Fill in your % chance of each thing happening then compare the odds produced at the bottom of the page to the real odds offered. If you can cover 90% of the outcomes instead of 70%, for a slightly smaller profit, DO IT. DO IT EVERY TIME.

Interestingly, if you JUST bet these hedges, and your analysis is accurate, you’ll actually generate a better ROI just from the hedges. That Munhoz sub prop generates a perceived ROI of 125%. Comparing that to the Scoggins straight up ROI of 21% and it really makes you think. If you don’t mind losing more bets than you win, it’s a very credible and actually far more sensible way of betting to just bet props… as long as your analysis is good of course! 🙂

Below is my pre-fight breakdown for the PVZ vs Waterson fight in terms of % chances of each thing happening. (Done using the your odds tool).

Paige VanZant vs Waterson Odds

N.B. This is a rough approximation of my thoughts based on what I remember entering… Looking at my writeup I was saying a 1.43 odds for PVZ straight up so I was giving Waterson a lower chance by 3% on something… Anyway you can only approximate your thoughts either after or before the fight….

The point is, I didn’t follow through properly on my own analysis, however approximated. I bet PVZ straight up which is an average ROI of around 30%. Comparatively, the Under 4.5  was available at 2.25 decimal (+125 American) and my suggested line for that was 1.37, which means an average ROI of 64.23%. So if my analysis was right, I should really have gone big on the under. My bias prevented that because I hate betting the under. I think inherently it’s a risky bet as compared to betting the over, which I bet very regularly (38% of my prop/parlay bets) and hit at a very high percentage (90%). Whilst that sounds great, it’s at much lower odds. I just don’t like losing and am a bit of a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of a guy when really, the logical numerical thing to do is trust the numbers and if that means betting the under sometimes, I’ve gotta do it.

I made the bet value calculator this week specifically because this is something I want to get better at. Hopefully you will see more props from me going forward and I would encourage you to use both of the tools I’ve linked in this blog on a regular basis to tighten up your own ROI.

Quick links for access:
My Odds Tool for MMA Fights
Bet Value Calculator

Does betting parlays in MMA make sense?

I was prompted to write the blog after I saw two good level handicappers saying that betting parlays was a bad idea and that ultimately you end up losing money when compared to just betting the sections of the parlay individually. That seemed counter to my own experience, so I wanted to analyse it properly.

From anecdotal evidence of my personal betting, I’ve found parlays to be really successful. However, it’s possible that I was remembering all the wins and discarding losses from my memory banks. I’ve got a whole database of bets to look through though, on Bet MMA, so those stats won’t lie… let’s have a look.

I ran a script that imagined every parlay bet was for 1 unit. I then split those parlays into bits and also calculated what the total winnings / losses would have been if, instead of betting 1 unit on the whole parlay, we bet 1 unit on each of the individual sections.

Now, first of all, it certainly doesn’t look to me like you net lose by betting on parlays. For everyone in the database, here are the stats.

Number of Parlays: 1263
Won: 540 (43%), Lost: 723 (57%)
Winnings: 208 (ROI: 17%)
Average Odds: 2.32

Number of Parlay Sections: 3047
Won: 2032 (67%), Lost: 1015 (33%)
Winnings: -35 (ROI: -1%)
Average Odds: 1.46

As you can see, my initial gut instinct appears to be correct. Whilst most parlays lose, it’s more profitable to bet parlays than the individual sections of the parlays. Handicappers in our directory were risking 41% of the bank balance they’d risk betting all the individual sections, whilst actually ending up with a profit compared to what would have been a loss.

What’s also very interesting, is that people appear to have bet the wrong amounts on each parlay. Whilst betting 1 unit on every parlay in our database would have returned the above profit, the actual profit was only 16.79 units from  3,574.8 units bet.

That’s very interesting and something I’ll look into more further down the article. In terms of a few more basic stats:

For the top 10 of the MMA handicapper directory.
Number of Parlays: 218
Won: 115 (53%), Lost: 103 (47%)
Winnings: 67 (ROI: 31%)
Average Odds: 2.20

Number of Parlay Sections: 512
Won: 377 (74%), Lost: 135 (26%)
Winnings: 53 (ROI: 10%)
Average Odds: 1.43

My own public tip stats
Number of Parlays: 28
Won: 15 (54%), Lost: 13 (46%)
Winnings: 48 (ROI: 170%)
Average Odds: 3.79

Number of Parlay Sections: 95
Won: 77 (81%), Lost: 18 (19%)
Winnings: 43 (ROI: 46%)
Average Odds: 1.52

Again, from both of these two sets of stats, you can see that betting parlays is more profitable. Obviously the better handicappers at the top of the leaderboard have a higher percentage of correct overall parlays and individual picks within those parlays. We would still be making money betting the individual sections but we’d be risking a lot more and not getting as good returns.

I’m going to break it down into the profit by the number of legs in the parlay and see if that makes any difference, to see if less legs = more profit or vice versa.

Parlays with 2 legs
Number of Parlays: 892
Won: 427 (48%), Lost: 465 (52%)
Winnings: 31 (ROI: 3%)
Average Odds: 2.08

Number of Parlay Sections: 1780
Won: 1191 (67%), Lost: 589 (33%)
Winnings: -42 (ROI: -2%)
Average Odds: 1.45

Parlays with 3 legs
Number of Parlays: 266
Won: 93 (35%), Lost: 173 (65%)
Winnings: 55 (ROI: 21%)
Average Odds: 2.79

Number of Parlay Sections: 792
Won: 542 (68%), Lost: 250 (32%)
Winnings: 10 (ROI: 1%)
Average Odds: 1.44

Parlays with >3 legs
Number of Parlays: 105
Won: 20 (19%), Lost: 85 (81%)
Winnings: 123 (ROI: 117%)
Average Odds: 4.87

Number of Parlay Sections: 475
Won: 299 (63%), Lost: 176 (37%)
Winnings: -3 (ROI: -1%)
Average Odds: 1.54

Another interesting breakdown is the bet amount, so let’s look at over or under 1 unit bet on a parlay.

1 unit & over parlays
Number of Parlays: 2187
Won: 996 (46%), Lost: 1191 (54%)
Winnings: -31 (ROI: -1%)
Average Odds: 2.15

Number of Parlay Sections: 3714
Won: 2316 (62%), Lost: 1398 (38%)
Winnings: -80 (ROI: -2%)
Average Odds: 1.56

Under 1 unit parlays
Number of Parlays: 306
Won: 77 (25%), Lost: 229 (75%)
Winnings: 227 (ROI: 74%)
Average Odds: 4.41

Number of Parlay Sections: 563
Won: 249 (44%), Lost: 314 (56%)
Winnings: 30 (ROI: 5%)
Average Odds: 2.31

SO now we’ve started to hit some more meaningful numbers. We can see that when it comes to the entire directory, the larger unit bet parlays are indeed losing money although very, very marginally. On the other hand, the bets you’d probably consider a bit of a punt (where people are going big odds at a much lower stake, on more legs), are paying off pretty handsomely.

There is one huge outlier bet amongst this lot, from MMA Bets UK. massive odds mma bet

That is contributing 136 units of the 227. Even without it, you’re still looking at a good profit. However, really we shouldn’t remove it because that’s kind of the point – with big parlays, you only need to hit one every so often to have a massive impact on your profitability.

That bet also goes a little way to highlighting one of the type of bets I personally think are good value; x wins by decision. I hit these up quite regularly with my personal betting and whilst there won’t be many times when you can call 5 of them correctly all on the same event, I think they’re great value.

What I personally like to do is find one bet I think is a bit of a punt but massively over-valued, then add one some “sure thing” bets, which I think have an 85%+ chance of coming off. Below are a couple of my bets along these lines; one which came off and one which didn’t.

MMA betting, Bet MMA

As you can see, I’ve gone for one underdog pick and then a load of favourites. If the dog bit comes off and one of the favourite parts doesn’t, you end up looking like a bit of a plonker. However, for me personally, as you can see from the stats above, parlaying things together is still net paying off with higher returns.

You can also see that I was inadvertently doing what the above breakdown suggests is a good plan; betting more than you might think is a good idea on these big parlays. Had I pussed out and only put 0.5 units, that’s ~20 units I’d have missed out on.

A perfect example of which can be found in my picks from this weekend’s card. I was about 70% sure that Luis Henrique was going to get a stoppage and the odds were 3.5 (aka a 28.57% chance). That’s an enormous difference. I parlayed 2 units in there with a couple of other bits for a probable 8 unit profit (if Namajunas wins) but I’ve regretted only doing 2 units on inside the distance, not just with my tips but with my personal betting. 8U of profit off a 2U bet is nice… but if you’re confident enough that the odds are sooooooooo far off, there’s no harm in doubling that in my opinion. Especially if you have access to in-play betting, recouping a potential 4 unit loss should be no bother at all. If 4 units profit does seem like a bit of a struggle to make up… well I’d suggest following someone else’s picks from the top of our directory!

Obviously you have to hit SOME of your parlays and if you have a run of 10 misses in a row at 2 units, that’s a big problem… So, well… don’t miss that many in a row! Research a LOT, be generally cautious, but bet the big value relatively big.

In terms of poor research and the example above, I added that Over 0.5 rounds pick as a bit of a throwaway add-on, having watched plenty of Leslie Smith in the past but not having watched any tape at all for this specific matchup. I watched some tape about a week after making this bet and immediately regretted it. DO NOT rely on gut instinct!

What I’d also say is that it’s a bad idea to try and aim for a certain combined odds and bump up your parlay to those odds… e.g. “I reckon I’ll try and do a 10/1 parlay this weekend; let’s see what looks good”. Just take things as they go. Sometimes I don’t think there’s any value at all in a parlay. Sometimes I just bet a really short odds prop and be happy to take a 20% profit. However, if you’ve had an event where you’ve done a lot of research and watched several fights, parlay away, I say.

Finally, as with everything, keep a note of whether you’re actually making a profit doing it. Some people will be good at this and some won’t. There’s no shame in not being that great at parlays because it takes a lot of effort, time and research. If you don’t have that time, stick to the props!

The Unbettable Fighters of MMA

I wanted to address the issue of whether anyone can be truly unbettable as a fighter, when it comes to MMA.

This weekend was a stinker for me as I picked my first incorrect winner as a tipster, to break that unbeaten run and go to 33-1. Given that Warlley Alves, my new nemesis, is absolutely the better fighter and should rightly have been a heavy favourite; what made this a bad bet? What made him lose? What can I take forward and not make the same mistake again?

  1. The glaring thing that everyone knew about Warlley is that his cardio wasn’t great. Whenever I’ve written any mailers, I always try to press this home as the most important feature of any fight.
  2. In reality though, just as important is gameplanning. I said in my writeup that Barberena’s strongest area was the clinch. I also said Warlley wouldn’t be dumb enough to come out all guns blazing again, like he did vs Alan Jouban. He came out guns blazing, gassed his arms out in the first 20 seconds of the fight with a guillotine, then clinched up for pretty much the rest of the fight. It was unfathomable.

So does it make Warlley Alves an unbettable fighter? Well kind of, yeah. He’s just lost to someone he outmatched pretty much everywhere by literally doing the only thing he shouldn’t have. It doesn’t mean you should bet against him though; the guy has massive upside.

What I will be doing going forward is adding a few new attributes to the MMA fighter skills on the fighter profiles. Here are my ratings for Warlley Alves.

Warlley Alves Physical & Mental Ratings

Warlley Alves Physical & Mental Ratings

You’ll notice a very low rating now for Cornermen. That covers training and preparation too because if I can see that was the worst gameplan possible, his corner should be able to too! If you can, keep a log of which camps offer up terrible gameplans. I had a red flag on ATT for a couple of fights, whilst The MMA Lab, home of Brian Barberena, have offered up some superb corner advice in the past and really do appear to know how to gameplan too.

I’m going to add Reliability / Predictability, Will To Win, Dictates Fight and some other general skill attributes. The predictability is the most important new addition. When betting any MMA fighter, you want to feel they are predictable. That goes for both your pick and their opponent.

The issue then is that if both guys are predictable, it’s easier for the bookmakers, such as http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/betting/c/402/UFC+++MMA.html, to set their odds. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value of course!

It’s kind of similar to the concept of betting the over vs the under. According to our combined MMA handicapper stats, way more people correctly predict the over (69%) than the under (59%), but the odds are longer on the under, as it’s more unpredictable. It depends what sort of MMA bettor you are. Betting the over is by far the most popular prop bet in our directory, making up 24% of total prop picks and as a handicapper, I believe it’s a lot easier to sell picks if you’re nearly always getting them right at fairly modest odds, rather than being totally hit and miss but with better odds.

To back that up, the top 10 handicappers are much more starkly in the favour of betting the over.

172 picks on the over, 73% success rate and average odds of 1.59.
43 picks on the under, 56% success rate and average odds of 1.84.

So it’s up to you guys to assess the value there. Overall stats from the entire directory suggest that although riskier, betting under at longer odds is better. However, looking just at the top guys, betting the over but getting it right nearly all the time is the way to go.

I sent out a mass mailer before this weekend’s UFC 198 card discussing the importance of using % chance numbers rather than gut instinct, as gut instinct tends to be overly optimistic,

From now on, if a fighter is totally unpredictable, like Jon Jones or Warlley Alves, in terms of whether they’ll under-perform or do stupid gameplans, I’ll be factoring in that predictability very heavily indeed!

How to make money betting UFC in play – Guide

First off, I’ll state that I’m not a high stakes gambler. My current betting bankroll is just over £1200 ($1700US) off initial deposits of £650, about 6 months ago. I didn’t really bet at all before I set up this site. However, since starting handicapping (and doing well at it), I have started to take betting on MMA seriously. I’d say  slightly less than half the money I’ve made so far has been on in-play, so whilst you obviously can’t handicap that aspect of betting, I can try and explain what I try to do.

The most important thing is multi-tabbing. You can totally make money betting UFC in play if you just have one bookmaker but you’re ignoring a goldmine if you do. Several bookies offer in play betting on the UFC (Unibet, Ladbrokes, Boyles, Bet365 and probably plenty of others) and the lines offered are frequently massively different. Just on UFC 196, there were 3 fights where I managed to get guaranteed profits as different bookies had a different underdog at the same time.

I don’t view that as a particularly great way to make money, as profits are minimal. Also, you can get screwed over if one bookmaker suspends the market and you only get half the bet on in time. That happened to me with a 7 unit bet 🙂 So if you do wanna bet two bookies for a guaranteed profit, I’ld suggest doing so only in the first couple of rounds and even better, between rounds (when the odds don’t change so much). Most of the bookies also have a delay of about 8 seconds before your bet is placed and if the odds change, it might ask you to re-confirm, so make sure the bet has actually gone through!

Anyway, forget that sneaky business, the best way to make money in play (at least for me, so far), has been doing a bit of scouting beforehand to understand the basic fundamentals of a fighter’s game and then bet accordingly, preferably an underdog who is outperforming their odds. That might sound obvious but the key is to get on the bet before everyone else catches on… and to do that, a little knowledge goes a long way, especially on a card full of live dogs.

So going in to UFC 196 I had my eye on several guys as live dogs, should a particular set of circumstances play out, primarily Darren Elkins. Although I couldn’t handicap any of this, I did send out a mass mail to my followers on BetMMA with notes on all the fights I scouted and what to watch out for. Regarding Skelly vs Elkins I wrote.

Having scouted Chas Skelly before, I don’t particularly rate him and he has a bad gas tank…. bla bla bla a bit of fight analysis…. However, if you have access to in play betting and it’s a close R1, even if Elkins just about loses the round, I’d get on him in play. If you can get something like +450 after losing the first, it’s worth a shot because I think he should take over the later part of the fight. If he wins the first round and the price is anything acceptable, get on it.

The key point regarding this fight was the fighters’ respective gas tanks. That’s the number one value maker when two guys are evenly matched…. One guy goes balls to the wall early, ends up as a heavy in play favourite, you get on the opponent with a better gas tank at some tasty price like +300 and he takes over the fight to win a decision. In this instance the first round was really tight and with Chas being the favourite, money came in on him. At the end of round 1, Darren Elkins was available at +300, 4.0, 3/1 with Ladbrokes. He’d actually WON the first round with two of the judges. He did indeed take over the fight and won 30-26, 30-27, 29-27. Happy days.

On the other side of things, in play lets you avoid making value bets that turn out to be bad judgement calls. Guimaraes was another guy I scouted pretty heavily pre-event. I thought he was under-valued at +250 and the line should have been a little closer. However, it really wasn’t worth a pre-event bet, as I did think he’d probably end up losing. Instead, I wanted to see if he could land a takedown and keep Miranda on the mat. He couldn’t, so I didn’t bet him. In the end I actually bet “someone to win by TKO” near the end of R1 at +200, as Guimaraes started to really look gassed after a failed takedown attempt.

The only place I know which offers the specific props like that is Unibet. The odds there tend to be by far the most accurate to what’s going on and therefore trickiest to make money on straight fight bets, but there are obviously still plenty of opportunities.

With regards those props, I am also partial to some incremental returns from stuff that’s never going to happen in a million years, even if it’s only a 5-10% return. “Nobody wins by sub” or “Nobody wins in R1”, when there’s 1 min 30 left in the round and nothing’s happened between two pillow fisted, granite chinned fighters. It all adds up, if you can be bothered! Again though, it’s all about prior knowledge because you can’t afford to get any wrong at those sort of odds.

Going back to straight up fight betting, one other key thing to do is keep an eye on both the Twitter hashtag for the UFC event and at least one play by play writeup. I personally keep an eye on Sherdog. At the end of each round, have a look at who people think won the round on Twitter and the PBP and if the odds are the wrong way around, get on it. Taleb was an example of that at UFC 196. He was still a decent underdog at the end of R1 (something like +225) but most people on twitter and all 3 people on Sherdog thought Taleb won R1. Combine that with the fact that Taleb was looking better than evenr and Silva has questionable cardio and it was a bit of a no-brainer. The KO was just a really nice bonus.

A lot of that covers when to bet on the dogs but should you bother betting on favourites in play? Obviously it’s riskier as the odds will be shortening from an already pretty weak return, so in general don’t just bet anyone who you think is winning. People come back from adversity all the time. However, sometimes it’s just clear that once a certain incident happens, one guy’s pretty screwed, or at the very least, is in big, big trouble. Again, it comes down to a little bit of knowledge. Saggo vs Salas at UFC 196 is a perfect example. Before the fight I didn’t know whether Saggo would get the fight to the mat, where he has a massive advantage. Salas ended up taking the fight to the mat, got refersed straight away and that was the cue for a decent sized in play bet on Saggo at around 1.25 / -400.

Finally, the last remaining point is cashing out your bets. I cash out all the time on things I don’t think will come off. However, don’t think of it like “oh, I bet $5 and I can cash out at $2.50, at least I’m getting half my money back.” No you’re not. If you bet $5 at 2.00 / +100, you’re effectively betting $10 to win $2.50, if this is an either / or outcome, because you’re losing out on the potential winnings too. Would you bet 1.25 or -400 to take the other side of the bet? If the answer’s yes, cool, cash out.

Remember, you can’t win em all, however much you try. Every so often you’ll get screwed by a bad judges call (I bet Marion Reneau in play pretty big against Ashlee Evans-Smith). Also, don’t try and force it. Some events just aren’t great for in play, e.g. if all the favourites end up winning. I am of the opinion that in general, you’re better off not betting at all than betting a fight at worse odds than you think it should be, so when that’s the case, forget about betting and just enjoy the damned fight! Or if you can’t help yourself, just play those little 5-10% bankers 🙂

N.B. Time permitting, I send out a mailer about possible in play opportunities for each event to my followers on the main site. Visit my profile to follow me.

MMA Handicapper Interview: UFC Moneymaker

Happy New Year everyone! As we had a couple of weeks between UFC events, I decided to do an interview with one of our handicappers. If you are interested in being featured as the next MMA handicapper interview, let me know.

First up, we have UFC Moneymaker. Based in the UK, like myself (hence us talking about MMA in the UK later in the interview). Since signing up on Bet MMA, he has a record of:

Overall Stats

Straight Fight Picks

Props

Parlays

Right 46 (55%) Right 23 (79%) Right 20 (43%) Right 3 (38%)
Wrong 38 (45%) Wrong 6 (21%) Wrong 27 (57%) Wrong 5 (63%)
Ave Odds 1.97 Ave Odds 1.76 Ave Odds 2.01 Ave Odds 3.03
Units Bet 162.0 Units Bet 73.0 Units Bet 76.0 Units Bet 13.0
Units Profit 23.03 Units Profit 27.55 Units Profit -7.62 Units Profit 3.10
ROI % 14% ROI % 38% ROI % -10% ROI % 24%

Winning Events: 14 (67%)
Losing Events: 7 (33%)

UFC handicapper / tipster record

You can find UFCMoneymaker’s profile here and his personal website at ufcmoneymaker.co.uk where you can find his long term record.

———–

Bet MMA: What’s your real name and how long have you been handicapping MMA?

ufcmoneymaker: Matt White, and it’s been around 3 years now.

Bet MMA: What do you do in real life as a job?

ufcmoneymaker: I work in Sports betting for a large Sportsbook.

Bet MMA: How would you describe your handicapping style in general?

ufcmoneymaker: I’d say I approach from a fan perspective, I don’t charge for tips so I look for things I like not just quick profits. I’ve always been a prop man but went through a poor run and needed to change something, so I moved to Straight, Prop and Parlay; also ramped up the units.

Bet MMA: So, presumably as a fan, you have a good base knowledge but how much tape watching do you do specifically for picks? And would you say that tape watching often changes your initial gut instinct pick?

ufcmoneymaker:  I watch every event and have a vast library of Pride and UFC to pick from.
I tend to go with my gut for most picks, referring to tape if I am in any doubt. I also work out what I fancy before looking at any odds, that way I don’t get swayed by the oddsmakers; given that they are so frequently wrong.

Bet MMA: When the odds are heavily one way and you think the other way, is your prediminant emotion excitement or self-doubt? 😀

ufcmoneymaker: Doubt, briefly. You always think whether you have missed something obvious. But sometimes the bookies are caught up in the sort of hype that a handicapper can’t possess. Just look at recent dog bets on Karolina Kowalkievicz (sic) Rose Namajunas and Ryan Bader. All decent dogs but should have been favs.

Bet MMA: So, it’s 23 fights since you got a straight pick wrong, including 7 underdogs. That’s pretty sweet. Have you done anything differently recently to hit that run?

ufcmoneymaker: Nothing, my mates always say Blind Squirrels and Broken Clocks. Toss a coin often enough and you’ll go on a decent run. I always get concerned about streaks as regression to the mean is a bitch.

Bet MMA: I think that runs a bit more than luck, so let’s hope the graph keeps pointing in the right direction 🙂
Anyway, going back to the underdogs thing. Do you look at specific types of fighter that might offer value? By that specifically, I mean that I personally seem to have started picking unbeaten fighters to lose their first fight. Is there a certain category of fighter that you think offers potential value?

ufcmoneymaker: I tend to fade the fighter who has been on lengthy layoff. Im also keen to look a first timers facing more established fighters. KK was a standout v Markos. Also, previous winners with a poor performance is an auto fade; mikael Lebout for example.

Bet MMA: So, you say you do this mostly on instinct. How much had you seen of Karolina Kowalkievicz previously and how much non-UFC MMA do you watch? And what ultimately made you go for that pick?

ufcmoneymaker: I’d seen precious little, but when she was signed a mate was raving about her as the best European female fighter outside the UFC. I trust his opinion on that. I do watch some non-UFC, bellator is a decent watch but mostly squash matches, as with Rizin. I’ve always looked to attend BAMMA and Cage Warriors when they are nearby, as well as judging regional fights in Stoke on Trent for Ross Pointon.
I picked KK because I felt the UFC would be desperate for JJ v KK in Poland at some stage in 2016 and their current style is to build fighters we style rather than put them up against the best in the division.

Bet MMA: Ross Pointon: He of the most grizzly head cuts, for those reading this who haven’t seen it! Have you been to any UFCs live? I’m presuming so… If so, what’s the best fight you’ve seen live?

5185-ZaromskisPointon_002_CR24

ufcmoneymaker: That’s the one, he runs Night of the Gladiators locally. I’ve been to a few: ufc138 in Birmingham, 146 in Vegas as well as the Fight Night cards at Wembley, O2, Glasgow, Manchester and Nottingham.
Best fight though? You’ll have to give me a couple of minutes on that one 🙂

I don’t think I have a best fight, I’ve got a most uncomfortable (Sexton v Andrade) and UFC 146 was by far the best event.

Bet MMA: I can empathise with the uncomfortable thing. The first fight I saw live was a one sided beatdown in a near empty O2 arena. When it finished me and my friends turned to each other and said “urgh…. I’m not sure I enjoyed watching that.”
Thankfully when it filled out, it didn’t feel as weird.

ufcmoneymaker: The Sexton fight should have been stopped, it was a beat down.

Bet MMA: So, you mention your wife; what’s she make of MMA in general? You also mentioned your friends – it sounds like you’re lucky enough to have mates who are also into MMA.

ufcmoneymaker: She tolerates it. Absolutely despises football and knows I love sport so she picks the lesser evil. I’ve got a couple of mates into MMA, only one that’s as into it as I am, that’s my event buddy 🙂
To be honest just being able to shoot the shit with someone about MMA in general is a nice bonus.

Bet MMA: So, back to handicapping, what would you say was your best pick to date?

ufcmoneymaker: That’s easy, starting out I got Ross Pearson over George Sotiropoulis in the 3rd round at 22/1

Bet MMA: What made you go for that?

ufcmoneymaker: I don’t know, I fancied inside the distance but uk books were not offering it so I rolled the dice on a gut feeling.

But, I’ll always remember Condit v Kampmann II – I went through the main card, props, straights, cumulative odds of just over 1000/1

Bet MMA: Do you remember what you went for in that 1000/1?

ufcmoneymaker:
Yeah I do, actually:
Brad Tavares by decision at 5/4
Court McGee by decision (over Robert Whittaker) 7/4
Tavares over McDaniel
Mizugaki over Erik Perez
Gastelum over melancon by sub 7/1
RDA over Cerrone by decision 11/5
Condit over Kampmann by ko 13/8

My finest hour. Nearly repeated it the following week but the main event broke me.

Bet MMA: Yup, that’ll do nicely! Wanna share how much you had on that and what you did with the winnings?

ufcmoneymaker: You know what sucks? I didn’t have a penny on it. It was part of an article I wrote for Fighters Only. Nobody has ever let me forget it.

Bet MMA: argh…. ballbags!

ufcmoneymaker: I said…..similar. I don’t bet all my tips. Some I do, but mainly only when the line is really wrong.

Bet MMA: How did you get that gig with Fighters Only?

ufcmoneymaker: At UFC Nottingham.
There was a UFC fight club party, I invited them along as a promo piece, got talking to the online editor and put a proposal up to him, he went for it and I’ve been doing it since.

They did a video story, interviewed a few of the members, gave away some tickets and hosted a hand wrapping competition with Stitch. I won with a friend of mine, I had to wrap her hands in toilet paper like Stitch showed us with the proper stuff. We had Leon Roberts, Mark Goddard, Alex Gustafson there.

Bet MMA: Have you met many fighters in real life? If so, who’s been the nicest?

ufcmoneymaker: Yeah a fair few. Met Cain Velasquez while walking down the Las Vegas Strip, Johny Hendricks at UFC 146, Edson Barboza in the mgm ice cream parlour, he posed for a pic after Jamie Varner had ko’d him. Gustafson a few times, Ross Pearson a few times,Luke Rockhold was pretty cool too as was Brittany Palmer. Nicest was Randy Couture though, met him at a BAMMA event and took the time to say hi despite security trying to push us all away
Oh I forgot about Stefan Struve ( he towered over me and I’m 6’2″) but Pat Barry was pretty cool too, despite the fact he should have finished over an hour earlier.

Bet MMA: Yeah. that’s really cool of him.

ufcmoneymaker: Most of the fighters are top guys. They recognise the fan involvement in the sport.

Bet MMA: I’d like to give a shout out to the late Shawn Tompkins at this point actually. He climbed up the side of the bleachers to take a pic with me after a weighins once.

Bet MMA: Looking forward, what do you reckon to the general landscape of MMA at the moment? Any fighters you particularly look forward to watching? Do you think we’re at a stage where the sport itself is fully developed or do you think we’ve still got a way to go before it reaches its potential?

ufcmoneymaker: Long way to go yet. People are conditioned to boxing, MMA by comparison is viewed as barbaric due to violence, even though the skillset is far higher.
I am very keen on Aljamain Sterling, he’s got a huge future ahead of him.

The sport needs more mainstream icons. McGregor and Rousey have been great for the public profile of the sport. Those who don’t get MMA know who they are, that’s a great thing as it legitimises the sport.

Bet MMA: It’s funny isn’t it. Some people don’t like MMA cos they think it’s boring, then some don’t like it cos they think it’s too violent.

ufcmoneymaker: Yeah people I know confuse it with wwe which irritates me. Others refer to it as oiled up men cuddling on the floor. We need to get some mainstream celebs at the events, people that can be identified with. Whatshisface from One Direction and Noel Clarke don’t quite cut it yet.

Bet MMA: I think we need a regular set of events, every couple of months in europe. When all the events are late at night, i dont think there’s any reason for media to cover it.

ufcmoneymaker: Yeah, although Anderson Silva is going to bring huge attention next month. Terrestrial tv in the uk will also help.

Bet MMA: For sure… it’s just that there won’t be another event in the UK for probably 6 months, so there’s never any momentum. It probably needs Sky to buy the rights and put it on Sky Sports News.

ufcmoneymaker: Tell me about it. Best year was when we had two, London and Manchester. Downside is that ticket prices will rocket and events will be harder to attend; guess we can’t win.

Bet MMA: Yeah, im not sure im too bothered about going live anymore. first UFC we went to was £25 for the front row of the top bowl at hte O2, just behind the exec boxes. Would probably be £150 now. That was only 7 years ago.

ufcmoneymaker: I just paid £166 for l1, square on the octagon for Feb.

Bet MMA: Yeah, I’m not sure I can justify that sort of price, even if I can write it off. Might make the trip to Stockholm for one or something like that and make a holiday of it with some mates.

ufcmoneymaker: I’m aiming for Berlin or Poland.

Bet MMA: So… Proper questions…. In terms of your own website, how long have you had that set up? I know you give away your picks for free, so have any of your followers ever sent you any pennies as a thanks for winning them some money?

ufcmoneymaker: I set it up when I started with Fighters Only; it was more for recording all my picks. Nobody ever sent me a single penny, I should put up a tip jar. When I get around to my new site maybe I’ll put one up.

Bet MMA: Any aspirations of making any money out of it all?

ufcmoneymaker: Long term maybe, I don’t have the userbase yet.

Bet MMA: Do you have any fighters that you keep going back to bet on again and again? And conversely, anyone who’s burned you mutiple times?

ufcmoneymaker: Repeat bets are Lawler & Rockhold, the burner is Overeem. He’s done me too many times. I’ll bet Rockhold against pretty much anyone, huge fan. I’d bet Mighty Mouse over Overeem, he’s done me that many times.

Bet MMA: Yeah, heavyweights are a tricky pospect. I tend to steer clear. Looking at your stats though, you seem to spread your picks across all weight classes. Mostly lower main card guys. Is that deliberate or just happenstance?

ufcmoneymaker: Coincidence I’d say. For FO I cover all on the main card, so I’ll always get a decent mix. Occasionally I’ll not get a chance to do a write up so I’ll end up putting my instinct picks out; eg TUF cards.

Bet MMA: Do you tend to look at stats much? Have the BetMMA stats pages provided any helpful insight?

ufcmoneymaker: I rarely look at stats unless it’s for an individual fighter, the past doesn’t predict the future. Or, at least I try not too.

Bet MMA: Well I’ll have to see if the Bet Bot can prove you wrong on that one 😀

ufcmoneymaker: Ha ha, bring it on.

Bet MMA: Does it bug you that you use a 1-5 unit scale and others use at 1-11 scale, which if you used, you’d be higher up the leaderboard? *N.B. I will be trying to do an adjusted table at some point to help with that.

ufcmoneymaker: It used to. Before April this year I was a strictly 1 unit man, if I’d been more proactive my lifetime stats would probably be double what they are at least.

Bet MMA: What have we got left to talk about?

ufcmoneymaker: I don’t know, least favourite event live? Wembley, worst event I’ve ever seen, either on TV or in person.

Bet MMA: What was that event?

ufcmoneymaker: It was Barao v McDonald, it stunk.

Bet MMA: Moving on then. What do you think of MMA judging at the moment and does it impact your picks in any way?

ufcmoneymaker: As a judge myself I feel for some judges, but many don’t help themselves. Judging has no impact on my picks, unless it’s Benson Henderson 🙂

Bet MMA: Why him in particular?

ufcmoneymaker: He’s a point fighter, he seems to know what they are scoring on. Others are not so lucky.

Bet MMA: What did you reckon to the scoring this weekend at UFC 195?

ufcmoneymaker: I’ve not seen the whole thing yet due to work. I had some contentious views on the title fight though, not everyone agrees with me.

Bet MMA: Oh yeah?

ufcmoneymaker:
I gave Condit, round 1
Lawler Round 2
Narrowly went with Lawler in the 3rd
Condit in the 4th
The fifth, while universally scored for Lawler I gave to Condit by virtue of winning 4/5 mins of the round. The flurry from Lawler was impressive but it was a final roll of the dice, based on scoring criteria it had to go to Condit.

Bet MMA: Well, whilst I think you’re off your rocker for scoring R3 for Lawler and think you’d probably change your mind if you watched it again, I don’t disagree on R5. Lawler lost 4 minutes of R5. I think people only think it’s clearly Lawler because they thought the epic comeback win might have been on. If that was R1, they might have had a different view.

ufcmoneymaker: Didn’t help that I knew the result before watching the fight, but I thought I’d score it anyway. Maybe I’ll rewatch the 3rd, but Twitter was completely against me for the 5th.

Bet MMA: I stayed up to watch it live. First time I’ve done that in about 5 years.

ufcmoneymaker: See, I did that for 194; it was the bigger event.

Bet MMA: One point I’ve tried making on the Condit fight. This magical sixth sense that some people think they have for deciding how damaging a shot is…. Lawler throws massive punches with his teeth showing. That doesn’t mean they hurt more. If Conor hadn’t knocked out Aldo with that punch, people would have thought that was a sort of 4/10 power punch.
Condit caught Lawler plenty of times with good solid shots; they’re just more efficient and less obviously aggressive.

ufcmoneymaker: Agree, completely. The big question was do you score for a guy who throws less and lands more or a guy who throws more and lands less.

Bet MMA: Or in this instance, a guy who throws more and lands more 🙂

ufcmoneymaker: Percentage wise Lawler landed more didn’t he?

Bet MMA: Not sure. I think condit landed more shots than Lawler threw. From recollection, I think Condit’s land % was probably about 35%. I personally thought Condit, Ansaroff, Noke and Soto all won. I picked them all in a pickem contest, so I was pissed off 🙂

ufcmoneymaker: According to http://UFC.com Lawler landed 53% total strikes and 52% significant strikes. Condit was 35% on both.

Lawler vs Condit UFC 195 strike stats

Bet MMA: Oooh, good guess. Right, let’s wrap things up with a couple of quick general questions.

Bet MMA: What would be your general advice to anyone who wanted to bet on MMA, in terms of making good picks? Both straight fight picks and what to look for in a prop. And as a nice finishing post, how about putting together a semi realistic fantasy card with like 5 fights, which would suit a main / co-main / rest of the card.

ufcmoneymaker: For general advice, I’d say don’t rush into it. People look at betting as easy; it isn’t. Making money at MMA is a slog and it’s getting harder. Bookmakers are smartening up and it won’t be too long till the odds are unbettable, like most boxing matches. Start with props, get to know how they work and use them for fun, particularly in the big favourites. It’s the only time you’ll get value from someone like Rousey.

For a fantasy card? I’d opt for a 5 fight main card.
To get the show underway I’d pick
Carlos Condit v Matt Brown
McGregor v Cerrone
Fedor v Randy Couture
co-main is GSP v Anderson Silva
and headlined by Jon Jones v Cain Velasquez.

Call it UFC: Awesome Violence

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Thanks to Matt for his time and insight. Please follow Matt and anyone else who’s doing a good job in our MMA Handicapper Directory of the best MMA Handicappers on the net!

UFC 194 Betting Offers – McGregor vs Aldo

Just a quick blog post to let people know that several of the UK bookmakers are putting up big special offers for new customers wanting to bet on the UFC 194 Aldo vs McGregor card.

If you sign up with NetBet, they will give you 7/1 on either fighter. Any odds over the standard odds at the time will be paid out as a free bet.

The other big bookmaker offer on UFC 194 is courtesy of BetFair. They will give you 5/1 on Conor McGregor and 8/1 on Jose Aldo. Given that Aldo is now the favourite, that’s a pretty sweet deal!

This isn’t something they’ll do very often – it’s only cos the rest of the casual fan base is jumping on the MMA bandwagon for the weekend, so make the most of the freebies!

MMA Betting Apps

If you want keep up to date with our mma handicappers more easily on your mobile, we’ve now got three apps relating to the MMA stats and MMA betting aspects of the site.

The main one for UFC betting is our MMA Free Betting Tips app. It also includes the paid betting tips but it’s just called free betting tips cos that sounds more appealing to new users 🙂 From there you can keep up to date with everyone’s picks and follow handicappers to get emails alerts when they make new picks.

The second app is our MMA / UFC Statistics App. This basically covers all the stats bits of the sites. As with the rest of the site, it weaves together UFC betting stats with general stats such as height, reach, weight, age etc to provide plenty of very useful MMA Betting info.

The final app is our odds conversion tool. Created for us by Mark O’Sullivan, on of our top users for MMA Tycoon. This app allows you to convert from American, Decimal and % Probability odds formats.

Please download and rate the apps to help push us up the rankings on Google Play!