UFC Betting in New York

In the MMA fighting world, the UFC is the ultimate fighting league. It’s an incredibly popular sporting series that draws millions of viewers from around the world, even though just two decades ago it was far from profitable and struggling to be successful.

Furthermore, the rise of online and mobile sports betting legalization has allowed the UFC to thrive in life betting markets and online spheres. While New York is still debating online sports betting, let’s break down everything you need to know about UFC betting in the Empire State so you’re ready when mobile sportsbooks finally launch.

How to bet on UFC fights in NY

Unfortunately, UFC sports betting enthusiasts are not able to enjoy mobile or online sports betting in New York. For now, only retail sports betting is allowed at New York’s various tribal-run casinos. These retail sportsbooks will allow you to place bets on UFC matches.

However, recent legislative pushes in the state Senate and Assembly have indicated a strong legislative desire to legalize online sports betting. Furthermore, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stated his public support for mobile sports betting legalization sometime soon.

While a pair of bills have already reached the state legislature for debate, there has not been any concrete information or developments since January 2021. For now, sports betting enthusiasts will have to wait.

However, bettors should still not place wagers at unlicensed or unregulated online sites since there’s too much potential for their money to be stolen or their personal information compromised.

UFC betting odds explained

As with most other types of regulated sports betting, odds are displayed in a plus or minus format (+ or -). For example, in a given matchup between a pair of UFC fighters, the favorite or most likely player to win will have odds with a “-“ symbol attached. This indicates high odds of victory, so any sports bettors who wager with that player will have lower average payouts.

In contrast, the underdog player will have a “+” symbol next to them. This indicates low odds of victory and accordingly higher payout possibilities. In America, odds are displayed in a traditional moneyline format that tells you how much money you need to wager to win $100 or how much money a $100 bet will give you.

Here’s an example, taken straight from odds for UFC 258 Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns, a match that took place on February 13 in Las Vegas:

  • Kamaru Usman (-250) vs Gilbert Burns (+200)

The above line indicates that Usman was the favorite for oddsmakers with most mobile sportsbooks. They predicted that he would win the match. Therefore, players would have needed to wager $250 to win $100 since the odds were in their favor. Gilbert Burns was the underdog and had +200 odds. Therefore, players could wager $100. If they won, they would also get $200 for their payout.

Put simply, positive odds tell you how much money you win if you wager $100 and are successful. Negative odds tell you how much money you will need to wager to win $100 in the first place.

How are UFC odds set and when are lines released?

UFC fights are significantly more volatile sporting events compared to other professional tournaments or leagues. That’s partly because both players are individually responsible for the match outcome, rather than having teammates back and pick up the slack on a bad day or outperform expectations.

Therefore, UFC odds typically fluctuate a little more regularly in the days leading up to a match compared to odds for other sports. But UFC odds are still created with the same statistical processes that other professional sportsbook odds are generated with for other leagues.

In short, UFC odds are calculated by professional oddsmakers, who are types of statisticians employed by sportsbooks and other gambling organizations to create betting lines. Oddsmakers take all available information about a match and its participants into account when calculating the odds for one or another player to be victorious or fulfill some other wager event (such as knocking their opponent out on a certain round, etc.).

However, oddsmakers also generate wagers with the intent to create enjoyable action for sports bettors. For instance, they may generate “player-friendly” odds that give both people who bet on the match favorite and people who bet on the match underdog the opportunity to win money relative to their levels of risk.

UFC betting lines are typically released as soon as matches are announced by official UFC news sources. This can be weeks or even months before a match is scheduled to occur. In certain circumstances, such as with very popular or anticipated UFC fights, odds can be released before fighters’ agents have even finalized the conditions and dates of a future fight.

You can place UFC futures bets far ahead of match dates. The further ahead you place a wager, the greater the potential payout you may enjoy.

Types of bets you can make on UFC

UFC betting allows for a wide variety of bet types. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common examples.


Moneyline bets are very simple and are among the most common wagers you can place. You just bet on which fighter will win the match overall, not how they win or by how many points. The basic odds described above hold here. The favorite to win will have negative odds and the underdog will have positive odds. E.g. Conor McGregor +135 vs Khabib Nurmagomedov -155.

To go the distance

A “to go the distance” bet is a wager on whether the fight will go the distance. This is UFC parlance that means the fight goes for the total allotted number of rounds available for both fighters. In this event, the bout overall is judged by how many points each fighter accrues over the available rounds.

Over/Under rounds

Over/under bets have you wager on how many rounds the match will go for a total. For instance, you might wager that the match will go for over two rounds with +100 odds or under three rounds with -50 odds.

Round betting

Round betting involves placing wagers about match outcomes specific to certain rounds. For example, you can bet that a particular fighter will win the match on a specific round, such as round three, round four, and so on.

Or you can place a wider bet that a fighter will win within a certain range of rounds, such as Conor McGregor winning within the first two rounds or the first three rounds, etc.

Winning method

Sportsbooks will also let you place UFC winning method bets. These have you place wagers on how the fight will end. Examples include:

  • Knockouts, when one fighter is knocked out by the other, immediately ending the match
  • Submission, when one fighter submits or surrenders
  • Stoppage, where the referee stops the match when a fighter is trapped in submission and intervenes to prevent long-term harm
  • Decision, when a match is decided based on points

With these examples, you can place wagers based on how likely you think any of the above outcomes are. For example, you might see both fighters with a lot of aggression to one another and think that the chances are high that the referee has to intervene to stop the match.

Can you live bet UFC?

Live betting is a relatively recent development in the sportsbook industry. That’s because mobile sportsbooks and online sportsbook platforms can now live stream UFC matches and allow players to place wagers on the moment to moment action and developments.

It’s a fun and exciting way of wagering on your favorite UFC events. It’s most enjoyable from your mobile phone, which is why most top mobile sportsbooks provide live betting markets for all major sporting leagues.

Live betting markets are distinct from other types of wager markets and odds fluctuate dramatically from moment to moment. They may involve short-term wager opportunities, such as whether a fighter will be knocked out over the next five minutes or something similar.

However, you can also place live bets from anywhere inside a state that has legalized sports betting. If mobile sports betting is authorized, you don’t need to be inside a retail sportsbook to participate.

Why you should only bet at legal UFC betting sites

It’s tough to wait for New York to finally legalize online sports betting. But it’s well worth the wait since legal UFC betting sites and platforms are:

  • Much safer overall. Licensed and regulated sportsbooks are overseen by bodies like the New York Lottery, which ensure that the sportsbook operators in question don’t misuse your funds or abuse your personal information
  • Better with customer service. If you ever have a grievance with the amount of your winning or believe that some of your funds have been misplaced, you can contact licensed sportsbooks and find a resolution quickly
  • More protected. Digital threats to your personal information and funds are very real if you use an offshore or illegal sports betting site. Licensed sportsbook operators have much better digital security, meaning your funds and personal information are safe
  • Have more transaction methods. You’ll be able to deposit funds into your account using a variety of methods, like credit or debit cards, bank transfers, and more

Sportsbook betting rules for UFC fights

Sportsbooks that provide UFC fight wagers must abide by a few specific betting rules that are shared between boxing, MMA, and UFC matches:

  • Fights have to take place within seven days of the listed fight date or wager amounts must be returned
  • If a fighter is replaced, wagers must be returned since the match will be graded “no action”
  • For betting purposes, about has officially started once the first round bell sounds
  • Results are officially graded by the referee at the ring. All results aren’t official until they are verified at the fighting venue
  • An opponent will win the previous round if his opponent does not answer the bell for the next round
  • In any case where a fight is declared “no contest” all bets are invalidated and risk will be returned to sports bettors unless the wager outcome is already determined

5 top UFC betting tips

Here are some top betting pointers to help get you started wagering on UFC fights.

  1. Trust the odds. The professional oddsmakers who create betting lines use tons of data you may not have access to. Don’t place a wager expecting the odds to be bunk just because you don’t like what they say
  2. Understand the fighters in a match. Knowing fighter styles and attitudes can help you determine whether one fighter or another has a good chance of being the best guess for a match
  3. Look at previous opponents. A match’s outcome is not just determined by current fighter form but also by how they dealt with previous opponents in a similar weight class
  4. Recent performance is also crucial. See how a fighter has been performing recently to determine their likely outcome for the future fight
  5. Pay attention to other news, such as whether fighters are adding or cutting weight or if they have undergone recent lifestyle changes or experienced some personal drama that may impact fight performance

How to watch UFC fights online

Fortunately, you can watch UFC fights online at many major sports network websites and online sportsbooks (once legalized in New York).

For now, you can only watch UFC online at live streaming websites such as Fox Sports.

The biggest UFC upsets of all time

  • TH Dillashaw defeated Renan Barao with a knockout despite the latter’s excellent record during UFC 173
  • Michael Bisping defeated Luke Rockhold with a knockout during UFC 199 in the first round. This was a rematch and very satisfying to watch
  • During UFC 217, Rose Namajunas defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the first round via knockout despite the latter’s perfect 13-0 record at that point

UFC’s rapid growth in popularity

UFC has risen to become one of the most popular fighting brands in the world in part due to the influence of Dana White and his business partners. The UFC was financially struggling at the end of the 20th century, but White’s investment of $2 million, alongside the adoption of New Jersey State Athletic Commission rules, caused it to grow rapidly.

UFC quickly gained a lot of popular fighting talent, such as fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, both of whom formed the original UFC rivalry and began the long-running tradition of big rivalry matchups.


Average UFC fighters earn about $130,000 annually. However, the most popular and successful fighters can earn millions of dollars.

UFC fight volume varies annually. The UFC usually has a big fight each month, which is titled UFC ### (i.e. UFC 227). Furthermore, the UFC hosts a variety of special events and so-called “Fight Nights” throughout the year. 2019 saw over 40 UFC events in total.

The UFC makes money through betting by partnering with IMG Arena. The Arena provides a live betting product to official sportsbooks to give them and their oddsmakers data they can use to create betting lines. In exchange, the UFC gets a cut of profits.

The biggest single prize in the UFC has so far been given to Rhonda Rousey and Connor McGregor, both of which have received $3 million for a single fight.

The UFC is officially owned by a company called Endeavor, which purchased the UFC for $4 billion in 2016.