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Free Expert UFC Picks

The power. The unpredictability. The trash talk. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has erupted on the world’s sporting stage with incredible speed, firmly establishing itself as a hugely popular spectacle. Millions across the globe are gripped by contests between the best mixed martial arts fighters – and millions more love betting on them.


Ben Fowlkes

MMA Expert

Co-Main Event Podcast. Previously: The Athletic, USA Today and Sports Illustrated.

UFC schedule

Sep 11UFC 279: Chimaev vs. DiazT Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Sep 17UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. SongUFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Sep 21Dana White's Contender Series: Season 6, Week 9UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Sep 28Dana White's Contender Series: Season 6, Week 10UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Oct 1UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. YanUFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Oct 15UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. AraujoUFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Oct 22UFC 280: Oliveira vs. MakhachevEtihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Oct 29UFC Fight Night: 10/29UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Nov 5UFC Fight Night: 11/5
Nov 13UFC 281: Adesanya vs. PereiraMadison Square Garden, New York, NY

UFC bets explained

To win fight

This is the most straightforward bet you will find at UFC betting sites. Which of the fighters do you think will emerge victorious from the Octagon? Simply make your choice after studying the form and the odds available and place a wager in line with your judgment.

Method of victory

There are several ways in which a UFC bout can end, including knockout, technical knockout, submission or a points verdict. You will find UFC betting odds on each of those outcomes – select the method in which you think the fight will end and place your stake accordingly.

Round betting

Standard UFC fights consist of three five-minute rounds. In championship bouts, there are five. If you choose to predict in which round the fight will finish – regardless of who you think the winner will be – you will be able to find UFC odds for that result.

Israel Adesanya attempts a kick on Jared Cannonier (blue gloves) in a bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Israel Adesanya attempts a kick on Jared Cannonier (blue gloves) in a bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When will fight end

This is similar to round betting, except that this market includes the option for the fight to go the full distance and be decided on points. When you have assessed the UFC betting odds on the various outcomes and made your selection, you will be able to back your choice.

Method and round combination

A slightly more complicated wager, in that you have to predict two things. How will the fight end, and at what stage? You will find UFC betting lines that include all the various combinations and it will provide an extra interest as the action unfolds.

Total rounds

If you think you know how long a bout will last, this offers you an over/under option. The sportsbook will set a number of rounds; if you believe the fight will last more than that, you go “over” and if you think it will be over more quickly, the “under” is for you.

Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) and Max Holloway (blue gloves) fight in a bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) and Max Holloway (blue gloves) fight in a bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena. Pic: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Fight to go the distance

UFC betting sites will offer you a simple yes/no option. Will the fight last the full number of rounds? The sportsbook will present odds on each of the two outcomes and you decide – using your knowledge of the fighters involved – which to wager on.

Method of victory double chance

When you believe a fighter will prevail, but really can’t decide how they will do so, this is for you. Instead of having to back a single method of victory, you will be able to choose UFC odds covering two ways in which your pick will win, doubling your chance of a return.

UFC odds explained

Nearly every UFC sportsbook will present odds the same way. When it comes to UFC betting odds, the favorite in the fight is represented by the minus sign (-), while the less favored fight, or underdog, is represented by the plus sign (+). UFC odds are normally formed around bettors wagering $100.

After reading UFC odds, bettors can chose fighter A, or fighter B to win the bout. This is known as moneyline betting. For example, if you backed Conor McGregor to win a fight at odds of +110, a $100 bet on that selection would return $110 on top of your stake.

Most popular weight divisions men

Francis Ngannou celebrates the win against Ciryl Gane during UFC 270. Pic: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


It’s all action in the Octagon when the big men get stuck into each other – and heavyweight fights are among the most popular when it comes to UFC betting. Fighters from Brazil and the US have dominated this division since 2005, with America’s Stipe Miocic taking the title for the second time in 2019.

Miocic had lost his crown to compatriot Daniel Cormier in 2018, but took revenge the following year when he beat his fellow American with a fourth-round technical knockout. However, Miocic's second title reign came to a crashing end at the heavy hands of Francis Ngannou, the Cameroonian fighter has the hardest recorded punch in UFC history, and is still improving his all-round MMA game, a scary thought for the rest of the division.

Jon Jones attends the light heavyweight bout between Jan Blachowicz (blue) and Corey Anderson. Pic: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Light heavyweight

For almost a decade, this division was the kingdom of Jon Jones. The American won the title in 2011 and held it for the best part of 10 years. Jones was a controversial figure who was stripped of the title three times by the UFC before vacating it in 2020 after a row with with the promotion. But Jones’s exploits brought a huge profile to his division and to UFC as a whole.

Jan Błachowicz of Poland stepped into the breach left by Jones but, despite turning back the challenge of then-undefeated middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, lost his title to Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira, who became the oldest first-time UFC champion by taking the 205-pound title at the age of 42.

4:3 Israel Adesanya celebrates with the championship belt during UFC 263 at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The middleweight division saw the longest unbroken reign by any UFC champion. The great Anderson Silva of Brazil claimed the crown in 2006 and didn’t relinquish it for nearly seven years.

Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya joined the ranks of his successors in 2019 when he claimed the title, defeating Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision in a matchup widely described as the best of the year. But Australian Robert Whittaker, a former champion, is still one of his closest rivals, as is Paulo Costa of Brazil.

4:3 Gilbert Burns lands on Khamzat Chimaev. Pic: Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]


North American fighters dominated the welterweight division of UFC for many years. Several US stars held the title, while the great Canadian Georges St-Pierre was top dog for more than 2,200 days.

That all changed when Kamaru Usman of Nigeria claimed the crown in 2019. He is rated as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC. The list of welterweight contenders includes the experienced, and outspoken, Colby Covington and the UK's Leon Edwards, as well as Brazilian grappling ace Gilbert Burns.

4:3 Conor McGregor during UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The lightweight division was previously the domain of one of the finest fighters in UFC history, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired from the sport undefeated with a stellar record of 29 wins, zero losses.

The Russian superstar was rated the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, with an unblemished record of 29 wins and zero defeats. He was the first Muslim to win a UFC title and is the most followed Russian on Instagram, with more than 27 million followers.

4:3 Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) before the fight against Chan Sung Jung (blue gloves) during UFC 273 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports


You can’t mention the featherweight division without talking about the impact of Conor McGregor. The Irish fighter has brought millions of new fans to the sport with his aggressive brand of fighting and trash talking. He is the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) draw in MMA history, headlining five of the six highest-selling UFC PPV events.

Currently, Alexander Volkanovski is the man to beat in the featherweight division of UFC. The Australian came to mixed martial arts after starting life as a wrestler and then playing semi-pro rugby league.

4:3 Petr Yan of Russia punches Aljamain Sterling in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports


Bantamweight is another UFC division that was dominated for many years by fighters from the States and Brazil. Men like Dominick Cruz and T.J. Dillashaw, both of the US, carved out formidable reputations as they ruled the world at this weight.

However, Petr Yan broke that domination when he took the title with victory in Abu Dhabi in 2020. The power-punching Russian was expected to enjoy a lengthy title reign, but disqualification in his first title defense saw him lose his title to American Aljamain Sterling.

4:3 - Demetrious Johnson moves in against Henry Cejudo during UFC 227 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


For many years, the flyweight division was dominated by one man. Demetrious Johnson of the US held the crown for more than 2,100 days and saw off a string of contenders in that time.

However, the man to beat at flyweight now is Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil. He claimed the crown in July 2020 and defended it in an epic clash with Mexico’s Brandon Moreno later that year. Figueiredo was ahead on all three cards after five thrilling rounds, but was docked a point for a low blow, turning a clear victory into a majority draw.

Most popular weight divisions women

4:3 Amanda Nunes moves in with a hit against Julianna Pena during UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s featherweight

This is the highest weight division contested by women and was first fought for as recently as 2017.

Currently top of the tree is Amanda Nunes, the Brazilian who is widely considered to be the best female mixed martial artist of all time. She claimed the featherweight crown in 2018, when she beat previous champion Cris Cyborg with a knockout after just 51 seconds.

That won her the Performance of the Night Award – and made her the first woman to hold championship belts in two divisions.

4:3 Ronda Rousey answers questions from reporters after defending her title against Sara McMann in the first round of the main event of UFC 170 at Mandalay Bay. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s bantamweight

Bantamweight is where Amanda Nunes made her name as a fearsome fighter. She took the crown in July 2016, beat former long-time champion Ronda Rousey later that year and hasn’t looked back since. Her exploits have put her at the top of the women’s pound-for-pound rankings. She is the only fighter of either sex in UFC history to defend two titles while actively holding them.

Among her pursuers in the bantamweight division are Holly Holm and Aspen Ladd of the US, and Dutchwoman Germaine de Randamie. Can they defeat the UFC betting odds and take the crown away from Nunes any time soon?

4:3 Valentina Shevchenko (red gloves) reacts after the fight against Taila Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 275 at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s flyweight

Valentina Shevchenko is the name to remember in this division. One of the best female fighters in the world, the woman from Kyrgyzstan has ruled at flyweight since 2018.

Shevchenko moved to flyweight after losing very narrowly to Amanda Nunes in a fight for the bantamweight title. She has been involved in combat sports from an early age. She got the nickname “Bullet” when she was 12 after she knocked out a 22-year-old opponent.

4:3 Zhang Weili (red gloves) reacts after the fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk (blue gloves) during UFC 275 at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s strawweight

Zhang Weili made history when she became the strawweight UFC champion in August 2019. Her victory over Jéssica Andrade of Brazil made her the first Chinese and East Asian champion in UFC history.

She defended her title successfully with a split decision over former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk of Poland in March 2020, a bout that earned a Fight of the Night award.

In-play betting on the UFC

The fighters have entered the Octagon, they have started exchanging blows – that doesn’t mean you can’t still place a bet.

Huge advances in digital technology, plus the development of fast algorithms, mean UFC betting sites can now update their odds instantly. That means betting can continue as the action unfolds.

For instance, if Justin Gaethie lands a shuddering blow on Khabib Nurmagomedov in the opening minute of their main event, you can still back the Russian to win.

In-play betting is an increasingly popular way for fans to wager on their favorite UFC fighter even when the bout is underway .

UFC betting promotions

Enhanced odds

Keep a sharp eye on UFC online betting sites in the countdown to a fight. Sportsbooks may enhance their odds on a particular market – and an outcome you were thinking of backing anyway suddenly becomes even more lucrative. These offers are sometimes short-lived, in which case, just like Demetrious Johnson in his prime, you must move fast.

Money back if the fight goes the distance

It’s disappointing when you have wagered on a bout to finish in a particular round or method and both fighters are still on their feet when the fight finishes. However, this promotion offers you some insurance; if the fight goes to a verdict you’ll get your stake back, either in cash or as a free bet.

Money back if the fight finishes in a tie

Ties are not commonplace in UFC but they do happen. If this offer applies and you back a fighter to win, you’ll get your stake back either as cash or in the form of a free bet, if the fight ends in a stalemate.

Best UFC offers 2022


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