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The Secret To Betting Massive UFC Favorites

Cris Cyborg hits Holly Holm during a featherweight championship bout at UFC 219.

The UFC is the leading source of top-quality mixed martial arts fighting in the world. Fighters spend their entire adult lives trying to just get a chance to join the roster and step inside the Octagon.

Though the UFC is home to some of the best combat sports athletes in the world, the company still falls into lopsided matchmaking from time to time. This sort of booking is unavoidable at times – the Demetrious Johnsons or Cristiane “Cyborg” Justinos of the world need to fight someone – but the UFC likes to try to feed overwhelmed fighters to their brightest prospects as well. No matter the case, every once in a while, the UFC will see a massive favorite face off against a proverbial lamb to the slaughter.

Over the past five years, there have been 14 UFC fights in which one fighter entered the cage as a favorite of -1200 or more. As you would expect, those favored fighters have dominated the competition, going 13-1 SU in those bouts (for the record, the lone upset was Frankie Saenz beating Iuri Alcantara at UFC Fight Night 61).

If you were to wager $100 on each of the favorites in those 14 bouts, you would actually be down $7.53. That lone upset was enough to eliminate any profit bettors would have made wagering on the other 13 fights.

This would make a lot of people think that taking the dog or pass approach to these fights would be the wise decision. But those favorites are cashing at a ridiculous 92.9 percent rate, so walking away from that is not easy for bettors. However, there is a way to make some profit backing huge favorites.

In the 14 fights with a favorite of -1200 or more, the fave has won via stoppage 11 times. That is a finishing rate of 78.6 percent. Comparably, UFC fights overall have seen a victor declared by knockout or submission at a 50.2 percent rate during that same time period. Admittedly, the sample size is small but those huge favorites are finishing at an alarmingly high rate compared to the average.

The average closing line of the 14 favored fighters in question is -1430, which would net you a profit of $6.99 per win. Comparably, the average line for those fighters to win inside the distance has been -375, meaning you would be up $26.67 per winning wager.

An extra $20 isn’t going to have you quitting your job. However, these types of fights are few and far between – with the UFC averaging less than three per year over the past half decade. And considering the “inside the distance” bet is hitting at 78.6 percent, maybe you take a gander the next time one of these mismatches does come around. 

*All numbers as of June 25, 2018.