The popularity of UFC betting is on the rise everywhere sports betting is legal and even more now with UFC Event Centre, the UFC’s live betting product which offers up a host of new in-fight betting opportunities. Once single-game betting and private sportsbooks take hold in Canada, UFC fight betting will be a smash hit. If you’re keen to bet on the UFC in Canada and bet on Canada’s latest crop of UFC fighters, here’s how.
How to bet on UFC
The following is a list of the basic UFC bets you can typically find at an online sportsbook that allows for single-game or event betting:
- Moneyline: A simple bet on a fighter to win. You lock in the currently posted odds at the time you place your bet. It’ll be a negative number for the favourite, telling you how much you need to bet to win $100 plus your bet back.
It’ll be a positive number for the underdog, telling you how much you stand to win for every $100 you bet. For example, the moneyline was Khabib Nurmagomedov -170 and Conor McGregor +140 at UFC 229. Every $170 bet on Nurmagomedov returned $270 when he won. Plus, a $100 bet on McGregor stood to return to $240 but lost.
- Total Rounds: Another simple bet on whether the total number of rounds in a single fight will land over or under a line set by sportsbooks.
- Winning Method: A bet on how a fight will end. Choices include knockout, submission, or judge’s decision, and you’re betting on how the fight ends, no matter who wins it.
- Parlays: Combine two or more basic UFC bets into one to make it a parlay. Get paid more than the individual bets would because you have to win every bet in the parlay.
Legal online sportsbooks in Canada may also offer more advanced UFC bets including:
- UFC Futures: Bet on a fighter to win a title within a specific time.
- UFC Props: Bet on fighters accomplishing specific statistical milestones during a fight (eg. TKO in Round 3)
- Live Betting: Bet on lines that change alongside the action in the Octagon during a fight. Basic lines at constantly-changing odds and advanced live prop betting on things like knockdowns, submission attempts, takedown attempts, and takedowns landed.
UFC odds boosts & bonuses
Privately-run online sportsbooks want your UFC betting action and they’ll offer all kinds of bonuses and odds boosts surrounding upcoming UFC events to get it. For instance:
- DraftKings Sportsbook offered a 20% boost in payouts for all bets up to $50 on UFC 249 fights. Players were eligible for up to $250 in total additional winnings.
- FanDuel Sportsbook boosted the odds on the UFC 249 main event favourite, offering +500 on bets up to $20 and making anyone who bet it a favourite to turn $20 into $120.
When, or if, any of these brands are authorized for sports betting in Canada you can expect to see similar offers surrounding major UFC pay-per-view events.
UFC Vegas odds vs CDN sportsbook odds
Sportsbooks are copycats by nature, which means privately-run online sportsbooks in Canada are bound to start with the same odds on UFC fights you see at traditional sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
Of course, odds can change, and the odds on UFC fights at privately-run online sportsbooks in Canada might be different than the odds at sportsbooks in Las Vegas by fight time. That’s because odds change individually based on the betting patterns at each sportsbook. In other words, if more money is bet on one particular fighter at a privately-run online sportsbook in Canada, that sportsbook might move the line in that fight.
However, other sportsbooks, like the ones in Las Vegas or others online in Canada, will not. If a line moves because of betting, it only moves at the sportsbook where that betting took place. That’s why privately-run online sportsbooks in Canada might start with the same odds on UFC fights you see at traditional Las Vegas sportsbooks, but end up with different odds by the time the fight starts.
Of course, this is why you should always look around the internet for the best price on a bet, because there is value to be found even if you’re only comparing odds at a couple of different online sportsbooks.
Why do UFC odds change?
UFC fight odds can change. If there’s news on the fighters that could impact the outcome, but it’s not enough for a fight to be cancelled, as a break in training routine or some type of injury, oddsmakers will adjust the line.
There’s no telling when this will happen and although it may impact what you think of the fight, any bets you already placed will be locked in at the odds as they were when you placed the bet.
As we mentioned earlier, UFC betting odds can also change because of increased betting on one fighter or the other. Heavy public betting on a fighter will drive up the price on that fighter. There’s no reason to allow this to impact what you think of the fight, but you might want to rethink how you’re betting on it.
Particularly if you like the other fighter because the price on that fighter will suddenly be even better than it was before, giving you a chance to take advantage of that line movement.
UFC betting apps & live betting
Live betting allows you to place bets during a UFC fight on lines that change alongside the action in that fight. It’s one of the main advantages of online sportsbooks and sportsbook apps because the odds change so fast it’s impossible to get a bet down fast enough at a retail sportsbook or lottery retailer.
The UFC has its in-fight betting product called UFC Event Center. It’s featured on several privately-run online sportsbooks and introduces more than 50 live betting opportunities to UFC fights, including a variety of different knockdown, submission, and takedown props, using real-time and official UFC data.
Live UFC betting online allows you to hedge bets and make up for obvious pre-fight betting mistakes, turning your favourite sportsbook app into the best UFC fight-watching companion you’ll ever have.
Key UFC betting tips
UFC betting is infinitely more fun when you win. However, the only way to improve your chances of winning is to do some in-depth research into the fights you’re betting on. That means:
- Get to know your fighters: Take a long hard look at the fighters in a fight. Consider how they match up against each other, what fighting styles they are experts in, and which one traditionally beats the other. Let the information you find guide your picks to win a fight and you’ll win more often.
- Get to know their history: Take a long hard look at each fighter’s history. Fighters that go the distance regularly are going to a judge’s decision, brawlers with knockout-heavy records means one is heading for a fall, and submission experts win one way most of the time. This is the kind of info you can turn into a great Winning Method bet.
- Get to know their style: Once again, examine the fighting style, because the best Total Rounds bets consider how much defense fighters employ, and whether or not their style dictates a quick knockout or submission.
Sportsbook rules for UFC betting
Get to know how the online sportsbook you’re betting with handles different situations that may come up during a UFC fight by reading the terms and conditions of your bets and the sportsbook’s rules for UFC betting.
Most will close the betting markets on a fight when the fighters are announced and open the live betting markets when the opening bell rings.
If a fight ends in a draw, most sportsbooks will return all bets, as long as the draw was not a betting option before the fight. However, all bets on either fighter to win are treated as losers if the draw was an option.
Most sportsbooks also consider disqualifications a legitimate ending to a fight, and pay, or not, accordingly. But again, read the terms and conditions and rules for UFC betting to see how the online sportsbook you’re betting with handles different situations that may come up during a UFC fight.
Why bet UFC over other sports
The information you need to succeed betting on the UFC is out there, as long as you’re willing to do the work. Plus, UFC lines are more heavily impacted by public betting patterns than most other sports.
That means opportunities for you to take advantage of movement in UFC betting lines. Do that and you’ll be winning more, more often. So much so, that your personal UFC fan experience will quickly begin to make watching and betting on other sports seem comparatively boring.
Bet on legal UFC betting sites in Canada
You may have placed bets on UFC fights at offshore sportsbooks in the past. After all, it’s estimated Canadians bet around $4 billion a year with offshore sportsbooks (meaning not licensed in Canada), and until now, offshore online sportsbooks have been the only ones taking bets on UFC fights from Canadians.
If nothing went wrong, whether your bets won or not, you should consider yourself very lucky. No oversight or regulation from inside Canada means offshore sportsbooks can, and will, do whatever they want with your money and personal information. They could disappear overnight and you’d have nowhere to turn for help. Plus, most use some pretty underhanded banking methods aimed at convincing your bank you’re doing business with someone else.
That can make it difficult to get your money back from them. Some are even guilty of some rather predatory practices. They’ll delay withdrawals and offer you a bonus for cancelling a withdrawal as a part of a plan to hold onto your cash until you lose it back to them.
Betting with a provincial lottery or private online sportsbook operator eliminates the risk of all that because they’re regulated and licensed by your provincial government. A government stamp of approval ensures a safer and more secure sports betting experience and guarantees a certain level of consumer protection offshore online sportsbooks have never provided.
Ultimately, provincial lotteries and provincially licensed private online sportsbooks will always prove to be your best bet.
UFC betting province by province
There is no legal UFC betting in Canada at this time, but there is a form of parlay betting on several other sports run by provincial lottery corporations across the country. The following provincial parlay betting products may be the first to offer UFC betting once single-game betting is legalized:
- PROLINE: Ontario’s sports lottery features a variety of limited parlay wagering products. It is only available in person at lottery retailers, but a smartphone app includes bet building.
- Mise-O-Jeu: Québec’s sports lottery features limited parlay wagering. It is available at Loto-Québec retailers, self-service kiosks, and online for those with Espacejeux accounts.
- PlayNow Sports: Online sports lottery with limited parlay wagering available at PlayNow.com in BC and Manitoba and in-person at BC and Manitoba lottery retailers.
- Sports Select: The sports lottery in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon featuring limited parlay wagering. Only at provincial lottery retailers and self-service kiosks.
- PROLINE/STADIUM BETS: Atlantic Canada’s sports lottery features limited parlay wagering in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. It is available online as well as in-person at provincial lottery retailers.
The best moments for Canadian fighters in UFC history
Being the greatest UFC fighter in Canadian UFC history means Saint-Isidore, Québec’s, Georges St-Pierre is arguably responsible for all three of the best moments for Canadian fighters in UFC history, including:
- UFC 65: It was St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes for the UFC Welterweight Championship and it was almost over in the first round when St-Pierre knocked down Hughes with a massive Superman punch and left hook. Hughes got up and into the second round, but the fight was stopped and St-Pierre won by TKO when St-Pierre kicked Hughes in the head and unloaded a massive barrage of strikes on him.
- UFC 79: St-Pierre lost the welterweight title to Matt Serra at UFC 69. However, he worked his way back into the No. 1 contender spot ahead of UFC 79 and was expecting to face the winner of a Matt Hughes and Matt Serra fight for the title. Serra pulled out due to injury and instead St-Pierre took on Hughes for the second time in a match for the interim UFC Welterweight Championship. St-Pierre wrestled this time and got Hughes to submit with an armbar in the second round.
- UFC 83: In the UFC’s first-ever event in Canada, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, St-Pierre took on Matt Serra to determine the undisputed UFC welterweight champion. St-Pierre was on the offensive from the start and a couple of heavy knees to the midsection late in the second round proved Serra was no longer unable to defend himself. The fight was stopped and St-Pierre became the undisputed UFC welterweight champion.
Best up-and-coming Canadian UFC fighters
Looking for the next great UFC fighter from Canada? Look no further than this list of the top three up-and-coming Canadian UFC fighters:
- Tanner Boser: The Bonnyville, Alberta #21 ranked UFC Heavyweight made his UFC debut in 2019 at UFC on ESPN 6 and currently has an 18–8–1 MMA record.
- Misha Cirkunov: The Latvian-Canadian #11 ranked UFC Light Heavyweight made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 74 and now boasts a 15–5 MMA record.
- Marc-André Barriault: The Gatineau, Québec #63 ranked UFC Middleweight made his debut UFC 2019 at UFC Fight Night 151 after previously winning the TKO Middleweight Championship and TKO Light Heavyweight Championship. He now boasts a 12–4 MMA record.
Betting on smaller MMA brands
Once you’re able to bet on UFC fights in Canada, you should also be able to bet on other MMA fights from other popular MMA organizations, including:
- King of the Cage
- Maximum Fighting Championship
Brief history of the UFC in Canada
The UFC launched in 1993 as a small mixed martial arts tournament aiming to find out which fighting disciple was best. In 2001, Station Casinos’ Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta bought the brand for a paltry $2 million and installed fight promoter Dana White as president.
It took about 15 years, but by the time they sold it to William Morris Endeavor Entertainment for over $4 billion in 2016, the group had successfully turned the UFC into one of the fastest-growing and most popular sports brands on the planet, with legions of dedicated fans attending events across the globe and millions more watching them all on pay-per-view.
They accomplished all that by turning their best fighters into global superstars. The UFC turned Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture into recognizable athletes at the top of their game. They promoted Tito Ortiz and Anderson Silva, growing their fanbase alongside the brand. Then, by the time the next generation of MMA heroes came around, the UFC was a well-oiled star-making machine, able to turn Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor into household names.
Of course, Canada has been behind the UFC from the start. Homegrown UFC superstars like Québec’s Georges St-Pierre have helped grow the UFC brand in Canada and abroad.
Even though he was born in the US, fellow UFC superstar Brock Lesnar moved to Saskatchewan and has done the same. Plus, the UFC has held successful events in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. UFC 115 in Vancouver in 2010 was considered the fastest sellout in UFC history at the time. Plus, UFC 129 in 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto drew a crowd of 55,724, which is still the third-largest in UFC history.
Then there’s UFC 231 in 2018, the last time the UFC was in Toronto. It was a complete sellout and the most successful gate in UFC history at $3.28 million.