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Bet on UFC Fights in Tennessee

The UFC has been growing in popularity in Tennessee and across the U.S. in recent years. While most sports were devastated in 2020 by the COVID-19 outbreak, the UFC managed to thrive during it with weekly events ranging from nationally televised fight nights to pay-per-views headlined by the sport’s top fighters. The legalization of sports betting in Tennessee has come at a great time for UFC fans looking for a way to get in on the action.

How to bet on UFC events in Tennessee

Back in its infancy, mixed martial arts promotions like the UFC could only be found at sportsbooks that offered lines on unconventional sports. But MMA’s popularity has grown so much in recent years that every sportsbook now offers UFC lines on the events. Some sportsbooks even offer betting lines on promotions other than the UFC including Bellator. Here’s a list of Tennessee’s top legal sportsbooks, all of which offer betting lines on the UFC:

Types of UFC bets

Moneyline

The most common bet type in the UFC is the moneyline bet, which is a wager on which fighter will win the fight. The UFC odds from fight to fight vary tremendously on the moneyline as some fights are considered to be even matchups on paper while others have a very clear favorite and the underdog.

For example, when Khabib Nurmagomedov faced Conor McGregor, the odds were listed as follows: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-165) vs. Conor McGregor (+135). Nurmagomedov was favored to win the fight at -165, which means “bet $165 to win $100”. This ratio works no matter how much you bet on the favorite as a $33 bet would yield a profit of $20 and a $660 bet would pay out $400. McGregor was a +135 underdog to win, which means that a $100 bet would pay out $135, or a $200 bet would pay a profit of $270.

Now imagine a hypothetical rematch between the two fighters. Since Nurmagomedov so thoroughly dominated the first fight, he’d figure to be a much bigger favorite in the second fight. The odds of a rematch might be listed as Nurmagomedov -300 (bet $300 to win $100) vs. McGregor +200 (bet $100 to win $200). Factors including each fighter’s record, experience, current form, fighting style, and betting action all go into what determines their moneyline odds heading into a fight.

Over/Under bets

Over/Under bets, also known as total rounds bets, allow bettors to bet on whether a fight will go OVER or UNDER a set amount of time. For example, if a championship fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier has a total set at 3.5 rounds, you can bet on whether you believe this fight will last longer than 3.5 rounds (by betting the OVER 3.5) or will be decided in less than 3.5 rounds by betting on the UNDER 3.5.

Betting on round totals is a great way to take advantage of when you have a feel for the style of the fight but aren’t sure who will win. If you expect a fight between two heavy-hitters to end in a first-round knockout but can’t decide which fighter is going to be the one to score the knockout, you could just bet on the UNDER 1.5 rounds line instead.

Method of victory

Instead of betting on a fighter on the moneyline, you could go for a bigger payday by betting on their exact method of victory. Each fighter has odds placed on him or her to win the fight via knockout/technical knockout/disqualification (listed as KO/TKO/DQ), to win the fight via submission, or to win the fight via decision.

Exact round bets

As is the case with the method of victory, the more specific a bettor can get in predicting the result of the fight, the better the payouts will be. Some Tennessee sportsbooks offer exact round bets which allow you to pick the exact round that the fight will end in. Sometimes these are listed with just the round while other times they are listed in that you have to pick both which fighter will win and what round the win will come in. More specific prop bets like this are often found on bigger events like pay-per-view.

Live betting

After handicapping a fight for days or weeks before it takes place, everything can change once the opening bell rings. A favorite might get caught with a big strike or look sluggish coming off of a bad training camp. UFC betting odds fluctuate as the fight goes on, and in-fight betting allows bettors to place their bets on these fluctuations.

Tennessee sportsbooks that offer live lines update the moneyline on each fight after every round. If the previous round had a seemingly clear winner, the betting odds will usually have a pretty large adjustment. Astute UFC bettors can take advantage of these drastic odds depending on the flow of the fight and the fighting styles and endurance of the two fighters involved.

Hypothetical matchup futures

In addition to betting odds on currently scheduled fights, some Tennessee sportsbooks also offer betting odds on hypothetical fights that could be scheduled in the future. For example, rumors of a potential UFC fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Floyd Mayweather has generated betting odds at some locations, as has a more realistic bout between Nurmagomedov and Georges St. Pierre.

Both of these fights are unlikely as Nurmagomedov is currently retired, but bettors can bet on hypothetical fights and will have their bet locked in if the fight takes place by the listed date. If it doesn’t, bets will be refunded when that listed date passes.

Moneyline wagers on fights are usually available days or even weeks in advance of fight night. The other bet types listed here are usually available closer to the day of the fight and will vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. Check with each of your local Tennessee online sportsbooks and sports betting apps to see what odds they have available and when in the week they are released.

History of UFC events in Tennessee

The UFC has hosted six events in Tennessee through 2020:

UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann

  • Date: April 1, 2009
  • Arena: Sommet Center
  • City: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Attendance: 10,267
  • Notes: This was the first UFC event ever to take place in Tennessee. Martin Kampmann defeated Carlos Condit in the main event, snapping Condit’s eight-fight winning streak in the process.

UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez

  • Date: December 12, 2009
  • Arena: FedExForum
  • City: Memphis, Tennessee
  • Attendance: 13,896
  • Notes: The UFC returned to Tennessee for a pay-per-view event just eight months after visiting the state for the first time. B.J. Penn successfully defended his UFC Lightweight Championship in the main event against Diego Sanchez in what would be the last successful title defense of his career.

UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller

  • Date: January 20, 2012
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • City: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Attendance: 7,728
  • Notes: This was the second fight to be broadcast in a seven-year agreement between the UFC and Fox and the first UFC fight card ever to be broadcast on FX. Future Lightweight Champion and all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov also made his UFC debut on this card with a submission win over Kamal Shalorus.

UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Saint Preux

  • Date: August 8, 2015
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • City: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Attendance: 7,539
  • Notes: The main event on this card featured Ovince Saint Preux, a local favorite who played college football with the Tennessee Volunteers and currently trains at the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy. Saint Preux lost to Glover Teixeira but did earn Fight of the Night honors.

UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Lobov

  • Date: April 22, 2017
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • City: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Attendance: 10,144
  • Notes: This card was dubbed the “Music City Showdown”. Cub Swanson and Artem Lobov put on a show in the main event as Swanson came out on top with a decision win in the Fight of the Night. And after coming up short in his previous effort in Tennessee, Ovince Saint Preux picked up a win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima in this event using his signature Von Flue choke submission.

UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis

  • Date: March 23, 2019
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • City: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Attendance: 10,863
  • Notes: This fight set an MMA attendance record and gate record ($939,095.99) for the city of Nashville. After four straight unanimous decisions on the main card, Anthony Pettis sent the Nashville crowd home with a bang with a second-round knockout win over Stephen Thompson that earned Pettis a Performance of the Night bonus.

MMA & UFC betting tips

Don’t miss weigh-ins

To the untrained eye, weigh-ins before UFC events may just seem like a formality. But in reality, they can tell you a lot about what you can expect on fight night.

Most fighters fight in a weight class significantly lower than their natural weight. This means that to make weight, they often have to cut. Cutting is a technique that athletes use to sweat out excess body weight using methods like exercise, saunas, and hot baths. When done properly, cutting will just be the final step in making weight, and the fighter will have plenty of time to hydrate before the fight and get back to a comfortable weight.

But sometimes fighters struggle with their weight cuts. Some outright miss weight while others make weight but look worse for wear in doing so. Extreme fatigue and sluggishness on weigh-in day are signs that a fighter struggled with their cut and may not be at 100% for their upcoming fight. Even after re-hydrating, fighters coming off of a bad cut are more prone to gas out during the fight or get off to a slow start.

Betting odds usually quickly change based on how fighters look during their weigh-ins, so act fast when you see someone you might want to bet on or against based on their energy levels at the weigh-in. Not all bad cuts result in bad performances, but it is well worth factoring into your UFC handicapping strategies.

Try to determine who will control the tempo

As the age-old adage goes, “styles make fights”. Two wrestlers are going to go straight to the mat and look to out-wrestle each other. Two boxers are likely to stand in the middle of the octagon and throw punches. When fighters with clashing styles meet, the winner of the bout is usually going to be the one that can take his or her opponent out of their comfort zone.

There are a handful of valuable statistics that you can use when trying to handicap which fighter will control the fight. Takedown percentage and takedown defense are valuable when a wrestler or submission specialist is involved. If a striker who prefers to stay on her feet is facing a wrestler who needs to take the fight to the mat to win, studying how well the striker defends against takedowns and how good the wrestler is at them could give you an idea of how likely it is that the wrestler gets the fight to the ground.

Height and reach are also helpful statistics when it comes to strikers. Say that there are two fairly evenly-matched strikers in a fight, but one has a five-inch reach advantage over his opponent. That fighter has a good chance of landing more blows as he’ll be able to cover more range. But studying how both fighters have done in similar spots (vs. opponents with longer or shorter range) can paint the picture.

Fade big-name fighters who are past their prime

Casual UFC bettors gravitate towards big-name fighters as they are far more familiar than young up-and-comers. More serious UFC bettors can make the mistake of overvaluing big-name fighters due to nostalgia, remembering just how good these fighters were in their prime and want to believe that the last coaching change or weight class switch will be the one to re-spark their career.

But Father Time is undefeated. And in a combat sport like mixed martial arts, age can and wear can catch up to a fighter fast. Most fighters stay in the game long past their expiration date, too, as fighting is often all they know or their egos get in the way of calling it quits. Whatever the case may be, big names are often over-valued; go the other way when it makes sense to.