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Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is the fastest growing sport in the world and is predicted to overtake boxing as the premier combat sport in the near future. It can be traced right back to the very first Olympic Games in 648 BC but its modern incarnation is largely due to the Gracie family, the founders of Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu, who in the early 1900’s began challenging people from various martial arts backgrounds. It was from here that the sport as it is today emerged and it has come a long way since then with many rules and regulations being added. 

As the name suggests competitors need to be versed in a wide range of martial arts such as Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling and Muay Thai. Bouts can end in either a decision, usually from cage-side judges, or by stoppage. Stoppages can be via submission, where a competitor taps out or verbally submits, via technical knockout, where a corner, doctor or referee stop the bout, or via knockout, where a competitor is unable to continue due to strikes.

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MMA Betting

As the sport continues to grow so does the betting market and the majority of the major bookmakers now offer odds on upcoming bouts. The most popular market is still the outright winner market but a number of sites such as Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Bet 365 do offer alternative markets such as the following;

  • Round Betting – Which competitor to win and in which round.
  • Method of Victory – Which competitor to win and by what method – KO, TKO, DQ, Submission or Decision
  • How will the Fight Finish – Whether the fight will end in a stoppage or go to the judges’ score cards.
  • Fight Duration – How many rounds the fight will last.
  • Decision Victory – If the fight goes to decision will it be unanimous, split, or majority decision.

These options are generally reserved for main events and most undercard fights only present an opportunity to bet on the outright winner. Most UK sites also focus solely on the UFC but sites such as Ladbrokes and Paddy Power have also offered odds on Bellator and BAMMA events in the past. As mentioned earlier however with the sport continuing to grow the opportunities to bet on it will undoubtedly follow suit. To keep up to date with the best value on MMA/UFC events keep checking FREEbets.org.uk for previews of upcoming bouts. 

MMA Organisations

MMA is dominated by the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the largest MMA organisation in the world and the pinnacle of the sport. Outside of the UFC other prominent organisations are Bellator MMA, One Championship, Rizin, Cage Warriors, the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) and also KSW, a Polish based MMA organisation and one of the biggest in Europe.

UFC News

Future Schedule

  • 14 Sep UFC on ESPN: Cerrone vs Gaethje
  • 21 Sep UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Stephens
  • 28 Sep UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Cannonier
  • 06 Oct UFC 243: Whittaker vs Adesanya
  • 12 Oct UFC Fight Night: Jedrzejczyk vs Waterson
  • 18 Oct UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs Weidman
  • 02 Nov UFC 244: Diaz vs Masvidal

Pound for Pound Ratings

Conor McGregor remains the biggest star and draw in the UFC, although he can no longer claim to being the best fighter in the company. The Irishman might be the sport’s most recognisable face but since his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, he has dropped right down the pound-for-pound rankings and still does not have another fight booked.

Dagestani mauler Nurmagomedov maintained his incredible, unbeaten professional record with that win over McGregor and currently rules the lightweight division. His ground game has proved impossible to deal with in the UFC as he has lost just one round, never mind a fight since arriving in the big leagues.

The Eagle made a case to be the premiere figher on the planet when he took his record to 28-0 with a third round submission of Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on 7 September in Abu Dhabi. Against an extremely high level opponent, Khabib dominated, using his usual wrestling-based attack, before scoring the win via rear naked choke in the third.

Another man lurking in the pound for pound rankings, Tony Ferguson, should be next in line for the champ.

However, it is Jon Jones who sits atop the pound for pound rankings, with the light heavyweight champion holding a stunning (if not as good as Khabib's) record of 25-1 (1) and looking unbeatable at 205lbs. He has fought twice in 2019, seeing off Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, although the latter showed some weakness in the champion's game. It is the first time in his career that a judge gave a scorecard against Bones, and challengers are now more keen to take him on. He has no fight scheduled and talk continues over him moving to heavyweight to take on big names up there.

The biggest fish in the pond at heavyweight is once again Stipe Miocic, who reclaimed his heavyweight title with a fourth round stoppage of Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 in August. DC had stopped Miocic in the first when they met last summer, but the Cleveland firefighter has bounced back and scored the stunning knockout win. There could now be a third fight between the two, there could be a rematch with Francis Ngannou or he could welcome Jones to heavyweight. There are plenty of options available to the king of the heavyweight division.

Amanda Nunes saw her name shoot up the pound-for-pound rankings with her huge knockout win over Cris Cyborg at UFC 229 in December 2018. With that victory she added the women's featherweight title to her bantamweight strap and made an argument for herself being the greatest female fighter, not only now, but in history. She further cemented that posiiton by knocking out Holly Holm with a head-kick at UFC 239 as she defended the bantamweight belt. It is not clear what is next for the Lionness just yet, but it is clear that she sits atop the female ranks.

Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant flyweight belt at UFC 231 and could be set for a lengthy reign, impressing again with a head-kick knockout of Jessica Eye at UFC 238. She was back in action in Uruguay in August against Liz Carmouche and picked up a dominant points victory in Montevideo. The Bullet looks unstoppable in the flyweight division and her next challenger, likely Katlyn Chookakian, is unlikely to stop her winning streak.

Another fighter that has seen his star soar in recent months is Henry Cejudo who, despite being an Olympic gold medalist, went from relative unknown to MMA superstar thanks to three huge victories. Cejudo beat long-time flyweight king Demetrious Johnson to claim his belt, then knocked off bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw who had dropped down in weight to take him on at 125lbs.

Cejudo then reimagined himself from his previous incarnation as The Messenger, to a new moniker of Triple C thanks to winning the vacant bantamweight title against Marlon Moraes. Cejudo stopped the Brazilian in the third round to claim the belt vacated by Dillashaw when he tested positive for EPO. Triple C is out injured for a while, but a flyweight rematch with Joseph Benavidez is most likely his next outing.

Featherweight champion Max Holloway and welterweight ruler Kamaru Usman are also in the top 10 pound-for-pound rankings, as is the middlewight champ Robert Whittaker, who is set to defend against the rising star Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in September. Holloway beat Frankie Edgar for his featherweight title at UFC 240 and is now expected to fight Australian dangerman Alex Volkanovski towards the end of 2019.

Upcoming Bellator and One Championship fights

  • 27 Sep Bellator 227 Gallagher vs Ellenor
  • 28 Sep Bellator 228 Pitbull vs Archuleta
  • 04 Oct Bellator 229 Koreshkov vs Larkin
  • 12 Oct Bellator 230 Carvalho vs Nemkov
  • 13 Oct One Champtionship Century

MMA Weight Divisions

As earlier mentioned, MMA bouts take place across a variety of weight divisions much like you have in boxing. The different weight classifications each boast their own characteristics with the flyweights usually a quicker nimble style right up to the power of the heavyweights. Below displays each of the weight categories as well as the upper weight limits as stated in the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts;

Strawweight - Up to 115lb (52.2 kg) - women only in UFC

Flyweight - Up to 125lb (56.7 kg)

Bantamweight - Up to 135lb (61.2 kg)

Featherweight - Up to 145lb (65.8 kg)

Lightweight - Up to 155lb (70.3 kg)

Welterweight - Up to 170lb (77.1 kg)

Middleweight - Up to 185lb (83.9 kg)

Light Heavyweight - Up to 205lb (93 kg)

Heavyweight - Up to 265 lb (120.2kg)

 

 

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