Freelance: 7 Ways to Accurately Spot an Upset in MMA


The much-anticipated UFC 213 pay-per-view event is at the forefront of the minds of many in the MMA community as it goes down in a little more than 24 hours (July 8) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can watch the event through your pay-per-view provider or UFC Fight Pass. More importantly, there will be a lot of money on the line in the gambling industry as a possible upset is getting top billing. UFC women's bantamweight (135-pound) champion Amanda "The Lioness" Nunes (-115) will face Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko (-115) for the second time. With that in mind, what should a bettor look for ahead of a given bout to know when to put money down on an underdog? Check out the list of tips below! 7. Check Career Records (Results, Level of Activity, and Quality of Opponents) This is really quite simple: How many fights has your underdog won? How many fights have they won consecutively? How long was their average winning bout time? How often has the underdog been fighting in a given year? If they have recently lost a contest (perhaps as the result of a bout going the distance and being put in the hands of judges) was the loss at least in a close fight? In boxing, they typically fight even less than an MMA fighter, so fights are more often hand-picked to make sure a fighter has the best chance at keeping an undefeated record (in boxing, more than a handful of losses usually means that fighter’s career is over or close to it.) The same is relatively true in the neighboring sport of MMA. Outside of major organizations like the UFC or Bellator MMA, fast finishes really don't mean as much because the fights more than likely came in the jungle that is the sport's largely unregulated amateur circuit. At this level, most athletes are not getting paid enough by promoters or sponsors to solely focus on fighting All of the above questions can be answered by visiting MMA database websites such as Sherdog.com. Along with seeing a record, Sherdog will show exactly how a fighter won or lost (by knockout, submission, decision, disqualification, or if the end result was a draw.) This will help you identify just how good a particular combatant overall or if they favor one martial art the most. Fighting often means that a fighter typically does not struggle with cutting weight and also means that they do not get ready for fights; they stay ready. However, too much activity was a crucial element of "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey's title loss to Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm at UFC 193 in November of 2015 as it was Rousey's third title fight (25 minutes in length) over a nine month period. 6. Check In-Fight Data For fights specifically under the UFC banner (which now includes fights under the now-defunct Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships promotions) visit FightMetric, LLC's website. This site will not only give you different in-fight averages but does so for specific fights, which is great if you are going to bet on a rematch to see just how narrow the first time two fighters competed was. FightMetric also displays significant strikes landed and absorbed per minute which should give you an idea of what their defensive and offensive speed is like. In their first meeting, Shevchenko did underperform but just barely trailed Nunes. The current champion landed just 66 total strikes while her opponent connected with 56 overall. As far as significant (fight-altering) strikes go, Nunes also led by a slim margin of 39 to 28 landed blows, the majority of which went to the head, and this shows that she is mostly a boxer.

Ahead of the rematch, Nunes still leads in almost every way (see the preview here.) However, Shevchenko’s finishes are more even (4 KO/TKOs, 6 submissions) despite the fact that she is known for being a kickboxer-Muay Thai fighter. If the fight goes to the canvas, she should definitely be considered more of a threat as her last win over Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Pena by way of an armbar. 5. Trust the Vegas Odds (most of the time) Las Vegas is widely known as “the fight capital of the world, ” and while the people doing the number-crunching for various sportsbooks may never have actually been fighters, they do their homework (extensively.) They are keeping an eye on the same factors that you are (past performances, weight issues, injuries, layoff time between contests, etc… As has been mentioned in other blog posts, heavy underdog bets are designed for “the house” to win with bettors being pulled in by those lucrative bets in an attempt to get rich quick. Vegas is not perfect, but it might be better to side with them in most cases and build up your fortune over the course of time rather than risk losing it all over time. Just also be aware that no bet, no matter how big of a favorite a fighter is for sure going to end the way the general populace thinks it might. 4. Who Has the Mental Edge? Just take a look at pre-fight press conferences. Guys like the “Notorious” Conor McGregor more often than not win their fights before they ever step in the cage (along with putting in the work physically to back it up.) A key factor to this is just how big of a deal the fight will be. When McGregor fought Jose Aldo at UFC 194 and won the UFC featherweight (145-pound) strap, the two men went around the world and back again building the fight for something close to a year. This meant that McGregor was antagonizing Aldo at every turn and along with a heavily supportive crowd watch, McGregor made Aldo crack under all the pressure. Sometimes it is better to let the other person talk and stay silent (all of the media was focused on Rousey before she was finished by Nunes in just 48 seconds.) Although, if a fighter cracks, they may fail to “pull the trigger” offensively or be overwhelmed when their opponent walks through the attacks like getting hit was a bee sting. Shevchenko has already told various media outlets that Nunes does not have a hard punch and the champion definitely seems to be more defensive, as pointed out originally by MMA journalist Luke Thomas, when their first bout is brought up in conversation. “Valentina is pretty tough, but since her last fight against me, she hasn’t really changed. Her opponents have followed her game plan. Valentina is a counter fighter. Every time you move forward, she’s going to counter and catch you. Her opponents made the same mistake over and over. I’m better than her in every way. I will prove it,” Nunes said per the LA Times. “I got tired in the third round, but that fight wasn’t even close. I will be ready. That fight, I trained for three rounds, not five. However long it goes — either way — my hand will be raised.” 3. Track Progress During a Training Camp Checking in on your bet (a particular fighter) during their training through a video log series like UFC Embedded is crucial if you know that they or their opponent has missed weight or struggles when cutting. Being dehydrated tires out a fighter, which is a huge factor come fight night. Additionally, some may even admit to smaller, nagging injuries (but that doesn’t usually happen until a fight is over.)

This will help you get a general sense of a combatant’s health as a bout approaches, which is good because betting lines will change over time in most cases and that could sometimes be directly tied to health.

You can watch UFC Embedded through the promotion's Youtube channel ahead of pay-per-view events. 2. Compare Fighting Styles Get to know your individual disciplines. Specifically concerning boxing, the general opinion is that an in-fighter wins against an out-fighter (one who stays at a distance,) out-fighters do well with brawlers, and a brawler should pick up over the in-fighter. What should you look for in a style versus style match-up in MMA? Typically it is easier to teach a striker Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu than the other way around because most have spent years doing grappling tournaments only, where any sort of strike is outlawed. Their primary game-plan is to go for a takedown to make the fight go to the canvas and then get a submission, but the fight cannot go to the ground if they cannot get by an opponent's hands or if that opponent is a wrestler with a high takedown defense rate.

In the UFC 213 main event, look for the challenger to wait for an opening while Nunes should try to force the action more. The Washington post noted that when comparing the two, Nunes is typically more aggressive but won’t simply just run her opponents down and score with strikes but will use jabs to make them react and then pounce. 1. Which Fighter is the Hybrid Athlete? Never forget that the name of this sport is mixed martial arts. This is not the UFC of the dark ages that were the 1990s. While Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. may have the striking advantage over McGregor in their upcoming boxing super-fight thanks to having almost two decades of experience honing a single discipline, the goal in MMA, the absolute must is to be as well-rounded as possible. The UFC just inducted Maurice Smith, who was the first to showcase this, into the organization's hall of fame last night (July 6.) Starting out as a kickboxer, he later picked up grappling before facing "The Godfather of Ground and Pound," Mark "The Hammer" Coleman for the heavyweight (265-pound) belt. Coleman had come up against no opposition to his takedown ability up to that point and had previously been able to keep all of his challengers on the canvas. Smith had learned some basic tactics to get back up on his feet in the event of a takedown and used them to perfection. To some, this may sound like a broken record but had Rousey lost because her striking was not near the level of her challenger's and then Holm lost in her first title defense because she has no ground game. The name of the game is to be as unpredictable as possible.

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