Best Sportsbooks for UFC Betting in the US
One of the biggest growth areas for the betting industry is Mixed Martial Arts and having emerged from the fringes of combat sports, it’s big business in the present day. MMA is popular all over the world but its heart is in the United States where the best fighters reside and the biggest events are held.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, (UFC), is the pinnacle of MMA and this is the division that all competitors are aiming for. UFC nights are held right across the calendar and this is when betting interest also intensifies.
Betting inside the US is highly regulated and while the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the earlier PASPA ruling has opened up sports betting in the physical world, heavy online restrictions remain. As of January 2019, only four states across the US allow online gambling but with the general landscape changing, that position may alter in the months ahead.
In the meantime, those who reside in any of those four states – Nevada, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey – need to know all about UFC betting. It all starts with finding the right bookmaker and here are our recommendations.
Trust and longevity play an important role in picking the best MMA sportsbooks so it’s good to know that Wagerweb have been around since 1994. They are based and licensed in Costa Rica and have been focussed on the US betting market for 25 years now.
Things start off very positively here with a huge welcome offer which is a 50% match on players’ opening deposits and can rise all the way up to $1,000 at the top end of the scale. As of January 2019 there are additional benefits including a 1% weekly cashback and that value is carried over into competitive odds on a daily basis.
US Sports get plenty of coverage while Wagerweb also goes big on MMA and UFC markets. Result betting and a wide choice of prop bets are available making this a strong, all round bookmaker.
Bodog also have a long history having been launched by their charismatic owner Calvin Ayre in 2000. In nearly twenty years of online trading, they are the first choice for many US based bettors and there are several reasons for that.
Log on to the main site and you’ll see that there is a focus on US sports and many of Bodog’s offers are tied in to the big events. Ahead of the 2019 Super Bowl, there was a $200 bonus up for grabs and that’s typical of the type of promo you will find here.
The offers give way to some of the most competitive odds around and like the other sportsbooks on this list, Bodog have a good range of markets for all MMA fights and many options for prop bets.
This is a company that focuses on the US at the expense of certain other territories so bettors in America can be confident that they will get a good service from Bovada. Offers and promotions are generous as they are with all bookmakers on this list plus there is value from competitive daily odds.
Bovada take MMA seriously and a good example of this came in 2018 when the sportsbook ran a competition to win an all-expenses paid trip to see Khabib vs McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. A a good set of markets is here but that offer underlines their commitment and helps Bovada stand out as an MMA sportsbook.
Founded in 2004 and registered in Panama City, Betonline is another sportsbook dedicated to the US market. North American sports get lots of coverage but there is plenty of room for others and this is another great place for UFC and MMA betting.
New players can grab a 50% bonus on their opening deposit and unlike sportsbooks in other parts of the world, this is another US-friendly bookie that publishes a number of promos through the life of your account.
This is a sportsbook where the emphasis is on the moneyline markets and there are few prop bets. However, there are great prices here again which are tough to beat so for the straight result, Betonline is one of the first places to check out.
Intertops are widely recognised as the first ever online bookmaker. They were the first to embrace the digital age way back in 1996 so once again, we have a company whose longevity leads to widespread trust.
The offers here are quite stunning and while they are subject to change, customers can typically find a choice of welcome bonuses that can rise all the way up to $1000 at the top end of the scale. Hundreds of dollars are given away in ongoing offers and like Bodog, a $100 deal on the 2019 Super Bowl is typical of what you can find here.
Intertops may not have the widest set of prop bets but what you do get with UFC betting is big coverage of all fights and the odds in the straight moneyline result markets are always tough to beat.
In order to start placing bets, customers to any sportsbook will obviously need to add funds to their account. This is another area where players in the United States may find some frustrating restrictions, particularly among eWallet providers, some of whom prefer not to offer services within the country.
At a very basic entry level, online sportsbooks should be looking to take all of the major debit and credit cards. From there, bank wires are useful but they aren’t essential and they can take 2-5 days to transfer, as opposed to other options which should be instant.
|Bookies / Payment Methods:|
|Free, Instant, Credit Card||Free, Instant, Debit Card|
|Free, $20-$500, Credit Card||Free, $20-$500, Debit Card|
|4.9% fee, $20-$500, Credit Card||4.9% fee, $20-$500, Debit Card|
|Free, $50-$5,000, Credit Card||Free, $50-$5,000, Debit Card||$10-No Max, eWallet||$10-No Max, eWallet|
|Free, -$1,000, Credit Card||Free, -$1,000, Debit Card||Free, $20-$5,000, eWallet||Free, -$5,000, eWallet|
|Bookies / Payment Methods:|
|Credit Card||Debit Card|
|$25-$9,900, eWallet||$25-$9,900, eWallet|
|Free, $25-$2500, eWallet||Free, $25-$2500, eWallet|
Then we come on to eWallets: Independent providers who store money safely and securely but aren’t a traditional financial institution. PayPal is the biggest of these but they are not always available for betting operators. However, Skrill and Neteller are the most common eWallets in this industry and Intertops, along with other operators on this list, have Skrill and Neteller available for their customers.
Smaller providers might include Zimpler, Sofort and PaySafeCard but they all work in the same way: They store your money and you can then transfer to any sportsbook that accepts them. Check each bookmaker individually for any rules on transaction times and charges – they will usually have a separate payment section that explains everything but if in any doubt, check any queries with customer services.
Is it Legal to Bet on Sports and UFC Online in the USA?
In most parts of the United States, it is illegal to bet on sports online. That includes UFC betting and any form of MMA tournament. There are only four exceptions to this ruling right now and the states where online betting is currently allowed are Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Residents of those four states can bet online but it must be carried out through licensed gambling operators who are based outside of the US. At present, no company is allowed to set online betting facilities inside the United States.
Any of the recommended bookmakers listed above will have their own rules as to who they will accept as customers. Check their terms and conditions for full details but in general this will mean that players have to be over the age of 18 and checks will be carried out to confirm identity.
The pro-gambling lobby hope that with the help of President Donald Trump, the laws regarding online gambling will be relaxed but the above underlines the position as of January 2019.
Most Popular MMA Fighters in the USA
The United States has produced many of the best MMA fighters in the history of the sport and here are some of the biggest names to have ever graced the Octagon.
Daniel Cormier originally made his name as an Olympic freestyle wrestler and and he just missed out on a bronze medal at the 2004 games in Athens. He turned to MMA fighting at the relatively late age of 29 but he has achieved much since switching to the Octagon.
Cormier has fought in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions and was only the second man in UFC history to hold world championships in two classes. He took a break from the ring in 2013 and despite his advancing years, he was ranked number one UFC fighter in the Pound for Pound list.
Daniel Cormier will turn 40 in 2019 but having made his return to MMA a year earlier, he will surely look to stay involved for some time yet. At the start of that year, the veteran boasted a record of 22 wins from 24 professional fights with 10 victories coming via knockout.
He’s only suffered one defeat in that time and there is one no contest to complete that impressive tally.
Henry Cejudo also took the route from Olympic freestyle wrestling into the MMA but was actually a gold medallist in the former. He turned pro as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter in 2013 and has achieved much in the game during a short space of time.
Competing in the flyweight division, Cejudo defeated Michael Poe on his debut and quickly racked up a record of 6-0. The UFC came calling shortly after and, having worked his way through the ranks, the Los Angeles born fighter ended 2018 as the reigning flyweight champion in the organisation.
Going into the following year Henry Cejudo started 2019 with an overall record of 16 pro fights with 14 wins, six of which came inside the distance.
The Hawaiian Max Holloway also ended 2018 as a UFC champion having finished the year as the proud holder of the featherweight title. He also went into the New Year as the number 4 ranked fighter on the overall pound for pound list.
Unlike some of the names on this list he went straight into MMA as a pro career and by the time he was 19, Holloway had already amassed a record of 4-0. With the UFC monitoring his progress, the Honolulu born fighter joined the division in 2012 but he started in subdued fashion at UFC 143 with defeat to Dustin Poirier.
Holloway quickly put that loss behind him and a string of victories put him up the rankings until he eventually laid hands on that featherweight crown. As of January 2019, Max Holloway’s MMA record stood at 20 wins from 23 professional fights with 12 of those victories coming inside the distance.
One of the best female fighters to have ever graced the Octagon, Cris Cyborg held world titles through various MMA organisations before signing up with UFC. Born in Brazil, she now lives and trains in San Diego and is still a force in the sport.
Cyborg signed up with Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2015 and made an immediate impact when she won her first contest against Leslie Smith by TKO in the first round. Two years later, she enjoyed her best period in the sport and at UFC 214 in July 2017, Cyborg won her first championship by defeating Tonya Evinger for the Featherweight title.
A largely successful few months followed and while there have been some ups and downs in her career, Cris Cyborg remains a huge force in MMA. As of January 2019, her pro career record shows 20 wins from 23 fights with no fewer than 17 of those victories coming via knockout.
Rose Namajunas started 2019 as the UFC champion in the strawweight division and she is currently at the top of her game. Born in Wisconsin, she is at a peak age and is likely to be competing in MMA for many years to come.
After a successful amateur career, Namajunas joined up with the Invicta MMA organisation where she initially made her name. She was quickly picked up by UFC and by the end of 2018, had risen to number 14 in the pound for pound rankings. At that time, Namajunas’ pro record was an impressive one with eight wins from 11 fights, six of which came inside the distance.
It isn’t easy to access betting options on UFC and general MMA in the US but in certain states, it is possible to bet on markets with operators who are based outside of the country. Having access to a bookmaker doesn’t mean that you should jump on board with them, however, and there are certain criteria that makes one sportsbook stand out from the crowd.
Trust is important and many of the sportsbooks that we’ve listed above have been trading online for many years. For newer bookmakers, make sure that the operator is transparent by listing full details of their license at the bottom of the homepage.
Beyond that element we want to identify an optimum mix of choice and value: Choice relates to the amount of markets and the amount of fights that a sportsbook covers. The headline bout on a UFC card should be here as a minimum but does that bookmaker cover the rest of the match ups on the bill?
Similarly, while all sportsbooks should be offering odds for a straight win in the fight, punters will want a range of prop bets including method of victory and whether the bout will go the distance.
Moving on to value and the theme here should be an obvious one: Value can come at the very start of a business relationship by offering a generous welcome bonus. We’ve seen that from some of the bookmakers on our list but it needs to be backed up by competitive odds on a daily basis.
Those are the factors needed to identify top sportsbooks for USA customers. We’ve given you our own recommendations but you can harness this information to pick out any new players that come along.
MMA and the UFC division are set to grow even further in the years that follow: It’s an exciting time to get on board and while there are betting restrictions in the US, there are good options for bettors in certain parts of the country.