Best bookmaker for MMA betting

25 July 2019

Leading tipster site Betting Expert compares bookmakers’ MMA offerings, exploring their markets, odds, promotions and in-play options to determine the best in the UK.

The popularity of MMA has certainly been on the rise in recent years. With viewing figures at an all-time high, betting on the sport has also increased.

A host of bookmakers are now offering MMA odds and this month we’ve compared their offerings to determine which operators offer MMA bettors the best range of betting options.

Our research consisted of comparing and contrasting the number of markets available on selected MMA fights and bookmaker margins. The aim of our research was to find the best bookmaker for MMA odds, along with the best bookmaker for MMA betting in general. 

The data we gathered focused on two of the biggest MMA events of the year: the UFC 239 fights between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos and Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm.

For our review, we examined 25 of the top bookmakers operating online in the United Kingdom. These were:

With the exception of Titanbet, every bookmaker we looked at offered some form of MMA betting. A small number also offered in-play betting opportunities, MMA promotions and live streaming.

Top bookmakers
From our analysis we established our overall top three. These were:

1. Sky Bet
2. Betsafe
3. Marathonbet

We put Sky Bet in top place for a variety of reasons. It offered a good range of markets on each fight we used in our research. In total, 19 markets were offered on each fight, with competitive prices meaning Sky Bet was also one of the best bookmakers for MMA odds.

Sky Bet didn’t provide any statistics facilities or live streaming. However, there were a number of live betting markets available. Sky Bet was also one of the few bookies we analysed that offered UFC and MMA-specific promotions.

Second placed Betsafe featured in our top three for lowest bookmaker margins for both Jones v Santos and Nunes v Holm. In addition, Betsafe covered most major MMA betting markets, along with a number of live betting options.

Third placed Marathonbet didn’t offer as many different markets as many others included in our research. However, this operator excelled in other areas – its odds were extremely competitive and it complemented this by offering a statistics service, as well as in-play betting.

Average number of markets covered
One of the most important factors for bettors is finding bookmakers that offer a wide range of markets. Our research showed that the following bookmakers offered the highest number of MMA markets.

=1. Betfair
=1. Paddy Power
2. Sky Bet

The two giants of UK online betting came joint first in this list. Betfair and Paddy Power, which merged in 2016 and are now under the umbrella of Flutter Entertainment, both offered an equal number of markets for both Jones v Santos and Nunes v Holm.

There were 24 markets available on Jones v Santos. For Nunes v Holm, bettors could take their choice from 22 markets. For Jones v Santos, the list of markets available consisted of the following:

  • Fight result
  • Method of victory
  • Method and round combo
  • Round betting
  • What round will fight end
  • Double chance
  • How fight will end
  • Will the fight go the distance
  • Alternative method and round combo
  • Alternative round betting
  • Alternative when will the fight end
  • Time out in the fight
  • Point deduction
  • Finishing time
  • Finishing time two
  • Fight to start round two
  • Fight to start round three
  • Fight to start round four
  • Fight to start round five
  • Outcome of first round
  • Outcome of second round
  • Outcome of third round
  • Outcome of fourth round
  • Outcome of fifth round

All markets listed above were also available for Nunes v Holm, except for finishing time and finishing time two.

Sky Bet did well in this category too, offering an average of 19 markets on both fights.

Lowest bookmaker margin
In sports betting, bookmaker margins are important to punters. We assessed the margins of each operator we researched to determine a top three.

The following bookmakers offered the lowest margins for the UFC 239 fights between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos and Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm.

For Jones against Santos, these bookies offered the lowest bookmaker margins. This was specific to the ‘To win fight’ market.

1. Matchbook
2. bet365
3. Betsafe

At Matchbook, the bookmaker margin was 2.87%. At bet365 it was 3.90% and at Betsafe 4.34%.

For Nunes against Holm the top three in the same market were:

1. Sky Bet
2. Betsafe
3. Genting Bet

Our overall winner Sky Bet also came in number one place here. Its bookmaker margin was set at 2.62%. Betsafe offered 4.44%, while Genting Bet came in third with 4.45%.

Other factors
There were a number of other aspects we considered, starting with the offering of a statistics service.

For punters new to betting on MMA, having easy access to previous results and fighter details can help them decide which wagers to place. However, only a small number of bookmakers offered a statistics function, with MMA stats available only at Marathonbet, William Hill and NetBet.

888sport and Unibet have both stated that they will introduce an MMA stats service shortly, to complement the statistics they offer on other sports.

Live streaming is another option often available for sports betting. For MMA, however, we couldn’t find any bookmaker that offered streaming on Jones v Santos or Nunes v Holm, nor on any fight taking place in UFC 239.

This is more than likely due to UFC 239, and the specific fights we’ve mentioned, only being available on pay-per-view. It’s difficult for any online bookie to offer live streaming on these types of fights. In the future we could see MMA live streaming becoming available on selected fights on the undercard.

In-play
A number of the bookmakers analysed offered live betting opportunities. These included:

  • Sky Bet
  • Betsafe
  • Marathonbet
  • bet365
  • 888sport
  • Unibet
  • Betway
  • William Hill
  • Betfair
  • Energy Bet
  • NetBet
  • Bet–at-Home

UFC/MMA promotions
There were a number of bookies that offered specific promotions on MMA, in particular UFC 239. We were most impressed with the offers from BetVictor. At BetVictor, new customers could take advantage of enhanced odds offers on both the Jones v Santos and Nunes v Holm fights. Additionally, BetVictor also offered a series of price boosts.

Sky Bet also offered a good range of MMA promotions. Enhanced Accas and price boosts were available on each featured fight, as well as price boosts on other fights taking place on the card.

Other bookmakers that offered UFC and MMA-specific promotions included William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power and Boylesports.

Conclusion
We can see that a number of operators take MMA betting seriously. Interestingly, however some of the so-called big boys of UK online betting seem to be lagging behind some of their less illustrious competitors when it comes to MMA betting. If the popularity of the sport continues to grow, this could well give some smaller brands the chance to steal market share in other sports.

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