How to Bet on UFC Fights in Illinois

MMA as a sport has become widely popular in the 21st century. The sport has grown to the point that there are a few different leagues. The highest level of competition with the top athletes in the world is in the UFC, which makes it the premium MMA brand. The UFC has been on a historic rise in popularity over the last decade and has been one of the biggest stories in all of sports.

While the UFC has been steadily becoming more popular, betting on UFC fights has been rapidly growing as more states legalize sports betting. UFC bets are even more popular in states that allow online and mobile sportsbooks. This is probably because UFC is one of the most fun sports to live bet on.

Considering Illinois legalized mobile sports betting apps in June 2020, sports bettors need to understand how to successfully bet on UFC fights.

UFC betting odds explained

How are UFC odds set?

UFC betting odds are calculated just like any other sports odds. Sportsbooks use algorithms and simulations to determine a favorite and an underdog and get a number for each that they believe will attract bettors to both sides of the play. The favorites are always represented by negative (-) odds. The underdogs are almost always represented by positive odds (+). If a fight is predicted to be close, each fighter may have negative odds, but the favorite will always have worse odds.

When are UFC lines released?

UFC betting lines may be calculated like other sports odds, but they are released completely differently. In the NBA, odds are usually released a day before a game; in the NFL, odds for the next week are usually released after teams have played the current week. The UFC calculates and releases lines pretty quickly after a fight is announced. Fights are usually announced between a month and six months before the actual fight. This allows plenty of time to watch for line changes and make smart UFC bets.

How UFC betting works

Betting on UFC fights can be some of the most exciting plays in all of the sports betting. Considering UFC is growing more popular, it is important to understand the basics of betting on fights. Here is everything sports bettors need to know about betting on UFC fights.


Moneyline bets are some of the most common bets in the UFC. They are the most popular form of betting in the sport. With Moneyline betting, bettors choose who the outright winner of the fight will be. You have a favorite and an underdog for every fight. The favorite always has negative odds (-) while the underdog almost always has positive odds (+).

Ex: Khabib Nurmagomedov -155 v Conor McGregor +135

To go the distance

A more challenging but fun betting form specific to combat sports is To Go the Distance bets. These bets allow sports bettors to wager whether the fight will go the full amount of rounds, which means the fight ends in a decision. UFC fights are typically three five-minute rounds. Unless it is a championship fight with five five-minute rounds, this bet is listed as a simple yes/no bet. There will be a favorite and an underdog decided by sportsbooks based on the two fighters’ histories.

Over/Under for rounds

Like traditional sports over/under bets, bettors can decide on over/under a certain amount of rounds instead of betting on a final score. With these bets, it doesn’t matter who wins the fight but how many rounds are completed.

Ex: Under 1.5 Rounds +210/ Over 1.5 Rounds -180

If you choose under this fight would need to end in the first round for you to win. If you choose over the fight would at least need to go to the second round to win.

Round betting

Allows you to wager on when you think a fight will end. There are two different ways of doing this: A fighter to win in a specific round: For this form of round betting, you have to select an exact round for a specific fighter to win in.

Ex: McGregor Round 1 +110, McGregor Round 2 +130

A fighter to win in a range of rounds: This form of round betting allows you to be less specific about the exact round. It instead allows you to choose a range of rounds in which you think the fight will end.

Ex: Nurmagomedov Round 1-2 +120, Nurmagomedov Round 2-3 +130

Winning methods

There are a few different ways in which UFC fighters can win a match. Most sportsbooks allow you to wager on exactly how a fighter will finish a fight. Here are the options:

  • KOs: A KO (Knockout) is when a fighter defeats an opponent by striking. This means any form of striking that renders an opponent unconscious is a KO. If the Referee calls the match after striking, it is a TKO (Technical Knockout), which is still considered a KO for betting purposes.
  • Submissions: A submission is when a fighter defeats an opponent with a submission. These almost always occur in the ground game. A submission can be called if an opponent taps, becomes unconscious, or if the ref calls it (this is rarer than KOs).
  • Decisions: A Decision comes when the fight goes the distance. This means that there was no KO or submission after the full amount of rounds, so the judges decide who won the fight.


Betting parlays is just like betting parlays in other sports. This allows you to combine two or more plays into a single wager for increased payouts. It is important when making  parlays within the same fight not to contradict outcomes. For instance, you would not parlay the fight to go the distance and also for a fighter to win via KO.

UFC live betting

Live betting on UFC fights is extremely popular and also some of the most exciting bets around. There are several reasons for this because UFC fights and live betting go hand-in-hand. For instance, live betting has constantly evolving odds that change depending on how a fight goes. The UFC is a sport that anything can happen at any moment. A fighter can be getting destroyed in the first two rounds and then come back with a knockout win in the third. Combine these two aspects, and you can find some great odds in live betting.

Live betting also provides UFC bettors the opportunity to hedge their bets. Hedging your bets is when you bet against your original bet to minimize loss and even sometimes profit. For instance, if you predicted KO in the first round and the fight goes into the second round, you could hedge this bet by placing a new one that has a chance of hitting. Hedging your bets can be helpful to sports bettors, but it’s better not to make a habit of it.

Perhaps the greatest part about live betting is that in Illinois, you don’t have to be at a physical sportsbook. Since Illinois legalized online and mobile sports betting apps in June 2020, you can live bet straight from your phone. This means that you can place wagers on UFC fights from anywhere in the state of Illinois as long as you have your phone with you.

Why you should only bet on legal UFC betting sites

Sports betting has been legal in Illinois for some time now. While it has taken a long time for sports betting to become legal in the US, it is now. Still, some people might be using illegal offshore sites or bookies. There is no point in this, and you should always place wagers at legal sportsbooks for several reasons.

First of all, legal sportsbooks are much safer than offshore sites and bookies. Legal sportsbooks offer safe transactions and are guaranteed to pay your winnings. When you use illegal methods, there is nothing that says they have to pay you. Another thing is some bookies will let you wager on credit which can be dangerous. Legal sportsbooks also have excellent customer service systems that make sure users are always taken care of. Legal sportsbooks are also regulated, so you know your funds are always safe.

The bottom line, sports betting is legal in Illinois. There are some great legal sportsbooks there, and anyone living in Illinois should take advantage of that.

UFC betting tips

While UFC betting is becoming more popular, it can still seem complicated at first. One of the most difficult aspects of wagering on UFC fights is that you have to pay to watch the fights live. If you want to learn how to make the absolute most out of your UFC bets, follow these tips.

  • Know the fighters: This may be the most self-explanatory, but it is also one of the most important. You should only bet on fighters on which you have researched. Betting the favorite is not always the right move, and only doing research will show you that. Know a fighter’s history, weight class, and fighting style. These will help you win UFC bets.
  • Understand rounds: While it is important to study fighters’ history, it can be just as important to know the details of their previous fights. Check out if they consistently go the distance in a fight, or if they are a KO specialist, or lose via submission often. These stats will help give you an edge in round betting.
  • Study history: You should always study fighters’ histories in recent fights. If a striker is fighting against a submission specialist, see how they have fared against that style of a fighter in the past. You can usually tell how a fighter will handle themselves in a fight based on similar fights in the past.
  • Compare fighting styles: This is one of the most essential tips for new UFC bettors, as if you want to bet on the sport, you need to know the sport. UFC is an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) league. This means that most of the fighters on the roster are skilled in two or more fighting styles. Understanding fighting styles can be your biggest ally in UFC betting. Do the research and see how certain fighting styles compare to others. Check the history of how fighters with similar styles have competed before, and you will make much smarter bets.

Best places to watch UFC fights in Illinois

UFC fights can be much fun to watch. Unfortunately, a majority of the fights are only accessible to watch live if you purchase the PPV. This can get costly since there is a fight card every weekend. While sports bars may charge an entry fee to get in and watch the fight, it can still be cheaper than purchasing the fight outright yourself.

Here are the top sports bars to watch UFC fights at in Illinois:

  • The Hideout
  • The Fifty
  • Four Shadows
  • Rocks North Center
  • Boulevard Sports Lounge
  • The Globe Pub
  • Hideaway Chicago
  • Output Wrigleyville
  • WestEnd
  • Brownstone Tavern & Grill

The biggest UFC fights of all time

The UFC is one of the most exciting spectacles in all sports. The fighters tend to have a huge personality and typically always put on a performance. With this, though, tempers can rise, and there can be much controversy. There are also once-in-a-lifetime upsets that can stun fans.

Here are some of the most notable UFC fights in recent history:


Before UFC 193, Ronda Rousey was considered one of the biggest stars in the UFC. She was undefeated and had won almost every previous fight with relative ease. She was defending her belt against the challenger Holly Holm in front of a massive crowd of 56,000+ in Melbourne, Australia.

Rousey was a massive favorite at -900, while Holm was at +600. What happened next stunned the MMA world as Holm dominated Rousey through the first rounds. In the second round, Holm KO’d Rousey, handing Rousey her first-ever UFC loss and taking her belt in the process.


At UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov put his lightweight belt and undefeated MMA record on the line. He was facing Conor McGregor, who was returning to the UFC after a single-fight boxing career. Both men were major stars at this point, and there were 2.4 million PPV buys for the fight.

While McGregor +135 was the bigger star in the world, Nurmagomedov was still the favorite at -155. It was a really strong fight for both fighters. In the fourth round, Nurmagomedov’s ground game became too much, and he submitted McGregor via rear-naked choke.

There was much tension in the build-up for this fight, and neither liked each other at all. After the fight, a brawl broke out in the stands between Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s friend Dillon Danis. Inside the ring, McGregor squared off with Nurmagomedov’s cornermen. Both fighters were fined and received suspensions for partaking in the fights.

The 5 fastest knockouts in UFC history

The UFC has had several amazing fights in its history. A KO is considered to be one of the most impressive finishes in combat sports. A KO is even more impressive when it happens fast. So, here are the five fastest knockouts in UFC history.

Ryan Jimmo KOs Anthony Perosh

  • Where: UFC 149 Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • How: Overhand Right (Punch)
  • Time: 0:07

Chan Sung Jung Kos Mark Haminock

  • Where: UFC 140 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • How: Punch/Ground and Pound
  • Time: 0:07

Todd Duffee KOs Tim Hague

  • Where: UFC 102 Portland, Oregon, United States
  • How: Right-Hand Punch/Ground and Pound
  • Time: 0:07

Duane Ludwig KOs Jonathan Goule

  • Where: UFC Fight Night 3 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
  • How: Punch
  • Time: 0:06

Jorge Masvidal KOs Ben Askren

  • Where: UFC 239 Paradise, Nevada, United States
  • How: Flying Knee
  • Time: 0:05

History of UFC

When the UFC began in 1993, back then, it was just an eight-man tournament. There were few rules and no weight classes. The tournament was to decide which fighting discipline was considered the best in the world.

The UFC continued to grow and, in 2000, became the UFC that is recognized today. There were finally rules, weight classes, and it was longer in a tournament format. The UFC was purchased in 2001 for $2 million. That same year Dana White became the president, and the UFC began its path to success.

The UFC continued to grow in popularity and was sold in 2016 for $4.025 billion. Today, the UFC has hosted over 500 events, consistently broken PPV records, and is by far the most popular combat sports league.


What does UFC stand for?

Ultimate Fighting Championship

How many UFC fights are there every year?

It varies from year to year, but in 2020 even with the COVID-19 Pandemic, the UFC still hosted 41 events that had 456 total fights.

Can you bet UFC on DraftKings?


How much is the UFC brand worth?

As of 2020, $7 Billion.

What was the biggest prize won for a UFC fight?

Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor have both won $3 million from a fight before. Rousey in 2016 when she lost to Amanda Nunes and McGregor in 2018 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov.