UFC has become one of the top sports to bet on over the course of the last few years, and the best Irish betting sites offer a wide range of betting markets on every UFC event.
During recent times, the UFC has seen its public profile rocket as a result of stars such as Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Conor McGregor and others taking the sport to new levels.
Nowadays, the biggest UFC fights are blockbuster events that draw a lot of attention from all over the world, including in Ireland.
As a result, interest in UFC betting has been rising at a rapid rate - and it is expected to do so in the coming years as the sport continues to develop.
For those who are new to betting on the UFC, we have put together this complete guide.
UFC refers to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is a mixed martial arts (MMA) event.
Actually, UFC is the name of the company that runs the sport - this distinction is important - but UFC is usually used as a description for both the sport and individual bouts too.
Set up around 25 years ago, the UFC was initially quite niche for the first few years but it has expanded beyond all expectations under the powerful leadership of UFC frontman Dana White.
Now, there have been more than 500 UFC events, which take place all over the world. Growth markets for UFC include Australia, Asia and Europe, with further expansion likely in the future.
There are 12 weight divisions in total in UFC - which we will come on to later - and events usually see a mixture of male and female bouts, making sure there is something for everyone.
UFC is often described as fighting without rules, but this is not quite the case. Fighters are permitted from making certain types of attacking moves when they step into the Octagon. Nevertheless, UFC is seen as one of the most violent and sometimes brutal sports in the world.
Indeed, UFC has been attacked by a lot of critics over the years, including Senator John McCain, who once described the sport as "human cockfighting".
A takeover by Zuffa at the start of the 2000s became a huge turning point for the sport of UFC. Thereafter, it slowly gained much more legitimacy with White taking over as a public figurehead.
UFC 40, which was led by Ortiz vs. Shamrock, is widely seen as the first UFC event to garner mainstream media attention. Since then, the sport has undoubtedly been on the rise.
One of the things that people who are new to UFC betting may not understand at first is the difference between the UFC and MMA.
MMA - sometimes known as cage fighting - is best described as the sport itself. UFC can be thought of as a type of MMA, but it is actually a separate entity, run by its own company.
Not all MMA events, fights and bouts take place within the UFC. But all UFC bouts are MMA. Other MMA organisations include MMA organisations like Bellator, One Championship and ACB. MMA uses a variety of martial arts techniques, such as karate, jiu-jitsu and taekwondo.
UFC fights are held in an eight-sided enclosure. Given the title of the Octagon, the venue for UFC events explains why MMA is sometimes known as cage fighting.
The length of a bout depends on its importance, with championship fights having more rounds. Most UFC events have several bouts, building up to the main event. Smaller fights usually take place over three rounds, with a round never lasting for more than five minutes. Breaks between rounds last for a minute, just long enough for the competitors to be able to catch their breath.
Both male and female competitors fight with no shoes and male UFC fighters are topless. Safety equipment such as mouthguards and padded gloves are also worn in the Octagon.
There are several ways a fight can come to an end, including the following methods:
Submission means that one fighter essentially quits, for example by tapping the mat. A knockout win occurs when one of the fighters is unconscious and unable to resume the bout.
Should the referee decide one competitor is not fit to continue, the fight ends by technical knockout or TKO for short.
If the fight goes the full distance, the judges' decision settles it - as is the case in boxing. If a fighter carries out an illegal move they can be disqualified, while fighters can also forfeit.
Just as with most other sports, a wide range of markets and online betting options are available for those who want to have a wager on a big UFC event.
The most popular type of bet for the UFC is a simple one. Users just decide who they think is going to win a bout and bet on them. There is also the option to bet on the method of victory, such as submission or TKO. It is also possible for people to predict which round the fight will end on and bet on that as well.
These bets can be stacked. This means a betting site user can bet on the winner of a fight, the method of their victory and the round in which the bout comes to an end. Doing this is similar to an accumulator in other sports such as football and horse racing.
Betting on what round the fight will end in is very popular in UFC. Many betting sites that offer UFC markets will have an over/under market for when the fight comes to a climax. For example, in a fight scheduled to last for three rounds, the over/under may be set at 1.5 rounds. UFC fans expecting a rapid winner would bet on the under, while anyone who thinks that it will go the distance would be better opting for the over option.
Betting sites in Ireland may also offer the option to bet live in-play on the top UFC events. This means that UFC fans can watch the start of the fight and see how it is going before predicting who is going to win, how long it will last or the method of the victory.
While UFC betting is considered to be as unpredictable as any other sport out there, following our tips and strategy might just help you to select a winning wager for the next big event.
As always, it is worth shopping around for the best possible price for your chosen bet. Having accounts with several different Irish betting sites is usually the best way to do this. While the difference in the odds for a UFC event might seem small, it all mounts up in the long run.
Selecting your bets carefully is always a strong strategy and the same is true for UFC betting. It can be tempting to have a wager on a big fight, just to make watching it a bit more exciting. But it is best to only have a bet when you have some particular insight or knowledge into a bout.
MMA is one of those sports where the bookmakers do not tend to have a lot of insider information. What this means is they might be more cautious with the odds they set, but this does not mean there will never be any opportunities to make a profit out of UFC betting.
Betting sites in Ireland will often make the biggest name in a UFC bout the favourite, even if there are plenty of reasons to suggest they are going to lose when they set foot inside the Octagon. As a result, backing the underdog can be profitable - as long as you pick the right fights.
Perhaps fans of the UFC in Ireland should take some inspiration from one of the most famous MMA bettors in the world. Known as Vegas Dave even though his real name is Dave Oancea, he has made headlines around the world for his UFC betting tips and strategy over the years.
Vegas Dave first found fame when he won $240,000 in a bet after he backed Holly Holm to beat the hot favourite Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.
Another $300,000 was added to the massive amount of money that Vegas Dave has won from betting on the UFC when he correctly backed the challenger Miesha Tate to take Holm down.
However, there is a lesson to be learned from using Vegas Dave's plan of betting on the most high-profile UFC events. He laid down an amazing $1 million on Tate to hold on to her title by beating Amanda Nunes - but Tate lost the bout and Vegas Dave lost a seven-figure sum.
"The last two underdogs won," Vegas Dave had said ahead of the fight. "This time Miesha's the favourite but I'm sticking to my guns and I believe she's going to get it done."
Even when you may think you are on a roll in UFC betting, a loss can always be just around the corner. It is therefore vital to be able to walk away at the right time and bank profits you make.
Promotions and offers for the UFC are not available as often as for some of the other top sports in Ireland, such as football and Gaelic football.
But when there is a particularly big fight coming up, some of the top bookmakers for UFC betting in Ireland - which we listed above - may make a special effort to attract customers.
One of the regular UFC promotions and offers that come up is enhanced odds or a price boost. This is a way for a betting site to give their users more value out of their markets.
Of course, those who have not yet signed up for a betting site have the option of using the free bets they get for signing up for an account on top UFC events.
Keep in mind that the stake for your UFC free bets will not be returned as part of the winnings.
You might also be able to get bonus funds that can be used on UFC betting by making the most of various other types of promotions that are aimed at new betting site customers in Ireland.