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UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega

Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal. International Fight Week returns to Las Vegas in late September, with multiple events taking place at the Apex facility – not to mention the big UFC 266 pay-per-view at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, September 25. Last year’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic; this year, two titles will be on the line at the pay-per-view, with several big-name fighters appearing on the undercard. Here’s what you’ll find on the UFC 266 odds board at Bovada Sportsbook as we go to press.

UFC 266 Main Event: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega Odds 

It’s been well over a year since the Featherweight title was last defended, so don’t be too embarrassed if you forgot who the champion was. Volkanovski (22-1 lifetime, 9-0 UFC) took the strap off Max Holloway in December 2019, then won the rematch by split decision in July 2020, in a fight that could have gone either way. This will be the first time Volkanovski has stepped into the Octagon since then – not including his recent head coaching appearance on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Volkanovski vs. Team Ortega.

Ortega (15-1, 1 NC lifetime; 7-1, 1 NC UFC) also had a crack at Holloway’s title in December 2018, but he lost by TKO after his left eye became swollen shut and the doctors stopped the fight. Again, this was a competitive matchup – and the eventual Fight of the Night – which gives Ortega fans hope for his latest title challenge. The California native is very much a live dog at +140 on the UFC odds board, even if he’s going up against the No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

UFC 266 Odds: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy

You could certainly make the argument that Shevchenko (21-3 lifetime, 10-2 UFC) deserves to be in the main event. This was originally scheduled as the No. 3 fight on the card; Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira were going to headline, but their Light Heavyweight title fight was moved to UFC 267 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. With that being said, Shevchenko has been something of a division killer since she moved down to 125 pounds and won the vacant Women’s Flyweight belt nearly three years ago. Five women have tried to dethrone her, and none has come close to succeeding.

This matchup will probably make it six straight. Murphy (15-4 lifetime, 7-4 UFC) is the former Invicta FC Bantamweight champion, and she’s on her own personal five-fight streak at Flyweight, but the MMA betting odds have the Alaska native pegged at +750, making her one of the biggest underdogs in the history of this sport. It will be a moral victory for Murphy if she can just make it through all five championship rounds.


UFC 266 Odds: Robbie Lawler vs. Nick Diaz

Also scheduled for five rounds is this non-title Welterweight bout between two of the most famous fighters in the history of the promotion. Lawler (28-15, 1 NC lifetime; 13-9 UFC), the former UFC champion at 170 pounds, is the –115 favorite on Bovada’s MMA odds board despite losing each of his last four fights. He also lost to Diaz (26-9, 2 NC lifetime; 7-6, 1 NC UFC), the former Strikeforce and WEC champion, way back in 2004 at UFC 47 via second-round KO. However, this is just the fourth appearance in the Octagon for Diaz since 2011, and his first since 2015, when his loss to Anderson Silva was declared a No Contest after both fighters tested positive – Silva for steroids, and Diaz for marijuana.

Other UFC 266 Odds

Because this card is still being put together, the only other fight on the UFC betting board at press time is the Heavyweight bout between Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, with Blaydes checking in as the –330 favorite. However, the main card is expected to be filled out by a Women’s Flyweight matchup between former Strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and Cynthia Calvillo. And the preliminary card on ESPN should include a Lightweight fight between Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast; Hooker has earned five performance bonuses in 10 fights since moving down to 155 pounds four years ago. Keep a close eye on Bovada Sportsbook for the latest MMA lines as this card gets fleshed out, and enjoy the show.

Odds as of September 10, 2021

Bet on the UFC


How to Bet on the UFC: UFC Betting Explained

There was a time when boxing was the biggest combat sport in the world. These days, more people are betting on mixed martial arts – especially when it’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) putting on the show. This promotion has skyrocketed since its first pay-per-view card in 1993, back when it was no holds barred; new rules and regulations have turned the UFC into a sweet science all its own, allowing the company to spread across the globe. This UFC Betting 101 introduction will show you how to bet on MMA at Bovada Sportsbook, from basic wagers to simple strategies you can use to knock out your competition.

Betting on the UFC

The UFC holds dozens of events every year, with somewhere around a dozen fights on every card. The major events are pay-per-views, and smaller shows are aired on cable television and UFC Fight Pass; each card will feature a main event, often a title fight for one of the promotion’s 12 weight divisions, as well as a co-main event. Here are the different ways you can get in on the UFC betting action:

UFC Moneyline Betting

This has been the standard way to bet on combat sports for well over a century. UFC Moneyline odds are a form of fixed-odds betting, where you choose one of the two fighters to win straight-up, no point spread attached. In North America, these odds are typically expressed using the American odds format. To better understand exactly what are UFC Moneyline odds, let’s look at the famous August 2016 Welterweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202:

Diaz              +120
McGregor       –150

Unless it’s a pick’em, every fight has a favorite and an underdog. The favorite will always have a negative sign next to their MMA odds; in this matchup, McGregor was the –150 favorite, paying out $100 for every $150 wagered (smaller and larger bets are allowed). The underdog usually has a positive sign next to their odds, although that’s not always the case with two closely matched opponents. In this fight, Diaz was the +120 underdog, paying out $120 for every $100 wagered.


UFC Parlay Betting

A parlay bet is a combination bet that lets you group together a number of individual Moneyline wagers. If you get all your picks right, your payout increases exponentially, but if you get a single pick wrong, the parlay loses. You can put anywhere between two and 12 Moneyline bets in your UFC parlays. The more lines you add, the higher the potential payout. So how do UFC parlay bets work? Let’s say you wanted to combine the McGregor-Diaz fight at UFC 202 with the co-main event, a Light Heavyweight bout between Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Glover Teixeira:

Teixeira           +175
Johnson           –225

Here, Johnson was the –225 favorite, while Teixeira was the +175 underdog. If you parlayed Johnson together with McGregor, congratulations: Both favorites won their fights. Betting $50 on each of them separately would have earned you $44.44 in profit, but since you parlayed them instead, you earned $140.74. You can calculate your potential payouts by multiplying the odds for each fight in your parlay, either by hand or with an online parlay calculator. Even better, Bovada Sportsbook will do the math for you when you’re filling out your bet slip.

UFC Futures Betting

If you’ve been stumped trying to figure out just what is a UFC futures bet, we’ve got you covered. In general, the UFC odds for each card will be made available well in advance, but every once in a while, speculative odds will be published for a fight that may or may not take place in the future. This can happen when two really big-name fighters appear to be on a collision course. If there’s enough interest in their potential fight, UFC futures odds will go up on the board. You’ll find them under “UFC Futures” when you open the UFC menu at Bovada Sportsbook.

Betting on UFC futures looks exactly the same as betting on the Moneyline. There will be a favorite and an underdog, and the odds for each fighter will adjust depending on how much action they draw. Once their prospective fight is made official, those odds will be taken off the UFC futures board and put on the regular market.

UFC Prop Betting

Aside from the Moneyline, UFC prop bets (short for proposition bets) are the most popular way to bet on MMA’s most popular promotion. Rather than picking a straight-up winner, UFC props ask you to wager on things like the method of victory (KO/TKO/DQ, submission, or decision), and whether the fight will go OVER or UNDER a certain number of rounds.

Much like the Super Bowl, betting on UFC props can be both fun and profitable. The more popular the fight, the more props you’ll have at your disposal; you might be able to bet on whether a fighter will win during a specific round, or whether they’ll win by unanimous decision. Don’t forget to look for these props anytime you’re considering a bet on the UFC.

UFC Betting Tips

Think you know your way around the Octagon better than most people? If you’ve been following the sport for some time, you’ve probably developed a solid base of knowledge that can help you beat the UFC odds. But even if you’re betting on MMA for the first time, you can gain an advantage by remembering two simple rules of thumb:


1. Styles make fights. Every UFC fighter comes from a certain MMA background. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is common, but a well-rounded practitioner will bring other martial arts to the table, be it wrestling, boxing, karate, Muay Thai, sambo, judo, or other forms. Ideally, your chosen fighter will be strong in the two basic elements of MMA: striking and grappling. They’ll also be strong on both offense and defense. If you see a fighter who’s gifted at ground-and-pound going up against someone who isn’t skilled at defending from underneath, that’s a mismatch that you can take advantage of.

2. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. There are 12 different weight classes in the UFC: eight males, and four females. The lightest division is Women’s Strawweight (up to 115 pounds), and the heaviest is Heavyweight (male, 206-265 pounds). As a rule, the lighter divisions have more of their fights end in decision, while the heavier classes will see more knockouts. You can use this knowledge, combined with the styles and past records of each fighter, to take advantage of the UFC props. For example, a Women’s Strawweight bout will end in a decision roughly 70% of the time; put two defensive strikers in the Octagon together, and a decision becomes even more likely.

Because the UFC has become so popular, detailed biographies of most fighters are available on the internet, showing their MMA backgrounds, which belts they’ve been awarded, and the results for all their previous fights – both in MMA and other combat sports. A little research will go a long way in helping you make sharper UFC picks. In the meantime, you now have everything you need to get started betting on the UFC. For more information, check out the FAQ and Help guide at Bovada Sportsbook, and feel free to contact Customer Service if you need further assistance.

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