MMA Gambler’s Advice Vol. 2: Do Your Research Jun 29, 2013

Jimi Manuwa

MMA Gambler’s Advice Vol. 2: Do Your Research

I don’t know how you make your living, but I’m assuming every single person who reads this article works hard to earn their cash, and that’s why you have to be smart with your money when you’re betting on fighting.

Obviously, people gamble on fights for different reasons. Some people do it because they’re bored. Some people do it to make a fight more exciting. Some people do it to pay the bills. Regardless of your reason for gambling, though, the outcome is always the same: either you win money, or you lose it.

Winning money feels great; there’s no better feeling in the world. But losing money sucks — especially a lot of money — and one of the worst feelings a human being can endure, at least in my own experience on this planet, is losing money which you worked hard for.

This is why, when betting on mixed martial arts, doing your research is paramount. Sure, doing your research won’t guarantee you winnings — it’s called risk taking for a reason  – but it will minimize your loss and make you much better informed when you’re placing your wagers.

As a fairly successful mixed martial arts handicapper, I’d like to give a few tips on doing research to all the bettors out there that will hopefully help you make some cash, or at least keep you from wasting it.

Here’s three tips to help you research fights better:

  • Watch tape: There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the most important aspect of betting on fighting. You absolutely have to watch as much tape as you can on both fighters in a fight in order to form the best opinion of the matchup possible, and if you do this you’re going to make less bad bets and more good ones. If a fighter’s in the UFC, it’s easy as their fights are usually readily available on DVD to watch and so there really is no excuse to not watch tape. But if a fighter is from a smaller organization, it’s obviously much more difficult. But you have the Internet at your hands and Youtube is a key tool, so just because you may have never heard of a fighter doesn’t mean that tape doesn’t exist on them. A personal example of this would be Jimi Manuwa, who made his UFC debut against Kyle Kingsbury at UFC on FUEL TV 5. I didn’t know much about Manuwa aside from the fact he was undefeated, but once I watched some tape of him I knew he would destroy Kingsbury, I placed a bet at a good price, and I cashed out. Had I not watched that tape, though, I wouldn’t have made the bet since I had only seen Kingsbury fight in the UFC and I knew he was tough as nails and I thought Manuwa had just been can crushing; but after seeing tape on Manuwa, I knew there was a bet was to be made on him. Oh, and watch the weigh-ins; that’s always key.
  • Read and listen to as much as you can: You have to read as much as you can about a fighter before you place a bet on him. This can include reading interviews, reading biographies, reading Twitter — anything, really, that will help you learn more about the fighter and give you a bigger edge against the market. Before a fight I always read about what fighters are saying heading into their next match because it really gives you a glimpse into a fighter’s mindset. As well, I try to listen to as many audio interviews with fighters as I can before their fights to help me determine how a fighter is thinking heading into their upcoming fight. Since fighting is half mental, hearing what these fighters say is super important and it needs to be part of your research plan before you make a wager. For instance, before UFC 158 I interviewed Antonio Carvalho and he told me he was thinking about retiring before he stepped into the cage with Darren Elkins; not surprisingly, he was knocked out in the first round. I laid off a bet on Carvalho there and I’m glad I did because I would have lost a lot of money, but had I not talked to him — and the interview was posted on the internet for everyone to read — I probably would have made a bet on him. So just hearing what he said saved me a lot of money, and it’s a reason why reading and listening should be a big part of your capping.
  • Comb through records: Even though it’s a bad idea to bet on a fighter just by looking at their Sherdog record, it’s still something you need to know. It’s never a bad thing to see how fighters have traditionally won their fights or how they have lost them, and it will definitely give you an edge. For instance, before Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna I combed through Te Huna’s record and saw he had lost most of his fights by submission. Knowing how good Teixeira is on the ground and knowing that he likely wouldn’t stand with Te Huna, I bet on Teixiera by submission at +400 and cashed out nicely. That showed to me that the fight finder is a valuable tool to have in your pocket, but don’t just rely on it solely to make your bet.

Betting on fighting and winning money is a hard thing to do but if you do your research I guarantee you will minimize your losses and increase your profits. So take these tips into consideration before placing your next MMA bet and hopefully you come out a winner.

Written by Adam Martin

Mixed martial arts journalist. Read at MMAOddsbreaker.com and Sportsnet.ca. Former MMA reporter for theScore.com. Want to talk about MMA betting? Hit me up on Twitter @MMAdamMartin.

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