Betting Trends for UFC Events in the UFC Apex: Back Favorites, Early Finishes

Louis Saulnier

UFC 258 is today at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, which means that there is a busy evening ahead for UFC betting. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UFC has been holding the majority of their fight cards at the Apex. With the pandemic ongoing, fans not being expected to be allowed to attend fights for the foreseeable future. As a result, the UFC has confirmed that events scheduled through the end of March, at the very least, will continue to be held at the Apex.

What does this mean for UFC betting? Well not only does a lack of fans seem to have an effect on the outcome of fights but the octagon used at the UFC Apex also smaller by 5-square feet. The normal UFC octagon measures at 30-feet but the one located in the smaller, more intimate Apex measures at just 25-feet.

Now that we have close to a year’s worth of fights at the UFC Apex, we can determine how this information will help us at the MMA betting window.

UFC Betting Trends Analysis: Smaller cage means more finishes

As you might expect, there’s a much higher rate of finishes in fights that are taking place in the smaller octagon. Over the last 200 fights at the UFC Apex Center there has been a finish rate of 54.1%. This means over half of the fights in the smaller octagon end via either TKO or submission before the final bell rings and the judges determine the outcome.

When looking at the past 200 fights that have taken place in the larger, normal sized 30-foot octagon, fights have been finished at a rate of 45.8%. That means the smaller octagon yields a 8.3% increase in fights being finished.

What does this mean from a betting standpoint?

It may not give an edge to the UFC betting favorite or the underdog when the fight is in the smaller cage. However, it does lead to more finishes. This means we can utilize bets that online sportsbooks like FanDuel offer like “Will the fight go the distance?” or “over/under 2.5 rounds”.

Also, this is good news if you want to bet on a big UFC betting favorite in a mismatched fight. You can feel a little bit more comfortable betting on them to win inside the distance for the extra value.

Finally, when fights are held in the UFC Apex you may want to hold off on betting on fights to go the full distance.

UFC Betting Trends Analysis: How does having no fans affect UFC outcomes?

The other significant difference with fights being held at the UFC Apex is a lack of fans, or for that matter, any crowd at all. While we did see fans at the most recent card on UFC Fight Island, the promotion has returned to North America. So the UFC will now be complying with the stricter COVID protocols, which don’t allow any fans to attend.

Surprisingly enough, a lack of a crowd seems to favor the betting favorite. Over the last 200 fights that had fans in attendance, favorites have been winning at a rate of 60.8%. That gets bumped up to a rate of 65.7% when looking at the latest 200 fights that took place in an empty arena.

With UFC 258 set to take place this Saturday at the UFC Apex, you may want to lean towards favorites and fights being finished inside that distance when you’re deciding what to bet on.