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Looking for a Live Underdog

MMA Betting: Looking for a Live Underdog

By Loot, Mixed Martial Arts Handicapper,

In any form of sports betting, you will hear the term "live underdog." It is a term used to describe a fighter who is an underdog, but has some sort of talent or X-factor that makes him more dangerous than the odds suggest. The favored fighter is a more proven commodity. He has shown the ability to get the job done on a regular basis. They don't rely on lucky punches or other lightning-bolts from the sky. But with the sheer amount of upsets in the sport of MMA, it's important to take a close look at all underdogs and see if you can't make a good case for them coming up with the win. And the beauty of it is that you can be wrong more often than not and still come out a winner.

Unknown Fighters

It's difficult to attach a numerical representation of a fighter's skills if that man has been operating off-the-radar. Most well-known fighters were at one point unknown. Often times, it took an unforeseen result for them to become known. Let's say a heavily-favored and well-known older fighter is taking on a big underdog, but one who has potential. Sometimes, you would rather have money on an underdog whose skills are still a bit in question, rather than a retrograde fighter whose limitations have already been roundly exposed.

There are many degrees of unknown fighters. Some are unknown for a reason and are therefore less worthy of underdog betting consideration. If some guy suddenly appears in a big fight who is 35 after a decade fighting in minor-league organizations, that might not be the kind of unknown fighter you're looking for to score an upset. The more desirable option could be a young fighter from somewhere off-the-grid, a guy who was really good at some other form of fighting just starting off in the sport, or an otherwise overlooked diamond in the rough.

Style Factors

This is neither a particularly clever or ground-breaking idea, but an often neglected one. Trying to determine a result of a fight should not play out along the lines of who seems like the more formidable fighter. Sometimes, it's difficult to not simply judge fighters on our own little scale of who is "better." We give one guy a 92 and another guy a 79 and figure the highest score wins. Here's one sure bet--trying to pick fights that way will cost you heaps of money.

This is a sport where two people mesh to create one fight. Comparing fighters based on a relative individual analysis does little to create a well-reasoned prediction of how a fight will play out. It inevitably comes down to how those styles will mix, not simply who is "better" on some imaginary scale.


Keeping that in mind, try to pick underdogs whose styles figure to match well with the favored fighter. Perhaps the favored fighter has fallen victim or had trouble with certain elements of MMA. If the favored fighter is solid in every area, but perhaps not so great at taking punches, keep your eye out for big-slugging underdogs. And then maybe hope that puncher has some traits of his own that match up with the favorite. If the underdog is profoundly deficient in the areas of takedown defense and ground game and is facing a wrestling-BJJ guru, his "puncher's chance" might not seem so realistic after all.

Fighters Who are Very Good at One Thing

When picking underdogs, it could be slim pickings trying to make a case. More often then not, the underdog will be a well-rounded fighter who does almost everything capably, but nothing spectacularly. Not that those underdogs never win, but picking a fighter who is more dangerous than competently-versatile might be the better move.

Underdogs are underdogs for a reason. Chances are the favored fighter is going to be having his way at some point. At those times, you'd much rather have a fighter who can end a fight instantly than someone who is just good enough to vaguely "hang in there." When taking the big price on a fighter, it never hurts if he has the ability to roll a guy up into a submission out of nowhere or end matters with one punch.

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