Luke Garrison: Sports & Casino Author from Canada

Sports & Casino: Luke Garrison

Luke Garrison is a professional writer who grew up just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He currently works at the Canadian Press and enjoys the outdoors in his free time.

In 1993, MMA quickly became a widespread term after its first documented use by well-known critic Howard Rosenberg in his review of ‘UFC 1’ for the Los Angeles Times. The UFC was formed that same year and has steadily grown more popular throughout North America ever since.

Unfortunately, Canada wasn’t as quick to adopt MMA. In 2013, Bill S-209 finally decriminalized MMA within the country, which gave each province the power to create athletic commissions that would be responsible for regulating and sanctioning professional MMA fights.

On the betting side of things, only Ontario allows and regulates online commercial sportsbooks. That said, most other provinces have alternative options for betting on MMA bouts, including in-person at lottery kiosks and/or online at government-owned sportsbooks such as ‘Proline’ and ‘PlayNow’.

Read on to learn important information every Canadian should know before placing any wagers on MMA fights.

Popular MMA Fighting Styles

MMA fighting styles draw inspiration from a number of different combat disciplines. Understanding what these disciplines are all about, and how they’re incorporated into each fighter’s combat style, can provide valuable insight when deciding who to bet on ahead of a big match. Here are some of the most frequently-used styles in MMA today.


When most people think about a traditional fight, they envision boxing. Common associations include red padded leather gloves, a prototypical roped ring, and a loud bell to alert all who hear it whenever a round has officially ended or began.

This style is mostly focused on fighting using fist strikes, hence the large gloves. Fast footwork also plays a large role, opening up an opponent for quick jabs and other strikes.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The inception of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) can be traced back to 1925, where it was developed by the five Gracie brothers at the ‘Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy’ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Carlos Gracie was the true founder as the inspiration for many of BJJ’s techniques came from Carlos’ time with Japanese judo master Esai Maeda.

Most of the style is focused on grappling, ground fighting, and submission holds. The goal is to force an opponent to the ground before using BJJ moves featuring joint locks and chokeholds to immobilize them into submission. Fighters who specialize in this style are naturally more likely to win by submission than by other avenues to victory.


Derived from both Okinawan and Japanese martial arts, techniques are typically powerful as well as linear with a focus on striking. What makes karate unique is the focus on the mental aspect of combat, with a lot of emphasis put on effort as well as respect in order to be a fighter that is both physically and mentally strong.


Kickboxing is somewhat as it sounds, focusing on a combination of boxing-style punches and martial arts-style kicks. Boxing gloves are used in kickboxing matches, and many elements of karate can be found in the kicking techniques. A popular subdiscipline of kickboxing is Muay Thai.


Wrestling draws a lot more similarities to BJJ than it does to other popular fighting styles, considering striking blows are not permitted. It’s all about hand-to-hand combat, focused on taking the opponent down to the floor and forcing them into submission.

Methods of Victory

There are four different ways a fighter can win an MMA bout – ‘Submission’ (SUB), ‘Knockout’ (KO), ‘Technical Knockout’ (TKO), and ‘Judges’ Decision’. If the fight ends in a judges’ decision, there are a few different factors that determine how the final ruling is made. Refer to the table below for key information on how to win an MMA fight.

Method of Victory Explanation
Submission (SUB) Fighter physically or verbally taps out through a legal method of submission during any round.
Knockout (KO) Fighter is knocked unconscious by a strike or other form of impact.
Technical Knockout (TKO) The referee halts the match and declares a technical knockout due to the amount or severity of strikes or other impact upon a fighter.
Judges’ Decision When the method of victory is not a SUB, KO, or TKO, a panel of three judges deliver scorecards resulting in either a unanimous, majority, or split decision.
Judges’ Decision – Unanimous A judges’ decision is unanimous when all three judges vote for the same fighter.
Judges’ Decision – Majority A judges’ decision is considered to be a majority when two judges vote for one fighter and the third votes ‘Draw’.
Judges’ Decision – Split A judges’ decision is seen as split when two judges pick one fighter and the third picks the other.
Judges’ Decision – Draw When a judges’ decision is a draw, that draw itself can either be unanimous, a majority, or a split depending on how votes are cast.

Understanding MMA Weight Classes

Like many other combat sports, MMA fighters are separated and compete in different divisions based on weight class. These classes also differ between the men’s and women’s divisions. Refer to the tables below for a full breakdown of men’s and women’s MMA weight classes.

MMA Weight Class Division Weight Requirements
Strawweight Women’s 115-pound limit
Flyweight Men’s & Women’s 125-pound limit
Bantamweight Men’s & Women’s 135-pound limit
Featherweight Men’s & Women’s 145-pound limit
Lightweight Men’s 155-pound limit
Welterweight Men’s 170-pound limit
Middleweight Men’s 185-pound limit
Light Heavyweight Men’s 205-pound limit
Heavyweight Men’s 265-pound limit

Popular Ways to Bet on MMA Fights in Canada

Most Canadians bet on MMA fights by betting on the UFC, although the Bellator MMA league also draws a lot of interest. There aren’t as many MMA bet types as other sports, but it is still one of the most popular and exciting betting sports. Most MMA betting sites use ‘American odds’, expressed as a positive value (ex. +150) for underdog fighters and a negative value (ex. -260) for fighters considered to be the favourite.

Here are all of the available MMA bet types available at most sportsbooks serving Canadians. Once you have become familiar with them, simply choose a sportsbook based on what’s available to you in your current province, and you’re ready to bet on the next big UFC Fight Night. Good luck!


Placing a moneyline bet simply means choosing one of two fighters to be the outright winner of any bout. For example, if Rose Namajunas has moneyline odds of -150, she would be the favorite.

The odds also tell us how profitable a bet will be. For example, a $50 wager on Namajunas at -150 would yield an $83 payout (your original $50 stake plus a $33.50 profit).

Total Rounds

Total rounds betting simply means betting on how many rounds a fight will last. Essentially, each bout is given an over/under rounds total.

For example, a UFC fight has a total rounds value of ‘2.5’. If the fight lasts for three rounds or more, a bet on the ‘Over’ would win, whereas the fight would need to last for two rounds or less for a bet on the ‘Under’ to cash.

Parlay Betting

A parlay bet is a combination bet that can include any of the previously mentioned bet types. Each single bet in a parlay is called a ‘leg’ and all legs must hit for the wager to win. For example, a two-leg parlay picking Michel Pereira to win on the moneyline and the bout to last under 2.5 rounds.

Futures Betting

Futures betting is a wager on a future event. In UFC betting, this means wagering on a specific fighter to be the current champion of their weight class as of December 31st. For example, betting on Jon Jones to be the ‘Men’s UFC Heavyweight Champion’ on December 31st, 2024.


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