A first round finish in the UFC happens more often than you would think.
There is a long history of dominating performances in the world of MMA. This gives us a lot of data on how to predict them.
The reward for learning these betting tips is that a first round finish prop usually pays around quadruple your wager. That can add up fast.
First round finishes are also valuable for the following reasons:
Here are some questions that will be answered in this blog post:
If you are interested in betting on first round props, after receiving these betting tips, head over to 5Dimes and apply what you learned.
You can also watch UFC on ESPN without a cable subscription by using Sling. Get a free 7-day trial now.
1st round knockouts are more common in the UFC than first round submissions.
Within the first 5 minutes of a UFC fight, you are 1.8x times more likely to see a knockout than a submission (on average). The picture below helps to illustrate that number.
The importance of this data lets us know how often a first round submission or knockout happens per event.
A first round knockout happens (184/101) 1.8 times per event and a first round submission happens (101/101) 1.0 times per event.
The statistics also indicate that when placing a “Wins in Round 1” prop bet that a preference should be given to fighters who have shown knockout power more than fighters that haven’t.
When considering on whether to confirm that round one bet, the first question that should be asked is – does fighter x have knockout power?
If the answer is yes, then ask if they also have the submission ability to stop their opponent in the first round, if they can’t get the knockout. If they do, then continue to analyze the possibility of making a “Wins in Round 1” bet.
One reason is that the UFC employs more fighters with knockout ability than submission ability.
Another reason is that the evolution of the sport has given fighters better preparation to avoid submissions more than knockouts.
It’s also worth noting that a fighter only has a split second to defend against a punch, but submissions are usually more nuanced.
It seems obvious that men finish their opponents in the first round more than women, but there are still some takeaway points with this information. Here they are:
The number 2 point is valuable in that it gives pause to the notion that all female matchups go to decision.
Think about that 16% stat before placing a decision prop at -350 odds.
The most common way is by submission.
Out of the past 32 first round finishes by female UFC fighters, 12 of those were by KO/TKO and 20 were by submission.
The most common submission is the armbar.
Out of the 20 submissions mentioned above, 10 of them came via the armbar.
The ability to execute armbar submissions so frequently is what is helping women contend with men in the probability of getting a first round finish.
27.9% of the time, a matchup with a big favorite will end in the first round. Imagine 10 UFC matchups that all involve big favorites, from those 10 matchups, more than three (2.8) don’t see a 2nd round.
In comparison, a matchup without a big favorite will only get 21.3% out in the first. In looking at 10 UFC matchups without big favorites, a little over two (2.1) of them will get that first round knockout or submission.
Is this statistically significant? Yes. A 6.6% difference is enough for me to assign a preference.
Let’s look at one example.
Weili Zhang (-550 favorite) defeated Jessica Aguilar in the first round via armbar.
In this matchup, Zhang had the following advantages:
All these factors and more were embedded into that -550 betting price.
It makes sense with all these perceived advantages that a first round finish would be more likely to occur.
If you had a bunch of advantages over somebody in a sport, would you be more likely to win by dominant fashion?
Below is a GIF of the finishing sequence from Zhang.
The ending sequence between those two, sheds light on what skills are preferable when choosing/betting a fighter to win in the first round. Those skills are:
Pictured above is a graph that ranks each division in the UFC by how often they finish their opponents in the first round.
The women’s featherweight division only has a sample size of 11 fights, so we’ll consider that too low to glean any meaningful data from.
Next on the list is the UFC light heavyweight division.
In the past 98 light heavyweight matchups, 36 of them were stopped within 5 minutes. That is an astonishingly high percentage.
Light Heavyweight 1st round finish percentage is 36.7% and all other divisions combined equal 22.3%.
What is surprising to note here is that the men’s flyweight division is 4th on the list. I expect this to lower as the sample size gets closer to 100.
It’s worth noting that the division with the lowest first round finish % is the women’s bantamweight division.
If this trend continues, questions will arise as to why this division lacks the requisites needed to get a first round stoppage victory.
Above is a chart of how often a certain amount of first round finishes happen per UFC card.
In order to easily understand the meaning of that chart, I’ll give a brief description. For the first row, it is basically saying that out of the past 133 UFC cards, there have been 4 that had zero first round finishes.
Now, when looking at a UFC card, there is usually around 11-13 fights on it. Out of all those fights, most of the time there will be 2 first round finishes.
The takeaway from #5 is that when breaking down a card, assume there will be 2-3 first round finishes.
You can narrow down which two will occur from picking a matchup in the men’s divisions. In considering the data above, it would be wise to pick a light heavyweight matchup to get that first round finish.
In case you are wondering which UFC card had 7 first round finishes in it, the answer is UFC Fight Night 114.
In the past 133 UFC cards, it is the only card that produced 7 first round finishes. I imagine there must have been an unbearable amount of filler commentary and commercials during that fight card.