Posted by on February 12, 2019

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Who was the most profitable UFC fighter to have bet on in 2017? This blog article is written to answer that question.

It is important to know this in order to reverse engineer how they were able to obtain their profitable success. Considering that their accomplishments might have been a fluke, it’s best to get a sample size larger than one fighter.

Below is a list of the top 10 most profitable UFC fighters to have bet on in 2017. The list will start from ten and will descend in order until number one is revealed.

Before this list gets announced, it is important to mention how the profitability of each UFC fighter was calculated. The multiplier next to each fighter’s name is how much of a return a bettor would have gotten from betting on all of that fighter’s 2017 matchups.

The best way to explain this profitability calculation is with an example. If a bettor had an average wager amount of $100 on each of Clay Guida’s fights in 2017, they would have received $370 in profit, which is a 3.70x multiplier. If it were $1,000, that lucky individual would have garnered $3,700. The numbers that were used to get that 3.70x are written further down in this article.

Directly below are some further details about the calculations:

  • Only straight wagers were considered
  • Only 5Dimes closing odds were considered
  • Only 2017 data was considered


If you don’t have a betting account, I highly recommend, and personally use 5Dimes.

Now, let’s dig in to the meat and potatoes of this article.

10. Clay Guida

Who did Clay Guida fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

Clay Guida opened 2017 with a big win over Erik Koch. He closed as a +290 underdog in that fight. Later on in the year, Guida defeated Joe Lauzon after closing as a slight favorite (-125).

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*2.90 = +$290.00

$100.00/1.25 = +$80.00

Profit = $290.00 + $80.00 = $370.00

Multiplier = $370.00/$100.00 = 3.70x

What fighting characteristics made Clay Guida so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Cardio – this aspect must be favored in all UFC betting endeavors. Clay Guida has yet to show any signs of being fatigued while competing in the UFC octagon.

Wrestling – Guida is number 5 on the all time list of most takedowns landed in UFC history (as of 2/19/2019). He currently has recorded 63 takedowns, according to Fightmetric.

9. John Moraga

Who did John Moraga fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

Moraga faced a stiff test to begin the year when he fought a surging prospect named Sergio Pettis. He rebounded five months later when he defeated Mokhtarian as a -210 favorite. After finally snapping a three fight losing streak, he kept that momentum going into his showdown against Bibulatov. Moraga closed as a +425 underdog. He quickly reminded bettors that a former title challenger should never be that big of an underdog against a fighter making his second octagon appearance.

Average wager amount = $100.00

Loss -$100.00

$100.00/2.10 = +$47.62

$100.00*4.25 = +$425.00

Profit = -$100.00 + $47.62 + $425.00 = $372.62

Multiplier = $372.62/$100.00 = 3.73x

8. David Teymur

Who did David Teymur fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

David Teymur overcame the odds when he defeated Lando Vannata in March of 2017. He won by unanimous decision as a +300 underdog. He returned eight months later versus Drakkar Klose and won a lackluster decision that really confused fans due to the inactivity and awkwardness. David Teymur won as a -130 favorite in that contest.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*3.00 = +$300.00

$100.00/1.30 = +$76.92

Profit = $300.00 + $76.92 = $376.92

Multiplier = $376.92/$100.00 = 3.77x

What fighting characteristics made David Teymur so profitable to bet on in 2017?

A perfectly detailed account of David Teymur’s successful MMA attributes can be found here. I’ll use an excerpt from that article to reiterate some of the key fighting characteristics that are utilized in Teymur’s skill set.

“When assessing the combative profile of David Teymur, his power-kicking game and timely counters stand out immediately. What makes Teymur special, however, is his flair for theatrics and ability to work a crowd. Observe the extra “oomph” on his sweeps, the tap on his chin, that cheeky wink for the fans. David Teymur was born to dazzle an audience.”

7. Mark Godbeer

Who did Mark Godbeer fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

Mark Godbeer had a fortuitous 2017. For his first assignment he drew a UFC debutant (Daniel Spitz) coming in on only nine days notice. The lack of notice ended up playing a big factor in the outcome of that match.

As a rule of thumb, a bettor should devalue the cardio of a heavyweight coming in on short notice when handicapping a fight. Due to the lack of time to prepare, Spitz was completely gassed midway through the second round.

After Godbeer won that fight as a -145 favorite, he was set to square off against Walt Harris. Godbeer caught a huge break in that fight. He was getting dominated until Walt Harris landed a series of illegal blows. First was the groin strike and then a head kick, after the referee called for a halt in the action. These transgressions resulted in a disqualification loss for Harris, and a win for Godbeer. He technically won as a +310 underdog.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00/1.45 = +$68.97

$100.00*3.10 = +$310.00

Profit = $68.97 + $310.00 = $378.97

Multiplier = $378.97/$100.00 = 3.79x

6. Yancy Medeiros

Who did Yancy Medeiros fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

Yancy didn’t get scheduled for a fight until June, but he made sure to start his Summer on a high note. He fought a post-USADA Erik Silva. He knocked out Silva in the second round. Although that was impressive, what got him on this list was the fact that he defeated Alex Oliveira as a +320 underdog. If you haven’t seen that fight, I highly recommend every MMA fan to go watch it.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00/1.40 = +$71.43

$100.00*3.20 = +$320.00

Profit = $71.43 + $320.00 = $391.43

Multiplier = $391.43/$100.00 = 3.91x

What fighting characteristics made Yancy Medeiros so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Ability to weather a storm – Yancy Medeiros was able to survive an early onslaught from Oliveira. After getting knocked down twice and wobbled for seemingly half the first round, Yancy overcame that adversity and challenged Oliveira to a will power contest.

Oliveira had his own adversity to overcome. His nose was broken after the first round. When it came to the third round, which is the quintessential “who wants it more” round, either Oliveira’s cardio threshold or his pain threshold got surpassed. This manifested into Oliveira backing up to the fence in a defensive/wounded posture. Oliveira quickly got into a defensive shell and allowed Yancy to freely throw strikes on him. After a few uncontested blows, Oliveira fell over and the referee swiftly intervened.

5. Kajan Johnson

Who did Kajan Johnson fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

It only took one fight for Kajan Johnson to propel himself on to this list. He only fought Adriano Martins in 2017. Johnson closed as a +450 underdog in that one. He won by landing a beautiful palm strike to the temple, which knocked out Martins cold.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*4.50 = +$450.00

Profit = $450.00

Multiplier = $450.00/$100.00 = 4.50x

What fighting characteristics made Kajan Johnson so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Movement and footwork – Kajan Johnson is one of the best at using his movement and footwork to avoid physical threats. It’s difficult to cut-off the octagon and corner him. He constantly finds a way to slip away from danger. This was a huge component in his victory over Martins. He frustrated the brawler with his lack of engagement.

4. Felice Herrig

Who did Felice Herrig fight in 2017, and how profitable was she?

Felice Herrig had a remarkable turnaround after losing her debut against VanZant in 2015. After that loss, she rattled off four consecutive wins. In 2017, Herrig beat Grasso as a +315 underdog. After getting disrespected by the oddsmakers once again, she defeated Justine Kish at +140 odds. Not only did she get the decision victory, but she also caused Kish to shit herself.

The momentum didn’t slow down after those two successive victories. Herrig capped off the year with a third consecutive win. This time she finally closed as a slight favorite against Cortney Casey (-115). All three of her 2017 wins came via decision.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*3.15 = +$315.00

$100.00*1.40 = +$140.00

$100.00/1.15 = +$86.96

Profit = $315.00 + $140.00 + $86.96 = $541.96

Multiplier = $541.96 /$100.00 = 5.42x

What fighting characteristics made Felice Herrig so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Herrig’s successful 2017 is explained very well in this ESPN article.

Herrig battled health issues that resulted from malnutrition. According to that ESPN article, when Herrig got tested for various health factors “the results arrived a month later and revealed a human body operating at about 25 percent to 30 percent of its capacity. With unbalanced levels of cortisol and DHEA hormones taxing her nervous system, and with parasites wreaking havoc on her digestive tract, Herrig was a physical and mental disaster.”

Herrig’s improvements came after employing the services of Dr. Callum Cowan of Phenom High Performance Medicine in Ontario. He made adjustments to her nutritional intake and supplementation. These changes helped improve all of her fighting characteristics.

3. Rose Namajunas

Who did Rose Namajunas fight in 2017, and how profitable was she?

Rose Namajunas had a 2017 to remember. She won both of her fights, captured the UFC strawweight championship belt, got the first knockout victory in her career, and was awarded the MMA Fighter of the Year by ESPN.

If any bettors had the foresight to predict this monumental year from her, they collected a tremendous ROI.

First, Namajunas submitted Waterson in dominating fashion. She closed at +110 odds. Her second act is what really shocked the world. This, of course, was her stunning knockout win over the long reigning champion Jędrzejczyk. Namajunas was a +500 in that contest. That’s a number that signifies that she only had a 16.7% chance of winning. She overcame those odds like a dramatic movie script.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*1.10 = +$110.00

$100.00*5.00 = +$500.00

Profit = $110.00 + $500.00 = $610.00

Multiplier = $610.00/$100.00 = 6.10x

What fighting characteristics made Rose Namajunas so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Striking range management – Namajunas has a unique ability to glide in and out of kickboxing range. She covers so much distance when she bounces around the octagon. This skill opened up the opportunity to land the right high kick against Waterson and that left hook against Jędrzejczyk. Both of those strikes knocked down her opponents, and both were thrown while Namajunas was jumping into range.

2. Darren Elkins

Who did Darren Elkins fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

Elkins has the most underdog victories in the history of the UFC with 9, as shown in the picture below. So, it’s no surprise that Elkins would end up on this list, but what he did to earn this spot was truly extraordinary. He defeated Bektic as a +525 lamb sent to the slaughter.

Darren Elkins record for most underdog victories in the UFC

Although it’s impressive to win despite those odds, the way he won was a sight to behold. I have personally never seen a comeback victory like that. He won after getting absolutely dominated for 10+ minutes. The first two rounds were clear 10-8 rounds for Bektic. Elkin’s corner could have thrown in the towel and that decision wouldn’t have been heavily criticized.

After receiving the 2017 Comeback Victory of the Year by MMAJunkie, Elkins followed it up with another victory at UFC on Fox 25.  He was considered to be the inferior wrestler to Dennis Bermudez. That logic failed the reality test as Elkins won as a +175 underdog for that event.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*5.25 = +$525.00

$100.00*1.75 = +$175.00

Profit = $525.00 + $175.00 = $700.00Multiplier = $700.00/$100.00 = 7.00x

What fighting characteristics made Darren Elkins so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Damage threshold – to use a video game analogy, if Elkins was a Mortal Kombat character, the health meter would be longer than any other player. He never loses his will to win, regardless of how much damage he absorbs.

Capitalizes on adversarial fatigue – a fighter can’t slow down against Elkins, if they expect to win. This happened against Michael Johnson, Diego Brandao, Mirsad Bektic, and many others. When a competitor is sucking wind, Elkins will find a way to get a takedown.

After getting a fighter to the canvas, he refuses to give up top control. In top control, he will smother his opposition. He’ll constantly throw short punches, scrape his elbow across their face, squeeze their neck, pummel his knuckles into their ribs, disrupt their breathing, use the crossface technique to breakdown their posture, land sharp elbows, connect with hammer fists, and continually advance his position. Elkins will continue this until the fight over. If the fight were 2 days long, Elkins would keep smothering his opponent for two days.

1. Volkan Oezdemir

Who did Volkan Oezdemir fight in 2017, and how profitable was he?

Volkan Oezdemir is the only UFC fighter on this list that made his debut in 2017. He wasted no time to climb up the light heavyweight rankings, too. His ascent started with a short notice call to enter the octagon with Ovince Saint Preux. He narrowly won that fight in a slugfest that depleted the energy systems of both competitors.

Oezdemir showcased his thunderous power in his next two bouts. All it took was a jab to dismantle the streaking Cirkunov and a tight hook inside the clinch to wobble and subsequently finish Manuwa.

Oezdemir was expected to lose in all of these matches. His odds were +335 vs Saint Preux, +375 vs Cirkunov, and a modest +155 vs Manuwa. With that resume, Oezdemir defied the odds more than any other UFC fighter in 2017.

Average wager amount = $100.00

$100.00*3.35 = +$335.00

$100.00*3.75 = +$375.00

$100.00*1.55 = +$155.00

Profit = $335.00 + $375.00 + $155.00 = $865.00Multiplier = $700.00/$100.00 = 8.65x

What fighting characteristics made Volkan Oezdemir so profitable to bet on in 2017?

Knockout power – When a fighter knocks out two top 15 light heavyweights back-to-back, his power needs to be taken seriously when assessing his skills. Not to mention, it only took him just over a minute to do it.

Not only has he demonstrated knockout power in those two fights, he also obliterated three opponents in one night at the WKN Valhalla: Battle of Kings tournament. If that’s not convincing enough, 11 out of his 15 wins have come by way of  KO or TKO.