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UFC: A young and growing sport
In 1993 Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organisers were pleased to agree the backing of a pay per view television network for their first event – UFC 1. What viewers saw that night was an unrefined, primitive version of the slick operation we enjoy on our screens today, but the excitement was certainly there!
True to the UFC’s mixed martial arts format, UFC 1 used the concept of jiu-jitsu practitioners fighting boxers and karate experts going up against wrestlers – a real mixed bunch to determine which style was most effective. One name which springs out from that original eight-man tournament, held in Colorado, is Ken Shamrock, who later went on to become a massive star in both the UFC and the theatrical wrestling series, World Wrestling Entertainment, also known as the WWE.
Perhaps a sign of things to come was the spectacular head kick unleashed by Gerard Gordeau to beat sumo wrestler Teila Tuli inside 30 seconds in the first round. This was the UFC baby announcing its arrival in the world.
Over the next 20 years UFC had its ups and downs as with any young organisation, reforming its fighting rules to include several basic safety measures, after initially being billed as a ‘no holds barred’ competition. It was when The Ultimate Fighter reality series was launched in 2005 that the UFC began its march to the mainstream. The programme followed ambitious young fighters in their battle to reach the top, and captured the imagination of a nation.
Pay per view is the pinnacle
The UFC’s ‘numbered’ events are the showpieces of the sport, and are usually broadcast on pay per view television in the United States, as well as on a number of subscription networks around the world. A huge amount of promotion across a range of media is done in the build up to these pay per view events and needless to say, there are many sports fans keen on placing UFC bets on the outcome of the fights on the card.
Sometimes the preliminary fights on each card can be watched for free on internet platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, allowing fans to whet their appetite ahead of the main event. It is also possible to bet UFC style on these fights, with players picking the outright winner of each contest. For the main event of each card, variations may be available from some of our providers, such as the method of victory, the round of victory and ‘double chance’, whereby the player chooses two possible outcomes of the fight for a fixed price.
There have been many notable UFC numbered events over the years, and stand outs include UFC 31 in 2001, which featured the debut of the future multi division champion BJ Penn. Penn, a jiu-jitsu expert who went on to become a huge name in the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions, exploded on to the scene with a TKO victory over Joey Gilbert at the event in Atlantic City. UFC 31 also saw a decision victory for heavyweight champion Randy Couture over Pedro Rizzo, but is perhaps best remembered for a spectacular spinning back fist finish by Shonie Carter on Matt Serra in their welterweight clash.
UFC 100 will be remembered not only as a landmark in the sport’s history, but also as a hugely successful TV event, attracting a record 1.6 million pay per view buys in the US. Dan Henderson delivered a knockout against the UK’s Michael Bisping in the middleweight contest on the card, ending the in-form Bisping’s unbeaten run in the division. In the co-main event Georges St-Pierre successfully defended his welterweight title against the highly regarded Thiago Alves, while in the star studded heavyweight showpiece, champion Brock Lesnar put away interim titleist Frank Mir with a TKO in the 2nd round.
Following shortly afterwards, UFC 101 at the Wachova Center in Philadelphia carried on the momentum, with super star BJ Penn keeping hold of his welterweight crown with an impressive submission victory over Kenny Florian. Florian made a valiant attempt to pin Penn against the fence, only to be mounted in the 4th round on his way to a devastating defeat. The event also marked the second foray of Brazilian middleweight king Anderson Silva into the light heavyweight division.
Then there was UFC 157, another important step in the sport’s journey into the mainstream. It featured the first women’s fight in the history of the UFC, as pin-up star Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche with her favourite arm bar submission move. Rousey went on to become a household name in the US, and one of the most recognisable female sports stars in the world.
Most fans that enjoy online UFC betting will remember UFC 194, but few will have predicted the astonishing 13 second knockout that interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor caught full champion Jose Aldo with to take his title! The event, held at the glamourous MGM Grand, smashed the UFC’s gate record, as Irish fans poured over the Atlantic to see their idol McGregor fight in Las Vegas, turning the party capital of the US green, white and orange for the night!
There have never been more opportunities to bet on UFC, and while there are a range of different events on various networks, the pay per view offerings the company has excelled in producing will continue to be the flagship occasions of the sport.
The Conor McGregor phenomenon
On Saturday 6th April 2013, Conor McGregor stepped into a UFC ring for the first time. McGregor was no rookie to mixed martial arts, having already become a two-weight world champion in the Cage Warriors, a rival promotion to the UFC. But the young Irishman still had much to prove, both to UFC fans, and to himself.
His brash claims of “cleaning up” the featherweight division were taken with a pinch of salt, and early on in his UFC career McGregor was branded as a trash talker who hadn’t been given the opportunity to back up his bold predictions. But over the next three years he would not only silence the doubters, but singlehandedly take the sport to another level on the back of his exciting fighting style, superb all round skills, and of course the engaging public speaking ability that can crush an opponent mentally before they even step inside the octagon.
His opening 1st round TKO over Marcus Brimage won him ‘Knockout of the Night’ award, and was followed by a unanimous points victory over Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston, home to a large community of McGregor-supporting Irishmen. At this point, McGregor could have easily seen his UFC career derailed as he tore an anterior cruciate ligament during the fight. After isolating himself in a rehabilitation period spent in the US, McGregor was able to rebound from the injury, but wouldn’t fight again until summer 2014.
At UFC Fight Night 46 he headlined in his home town of Dublin against Diego Brandao, and a convincing first round TKO began to make fans believe that McGregor might be able to back up his motor mouth. Less than three months later McGregor handed respected featherweight contender Dustin Poirer his first ever knockout defeat after tormenting him in a war of words leading up the fight. Betting UFC fans only had to wait until January before they had the chance to back McGregor again, as he added another scalp with a second round TKO of Denis Siver in ‘The Notorious One’s’ second home of Boston.
McGregor had now earned himself the title shot he has targeted all along, against long reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo. But McGregor was forced to wait when Aldo pulled out of the fight with an injury, so he faced Chad Mendes instead in July 2015 at UFC 189, winning the interim title in a blood soaked, hard fought victory that required him to get up off the canvas twice against the experienced ground technician Mendes.
Sports fans from all over the world were now switching on to McGregor thanks to his colourful image and seemingly unbreakable spirit in the octagon. As a result UFC benefited from a wave of popularity, with fans keen to see McGregor compete in the sport for themselves.
But McGregor still had to achieve his goal and defeat the favourite Aldo, who came back from injury to face McGregor at the now legendary UFC 194. McGregor had made his usual prediction of a 1st round knockout, even proclaiming he would knock Aldo out with his first punch. All but a few pundits dismissed this assertion as any more than the usual McGregor braggadocio, as McGregor surpassed even his own levels of pre-fight gamesmanship by grabbing the belt from Aldo during one press conference, and taunting him in his opponent’s native Portuguese in another.
But everything McGregor said he would do, he delivered. Sure enough, when fight night came in Las Vegas, a nervous looking Aldo lurched across the ring in an effort to catch McGregor early, but the Irishman simply moved back to make Aldo miss, before executing a perfect left hook which caught the Brazilian flush on the chin, sending him to the canvas. Some fearsome ‘hammer fists’ followed to finish the job, which took McGregor a record 13 seconds from start to finish. Cue bedlam in Las Vegas as McGregor’s army of Irish fans celebrated long into the night.
The best of the rest
UFC betting UK fans have many opportunities to back fighters in non pay per view events. UFC Fight Nights have become large events in their own right in recent years, packing out arenas on both sides of the pond. They are televised spectaculars, and are the first UFC events to have appeared on free to air TV.
The finale of the Ultimate Fighter reality TV series is also an eagerly anticipated event, which unlike the rest of the matches in the series, is played out in front of a live audience. One of the most memorable was the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter series between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, who produced a three round battle that earned both fighters the respect of the MMA world. Although Griffin got the decision and the prize of a UFC contract, Bonnar was also handed a deal by the UFC, such was the admiration he commanded as a result of the fight.
Regular bonuses and promotions
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Many promotions that are part of our range offer a ‘free bet’ for first time players. This is a welcome gift for those using a particular platform for the first time, and works by the sport betting provider offering a certain percentage of an initial deposit. For example, on a 75% offer, a new player starting with a £200 deposit would enjoy a £150 bonus on top of their own stake.
UFC is one of the most exciting sports in the world today, and ahead of every major event you can rest assured BestDealCasinos.co.uk will offer a range of competitive odds from the leading betting companies in the UK, leaving you to pick out the best prices, bonuses and promotions, before kicking back to watch the fights.