Why You Should Pay Attention to the Location When Betting MMA Fights

by Henry Jablonski
on January 27, 2018

Location! Location! Location! You’ve probably heard that phrase before, but you might not have heard it in regards to betting on mixed martial arts (MMA). When new or casual bettors look at a fight card and see the location, they usually don’t think much of it.

Sure, sometimes they might think it’s a cool place for a fight, but they forget that the location can have significant implications on their betting picks… or at least, it should.

As someone who has been successfully betting on MMA for years, I always make sure to include the fight location in my strategy. Oh, and just to clarify, when I say successfully betting, I don’t just mean I successfully made bets; I mean I’m actually a long-term winner.

I’m not saying that to toot my own horn, but just so you know why you should keep reading and listen to what I have to say.

In this post I want to talk about why the location of an MMA fight is important and how you should be utilizing that information when you’re making your betting picks.

Altitude

Have you ever tried to work out or run in a city that’s significantly higher above sea level than where you currently live? If you haven’t, I’ll clue you in on how it is. It is significantly more challenging to do anything cardio-related at a higher altitude.

Why? There is less oxygen at higher elevations, which can make it harder for your body to get the necessary air it needs to replenish your muscles.

Think about how this would affect a fighter. MMA Junkie wrote a great article where they interviewed Ben Rothwell and Tecia Torres about dealing with the altitude in Mexico City.

Both fighters said it was an indescribable feeling that hit them with a wall of fatigue. They talked about how it affected cuts, loss of blood, and their overall energy levels throughout the fights.

This is something that your body has to get used to if you’re going to be able to perform at the level that you need to. But it seems to take longer to acclimate than originally thought.

Tecia Torres said she arrived in Mexico City two weeks prior to her fight to acclimate, and it still didn’t help. Nowadays, some fighters are moving their entire fight camps to higher elevations or to the fight location if they have an upcoming bout somewhere like Mexico City or Denver where the air is thin.

How should this be affecting your betting? If you know anything about MMA, you know that cardio is king. If you can’t make it through all three or five rounds, you’re going to struggle, and you might not make it thanks to an opponent who still has gas in the tank.

If there is a high-altitude fight coming up, take a look at the fighters in the fight and see where they train.

  • Did they make arrangements to get acclimated?
  • Did they move their training camp somewhere with a similar elevation and air quality?
  • Did they move their camp to the fight location?
  • Are they just planning on arriving early, or are they doing nothing to take the air into account?

When you hear big names like Ben Rothwell talking about how big of a deal this is, you know it’s something that needs attention. Be wary of betting on fighters who haven’t properly made adjustments for the higher elevation fights.

Be extra wary of betting fighters that already have cardio issues. They may gas in the fight before you even have a chance to blink. There’s no worse feeling when betting than when you see your guy or gal giving up because there is no more energy in the tank.

Travel and Fatigue

If you’ve ever traveled across the country or around the world, you know that jet lag and fatigue are two nasty things that will hit you hard out of nowhere. Fighters are not immune to this.

Something I really like to look at is how far a fighter has to travel for a fight and how soon before the fight they are planning on doing it.

If they are planning on making a long trip just a few days before a fight, I am hesitant. If they aren’t giving their bodies and their sleep schedules time to adjust, they may have some issues getting proper rest before a fight. I know I struggle going for a run after bad sleep.

I can only imagine what a full-on MMA fight against a professional is like with limited sleep.

While this shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your betting strategy, it is something that is important to consider especially in fights that are close.

You should be able to check the news and know when certain fighters arrived or are planning to arrive in a city for a fight. The more time they give themselves to acclimate, the better. The shorter the distance is that they have to travel, the better.

Fan Support

Out of all of the reasons we looked at in this post that location is important, this is probably the least important as a whole, but is more fighter dependent.

If a fighter is going to compete against another fighter in their hometown or home country, they should expect a pretty negative reception. They can expect boos, no support, and everyone there rooting them on to lose.

MMA Fans

While any MMA fighter you ask will tell you that this doesn’t affect them, that’s probably not the case. Having everyone dislike you and boo you can make it hard for you to perform at the best of your ability.

Yes, there are some rare cases where fighters are driven and motivated by this hatred, but I assume that it is fewer fighters than claim it’s the case.

Think about an American fighter going into Brazil to fight a Brazilian. I mean, I know friends that went to fight in places like Mexico who had batteries and drinks thrown at them as they made their walk into the cage.

If you don’t think this affects your psychology at least a little bit, I think you’re crazy.

On the flip side, if you’re fighting in your hometown, you’re going to have a lot of support from friends, family, and fans the whole way.

Is this a good thing? Yes, and sometimes a little no.

Yes, it’s great to have support and know that you have everyone behind you. The trouble, though, is that sometimes this can add a lot of pressure.

I personally remember competing in a jiu-jitsu competition once where I was completely away from all of my friends and family. It wasn’t great not having much of a support system, but I felt so much less pressure to perform.

This helped to keep my adrenaline down and I had much less of an adrenaline dump when the first match started. Yes, I know this is not an MMA fight, but I think the principle is the same.

The Wrap-Up

As you can see, fight location plays a big role in the mental and physical games of fighters. A lot of these issues can be addressed by taking precautions and making adjustments, but not all fighters do this.

Sometimes it’s not feasible due to budget or lifestyle constraints. Whether a fighter makes the adjustments or not is completely up to them. You have no control over that.

What you do have control over is how you choose to bet based on what they choose to do.

If a fighter is making the right adjustments to account for the fight location and their opponent is not, you may be looking at a nice opportunity to make a good value bet.

Again, don’t make the fight location the cornerstone of your betting strategy, but it definitely needs to be a factor that you do weigh especially on fights that are far away or at higher elevations.

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