We suffered a disappointing loss at UFC 224 last weekend and broke even on Live Bets. In the last few days, I have received some criticism from members who were not happy with my bets or performance on that night. This is disappointing because we have recorded a solid profit on prefight bets this year and we’ve been CRUSHING it in Live Betting for the past 4 years.
I don’t ever try to justify losses in these articles because people often interpret this as me making excuses, but with so many people unhappy with what happened I feel like on this occasion I need to explain things from my perspective.
I often say this in the Chat Room and during my Live Betting Commentary, but I’ll repeat it here for anyone that has never seen me say this before…
You cannot predict the outcome of a fight.
No amount of research will help you determine what will happen when the cage door is locked. Two athletes are going into an extreme environment to fight to the death and the only thing protecting them is a referee and some rules. All we can do is try to make the best decisions possible based on all the information we have available to us. It doesn’t matter how much you know about the sport, or how much experience you have, you will always lose bets. You will never make money betting on MMA or investing in anything until you get comfortable with this.
You need to become comfortable losing. You need to learn from losses too, but you also need to understand that how you cope with losing is a big part of making money. To learn more about how you can develop this mindset and use it to make much more money, I highly recommend reading Ray Dalio: Principles of Life and Work. It might be a game changer for you. It certainly was for me.
I also recommend that you watch the podcast below where Phil Hellmuth openly talks about the struggles involved in making a living from Gambling. Phil went on a 2-year losing streak, but he stuck to his gameplan, kept working and bounced back to win more money in Tournament Poker than anyone else in history:
If you study the lives of successful investors, you will find a common trend. None of them complain or dwell on losses. They try and rationalize them, learn from them, and they move on. You will also often find that they are only able to make money because they are comfortable losing. They accept it will happen, and they don’t allow losses to affect their judgment.
Ask yourself if you would have been as frustrated on Saturday night that I didn’t place a single Live Bet if it was in the middle of a busy run of UFC events. I could sense after the long break in UFC schedule that some people were itching to pull the trigger and place some bets. This kind of mindset will result in you losing money long term. You need to shake off that impulsive instinct. Also, ask yourself if you would have been as frustrated if we weren’t going into that event on the back of two consecutive losses. We’ve been crushing Live Betting all year. We have only made a loss on 3 out of the last 18 events in Live Betting! 3 events!!! Going 15-3 in Live Betting this year is an unbelievably good win rate.
UFC 224 was just a bad night for Live Betting because 6 out of the 8 fights that we could Live Bet ended very quickly, and the other two fights were Lineker vs. Keller and Nunes vs. Pennington. Lineker and Nunes established dominance very early on in those matchups, and their odds significantly declined early.
The only opportunity I saw all night was Junior Albini to beat Oleksiy Oleinik. Oleinik was starting to take deep breaths, shoot for panic takedowns and eat big shots off Albini. He was showing all the signs of a fighter who was about to be put into a checkmate situation. He was losing the fight everywhere. He was getting picked apart in the stand-up exchanges, and he wasn’t even coming close to taking Albini down. In a last-ditch attempt to win the fight, Oleinik PULLED MOUNT on an Ezekiel choke attempt. 99 times out of 100 this would be suicide in the UFC. Albini would usually end up mounting him and ground and pounding his way to a TKO win. There is a reason why you never see people pull mount in MMA… It is an incredibly dumb idea with only a very low probability of working. You don’t even see high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners like Demian Maia, Gilbert Burns or Fabricio Werdum pull mount. It’s a high risk, low reward maneuver. Oleinik somehow was able to pull off another Ezekiel choke submission after pulling mount and against all the odds he won the fight. This was one of those freak occurrences in MMA. Luckily we didn’t have time to lock in the bet on Albini. This is one of those occasions where we dodged a bullet and got lucky. Albini was looking like a great Live Bet.
Now I want to talk a bit about the prefight bets. We ended up making a loss of around 3.7 units. The first loss was the over 2.5 rounds bet on Thales Leites vs Jack Hermansson. This bet was doomed very early on when Jack Hermansson broke his rib in round 1. Shortly after that, he blew his knee out when trying to defend a takedown. Under these circumstances, it would have been a miracle if this fight went the distance. In the end, Hermansson put on an incredibly brave performance, and he killed our bet just 20 seconds before it would have cashed. Against all the odds this bet was only 20 seconds away from winning.
In recent weeks we have made a lot of money from these kinds of bets. We hit Iaquinta vs Khabib to go over 2.5 rounds. We also hit Fedor vs Mir to end under 1.5 rounds, and even at UFC 224 we hit Nunes vs. Pennington to last longer than 2.5 rounds. We are 3-1 on these kinds of bets in recent months for a very nice profit overall.
Styles make fights and trust me when I tell you that Leites and Hermansson would have fought to a decision the majority of the time. The injuries to Hermansson early in that fight added an extra level of chaos into the matchup that gave both fighters a sense of urgency. It happens. Nobody could have predicted the fight would have played out like that based on prefight information and we were only 20 seconds away from the bet winning. This is one of those losses that you have to take on the chin and move on. We will continue to make money from these kinds of bets. Please don’t get upset when they lose occasionally.
The second losing bet I would like to talk about is the Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington bet. Out of all the bets, this is perhaps the one that people were most unhappy about. Which to be honest baffles me.
If you read my breakdown for the fight between Pennington and Nunes, you would have known that I said that this would not have been a picnic for Pennington. It was a tough fight. This bet hinged on whether or not Nunes would be able to fight at a high pace for 25 minutes. Historically she has started to slow down significantly in rounds 2 and 3 when a fight has been contested at a high pace, but against Pennington, her cardio looked outstanding.
In the past, it was rare that fighters would be able to improve their cardio, but in recent weeks we’ve seen Rose Namajunas, Kevin Lee and now Amanda Nunes all make giant leaps forward in their conditioning. This is not something that can be predicted based on the prefight information we had available.
To some degree, the fight pretty much played out like I thought it would. I knew that Rocky would be in trouble early, but I also knew that she was tough enough to hang in there, which is why I recommended betting on the over 2.5 rounds. At odds of 7.50 | +650 | 13/2 I was betting on Nunes coming into the fight with the same cardio that she has shown throughout her career, and this would have given Pennington an opportunity to take over in rounds 3, 4 and 5. It never happened. Nunes dominated and looked terrific, but I still believe Pennington was a great bet as a considerable underdog. The bet lost, but you have to roll the dice sometimes when the risk is worth the reward. We lost 1 unit on Pennington, but if Nunes had not have made such a massive improvement to her cardio, we would have had a genuine chance of hitting a 6.5 unit profit. This is an excellent return based on the information that we had going into the fight. You have to get comfortable with losing bets like this because you only need to hit 1 in 6 of them to make a profit. They will lose more often than not, but over the long term, they are profitable.
The final loss was by far the most frustrating. Jacare started the first round against Kelvin Gastelum strong, but then faded hard in rounds 2 and 3. Before I talk about this fight, I would like you to take some time to read the official scoring criteria for the new unified rules of MMA, which the Brazilian Athletic Commission used to score this fight. The official document from the ABC MMA Rules Committee can be downloaded by clicking here.
I am not going to dissect this fight in line with the scoring criteria, or else this article is going to get very, very long, but under the new scoring I believe it’s pretty damn clear that the only way to score round 1 of the fight was 10-8 Jacare. Gastelum didn’t land a punch in round 1 and got completely dominated on the ground. Under the new scoring criteria, that round should have been scored 10-8 for Jacare.
Round 2 was obviously Gastelum’s round. He had Jacare hurt bad, knocked him down, and Jacare was starting to look very tired. Up until the final 60 seconds of the round, I believe this was a 10-8 round for Gastelum, but if you go back and watch this fight, you will see that Jacare caught a second wind and finished the round very strong. He landed 3-4 hard shots on Gastelum in the final minute, which backed Gastelum up and appeared to hurt him pretty bad. You would not have noticed this if watching the fight on a low-quality stream, but in HD Gastelum was hurt by these big shots. I believe that this brought the scoring down from a 10-8 Gastelum round to a 10-9, but I could also see why you would score the round 10-8 for Gastelum under the new scoring.
Either way, heading into the third round this fight was dead even. Or Jacare would have been slightly up if you scored round 2 10-9 for Gastelum. In the third round, Jacare landed the much more meaningful shots. Gastelum applied a ton of pressure and came forward the whole round, but for the most part, he was walking onto Jacare’s power counters. Jacare also got a brief takedown at the end of round 3.
Under the new scoring, aggressiveness and octagon control is only supposed to be scored in a round, when striking and grappling is equal. Therefore under the new scoring, Gastelum’s forward pressure and Octagon control in round 3 should not have counted for anything because Jacare scored a takedown and landed the more significant, meaningful strikes.
Was Jacare tired? Yes. Would he have lost if this was a 5 round fight? Absolutely. But this is a sport, and by the rules, I feel it’s pretty clear that Jacare won.
If Manchester United were beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the Champions League, it wouldn’t matter if many of their players looked tired or if Real Madrid was dominating the whole game, Manchester United would still win the game if the score ended 2-1 after 90 minutes.
MMA is a sport, with clearly defined rules and yes, Jacare was struggling, but it doesn’t change the fact that he won that fight under the new scoring criteria that was used to judge this fight.
MMABoxingJunkie26 shared this really cool breakdown of the fight from the UFC website:
As you can see in that image, Jacare won the fight everywhere.
This was a particularly frustrating loss to digest because Jacare having home advantage was one of the reasons why I decided to bet him. If the fight were taking place anywhere else in the world, I probably would have passed. I knew that Gastelum had the skills to make the fight close in the 2nd half, but I banked on Jacare’s home advantage being enough if the fight went the distance.
Earlier this year we were on the receiving end of Brazilian home judging when we bet 5 units on Tim Means to beat Sergio Moraes. Means won the fight clearly, but the Brazilian judges ended up scoring the fight for Moraes. The judging decision was so bad that the UFC decided to pay Tim Means his win bonus, even though on paper he “lost.”
Our big loss on Tim Means made the loss on Jacare particularly difficult to digest. I felt that Tim Means and Jacare both won their fights, but we were on the wrong side of the judging in both of them. In these situations, people often say that long-term these things balance out, but in my 8-year betting career, I can assure you that for me, they haven’t. Not even close. These two losing bets amount to a -11 unit loss. This is huge. These two losses have cost me thousands of pounds, and they have probably prevented Jacare from ever getting a title shot in the UFC.
I’m sorry that I have had a whinge and a moan here, but I received some pretty hurtful emails earlier this week which told me that “I sucked” and that I am an idiot. This is difficult to digest when I feel like we made good bets, but got unlucky.
We have made a decent profit in prefight betting this year and a huge profit in Live Betting. We will continue to make money, but there will also be weeks where we will get destroyed and make losses. Sometimes those losses will be close and contentious like I feel they were for UFC 224 and on other weeks we will straight up get wrecked, and I’ll look like a clueless idiot. That’s why they call this gambling. No one can predict what will happen in these fights. All we can do is put our money in strong positions and hope for the best. I promise you, that win or lose; we always put our money in strong positions based on the information we have available to us. Sometimes it’s not enough, and we will lose, but if you hang in there, I promise that we’ll make money long term. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m not a Hobo yet…
As we get closer to the start of UFC Fight Night 129 we are all itching to get back in the win column and bank a profit, but again we need to be patient and go into this event with the same, calm and calculated mindset that has helped us earn so much money over the last few years. If it turns out to be another crappy event and we make a loss, then so be it, it happens. This is how bookies end up making so much money. They rely on people losing their minds and their composure and acting impulsively and losing all their cash. That is not the game we play. We will continue to crush them long term, but we need to be smart, and we need to be patient.
I am ready to lay the smackdown on the betting website’s candy asses this weekend. But at the same time, I won’t try to force opportunities. We will continue to make big money this year, but in the meantime, we need to relax, trust the process, trust the strategy and wait for the opportunities to come to us.
Please leave a comment below and let me know how you feel about what I’ve said. Good luck, I love you guys!!!