The big day is just about here. Sports betting legalization takes effect in Ohio as of 12:01 AM on January 1st, 2023. UFC fans in the Buckeye State aged 21 and over can sign up now and then start placing wagers on New Year’s Day.

Right off the bat, bettors will have a huge array of options of where to take their business. 16 online sportsbooks will start taking wagers in Ohio, as will 12 retail sportsbooks located primarily at casinos, racinos and sporting venues. If that is not enough, there are even more options as hundreds of betting kiosks will open in the state in bars, restaurants and anywhere Ohio Lottery tickets are sold.

With all this competition ahead of a massive rollout, Ohio sportsbooks are advertising generous promos to attract business. Many have first bet free bet insurance offers. Just sign up, deposit and place a bet. If the bet wins, just cash the proceeds. If the bet loses, the sportsbook gives you risk free bets up to the amount of the first bet. There are always maximums, usually in the $1000 range. 

Books alternatively offer lower dollar value free bets with fewer strings. Deposit a small amount, usually $10 or $20, place a bet of just $1 or more and the book credits your account with $200 in free bets. Both of these promo offers may include specific timeframes within which free bets must be used, In addition there are often rollover requirements before the money is eligible for withdrawal.

UFC fans and new bettors in Ohio have much to look forward to in early 2023. Next up is UFC Fight Night 217 on January 14th at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card has 11 matches scheduled as of now, headlined by the Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nassourdine Imavov middleweight match. There is also UFC 283 in Rio on January 21st, which features a light heavyweight title bout between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill and a flyweight title match pitting current champion Deiveson Figueiredo against Brandon Moreno. February sees UFC 284 in Perth, Australia where Islam Makhachev tries to defend his lightweight title against current featherweight title holder Alexander Volkanovski.

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There are many ways for Ohioans to wager on UFC matches.


These are the most popular UFC bets. Just pick the winner of the bout. In UFC 217, Fanduel has Imavov at -205 vs +172 on Gastelum. Imavov bettors need to risk $205 to win $100 while Gasteum players win $172 on a $100 bet. Draws are uncommon in UFC, but if they happen, the wager voids and bettors get their stakes back.

Money lines are already up for Teixeira (+112) vs Hill (-132), Figueiredo (-118) vs Moreno (+100) and Makhachev (-310) vs Volkanovski (+250)

Total Rounds

These show up much closer to fight night unless it’s a hugely anticipated match. It is an over/under wager on the length of the bout. UFC matches are generally scheduled for three rounds of five minutes each. Total Rounds bets at sportsbooks usually default to over/under 2.5 rounds with the price on either side acting as the main variable. DraftKings already has this up for the Makhachev vs Volkanovski fight.

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Over 2.5 -125, Under 2.5 -105

The half-round is the exact midpoint of the round in question. In this example, if the bout goes past the 2:30 mark of Round 3, the over bet wins, if the bout ends before that, the under 2.5 will cash. If a fight ends between rounds, it is deemed to have finished at the end of the last round completed for betting purposes. 

Round Betting

The sportsbooks will hang combined odds on both when the fight ended, and who won the fight. These will post much closer to fight night, but a Round Betting screen might look something like this in the Imamov-Gastelum fight

  • Gastelum to win in Round 1 +1100
  • Gastelum to win in Round 2 +1400
  • Gastelum to win in Round 3 +2100
  • Imavov to win in Round 1 +475
  • Imavov to win in Round 2 +750
  • Imavov to win in Round 3 +1250

If a fight ends between rounds, it is deemed to have finished at the end of the last round completed for betting purposes. Thus if Gastelum withdraws during the break between rounds 2 and 3, the “Imavov to win in Round 2” bet would win.

Method of Victory

These are bets on how the fight ended, usually combined with who won. It is just like round betting, except with the method of victory subbed in. Again, a hypothetical Method of Victory board Gastelum vs Imavov

  • Gastelum by Knockout(KO)/Technical Knockout (TKO) +500
  • Gastelum by Submission +2500
  • Gastelum by Points +350
  • Draw +6600
  • Imavov by KO/TKO +680
  • Imavov by Submission +300
  • Imavov by Points +210
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Books might also post odds that combine pairs of these possible endings, something like “Imavov to win by Submission or Points” at -125. 


Some books list futures on who will hold the various UFC titles on December 31st, 2023. Draftkings has them up on virtually every men’s and women’s weight class in UFC, including this one on the UFC Mens Lightweight title holder

  • Makhachev -200
  • Volkanovski +330
  • Charles Oliveira +650
  • Beneil Dariush +750
  • Dustin Poirier +900
  • Justin Gaethje +2000
  • Arman Tsarukyan +2500
  • Rafael Fiziev +4000
  • Mateusz Gamrot +5000
  • Jalin Turner +5000
  • Ilia Topuria +5000
  • Conor McGregor +5000

Many others list at above +5000, so if there is a sleeper in there who figures to get a title shot before the year is out, there is a way to wager on it. It is modestly interesting that Makhachev is priced to have a better chance to win his fight vs Volkanovski than he is to hold the title all year, while the reverse is true for Volkanovski. 


As in other sports, books do not list identical props to each other nor do they price similar ones exactly the same. Common props on UFC are on how the fight will end, when it will end, round and method combos and other bets of that sort. Expect late listings on props and relatively low limits. 

2023 sets up as a great year for UFC fans as it will be filled with great cards as always. Ohio residents will have extra reason to celebrate as they can start placing wagers on UFC in the very near future.

A martial artist and former coach for two decades from Houston, Texas. Specializing in the disciplines of kickboxing, karate, MMA, and Jiu Jitsu.