Most UFC fighters don’t face a whole lot of stress before their weigh-in. They may need to trim a little weight, but they essentially fight in a weight class that they live in. However, for some fighters, the challenge is much more severe. Whether they are dropping to a lower weight class or they regularly fight at a weight class that is aggressively low for them, they face the challenge of losing a weight in a short time to qualify for their fight. Weight drops of as much as 15 pounds or more aren’t heard of. These massive weight drops can have a big impact on fights, so astute bettors need to pay close attention to their impact. Here are five factors to consider when a fighter has to shed a lot of pounds:
Have they done it before? – There is a serious physical toll paid when a fighter loses a lot of weight quickly. They are almost certainly dehydrating themselves to do so, and they are doing that right before a fight. If they don’t know what to expect, and how to reverse the effects quickly after weighing in, then they could really be handicapped heading into their fight. A fighter that has had to drop weight before will know much better what to do and how it will impact them. As significantly, as handicappers we will know how to respond to the situation. When a fighter isn’t experienced with weight drops then handicappers are forced to make a guess – an educated one, but still a guess – about how they will respond. I don’t know about you, but I hate guessing when it comes to betting, so I like to avoid it as much as possible.
Have they fought at this weight before? – If they are dropping into a weight class for the first time then you not only need to look at the impact of the weight drop, but also how they fit into their new class. Do they have an advantage in reach because they are taller than most of their potential opponents? Do they have a style of fighting that is better suited to a lower weight class – a faster, less strength driven style, for example? If a fighter is particularly well suited to fighting at a lower weight class then the impacts of the dropped weight could be overcome by the added advantage of the new weight class.
What’s their weight by fight day? – You can’t always find out what a guy is weighing in at on fight day, but it often becomes a story – especially if he is able to gain his weight back quickly. If a fighter is able to gain back much of his weight then the impact of the drop will be reasonably minimized. He’ll have gained back much of his water weight and minimized the lasting effects. It would likely be unnecessary to panic in a case like this. If the fighter loses weight quickly and keeps it off, though, then his fate is more uncertain.
Do they need to be at their very best? – When a fighter has to drop weight he will unavoidably be less than his best. Dropping weight requires steps that are contrary to the best approaches of training and preparing in the final days before a fight. If the fighter was going to have his hands full with the opponent in even an ideal circumstance, then the impact of the dropped weight could be a particular concern. If the fighter had a clear advantage over his opponent, though, the handicap of the lost weight may not be enough to minimize their advantage.
Is it a big public story? – The biggest impact any sports bettor has to consider in any betting circumstance is how the public will respond and what effect that will have on how the lines are set and how they move. If you ignore the public then you can find yourself betting in situations where there isn’t value. It is crucial in these cases, then, to make sure to evaluate how heavily covered the situation is, and how strongly the public will factor it into their decision making. For example, if the fighter making the big drop is the underdog in the main event the impact from a betting perspective would be more significant than if it was a fighter much further down the fight card.