Ontario Restores Sports Betting on UFC Ahead of Saturday Night Matches

The sportsbooks aren’t sure what to make of the biggest attractions that UFC 283 has to offer on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They’re still figuring out the best lines to offer. But Ontario sports bettors will be happy to know that officials have restored UFC betting in their province.

Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill pose ahead of their UFC 283 fight
Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill pose ahead of their UFC 283 fight
Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill pose ahead of their UFC 283 fight. Controversy over fighters making sports bets is bringing changes to the sport, but Ontario will lift a ban it implemented last month. (Image: Wander Roberto/UFC)

Ontario shut off sports betting on UFC matches in December following an outbreak of reported bets made by fighters themselves. However, the regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), announced Thursday that it’s ending its ban.

The change comes after the UFC teamed up with U.S. Integrity to clean up the sport. The integrity association is behind the initial claims of questionable bets in the organization.

More Transparency in UFC

The UFC’s Executive VP and General Counsel, Riche T. McKnight, helped bring the new partnership with U.S. Integrity to fruition. He said after consummating the deal that it would bring greater strength and transparency to the UFC. McKnight added that the organization will be able to leverage U.S. Integrity’s data intelligence and fraud prevention resources to enhance its public image.

As a result, the AGCO is confident the UFC is making progress in eliminating illegal bets, which could also be triggers of match-fixing. In virtually all sports organizations, athletes are prohibited from placing wagers on their sport.

While the regulator is allowing UFC betting to return, the decision doesn’t mean that it won’t reverse course if there are further indications of illegal bets.

Jeff Molina was one of the fighters who found himself in trouble last December. The flyweight received a suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for allegedly being part of an illegal betting scheme.

Nevada and the FBI are currently investigating MMA coach James Krause, and believe Molina may have played a “substantial” role in the betting ring. As a result, the NSAC has lengthened his suspension in the face of potential criminal charges.

UFC 283 Hopes to Forget the Past

Saturday’s UFC 283 is the first PPV fight of the year. It includes a headline fight that sees former champion Glover Teixeira take on Jamahal Hill. They’ll be doing battle for a title left undecided after UFC 282 failed to find a winner in the light heavyweight division.

Jiiri Prochazka vacated the belt because of a shoulder injury, which allowed Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev to compete for the title in December. However, neither fighter dominated, and the judges called the match a tie.

Teixeira (33-8-0), a former UFC light heavyweight world champion, lost to Prochazka last year after clearly ruling the heavyweight space. That’s part of the reason he comes into the contest as the underdog on Saturday. Pundits are favoring Hill (11-1-0), who they believe will find an opening early in the match and take advantage of it to lock up his older opponent.

In the co-main event, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno star in an evenly-matched – and repeat – bout. They’ve fought for the flyweight title three times already, ending in a record of 1-1-1.

Figueiredo (21-2-1) and Moreno (20-6-2) are almost dead even on the moneyline, an indication of their very similar capabilities.

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