With EA Sports UFC hitting shelves today, fans around the world are preparing to give Jon "Bones" Jones the beating they always suspected they could. To be fair, if you skip a few steps and choose Daniel Cormier or Alexander Gustafsson, that might actually happen. If you choose to wade into the deep murky waters of Career mode, however, beating the Light Heavyweight champion will take time. Luckily for you, we already crossed that bridge (seriously, we submitted him via Kimura in the first round of a super fight), and having done so, feel like we're in a position to offer you advice. Not that we have an ego or anything.
#5 - How to Create the Best Fighter in EA Sports UFC
This is a loaded statement because creating the best fighter is subjective. Have you ever tuned in to watch a UFC event? If so, you've likely heard Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg talk about how styles are what make fights, and that's absolutely true. If you're hoping to hear what style to choose, prepare to be let down.
In our first Career Mode play through, we decided to choose Boxer as our style. What can we say, we like to knock people out? It even played as we expected for awhile. We knocked out something like 19 of our first 20 opponents, then ended up taking a fight against Junior Dos Santos, who was a far better striker than we were. Rather than risk getting knocked out, we spent our training camp focusing on takedowns, ground control and submissions. When it came time to fight, we took Cigano down and slapped on the Kimura to steal the belt. For the rest of our career, we became a submission artist, rather than a knockout artist.
To make a long story even longer, choose the fight style that suits you. If you love Karate, choose that as your style. If you are a huge fan of Big Nog, why not become a submission specialist? To sum it up, the best mixed martial artists in the world always evolve. If you hope to one day bring home the belt in EA Sports UFC, that's exactly what you must do as well.
#4 - Spend Evolution Points Wisely
We promise to not be as long winded here, but the message is just as important, if not more so.
As you progress through your career, you'll earn Evolution Points for things like training, Performance of the Night bonuses, winning and even finishing. Those points are then used to either upgrade the skills of your fighter or buy additional moves that you can bring into the octagon. While it is tempting to learn how to do a Superman punch off the cage, it won’t help you win fights. Don't waste all your Evolution Points on moves. In fact, rarely buy new moves. In the early part of your career, focus on submissions, movement, takedowns and other fundament skills. Every fighter knows how to finish a standard takedown that lands them in side control, then slap on a Kimura. Knowing how to complete an Arm Triangle Choke is completely useless if you have a terrible Choke Submission rating.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and buying moves is no different. While we don't recommend buying moves because you really want to land the Showtime Roundhouse Kick, there are a few moves that have a more functional approach. For example, early on in our career we purchased a move called Submissive Side Control to Dominant. What that allowed us to do was reverse our opponent when they were in the side control position with our back pinned against the canvas. This one move gave us the opportunity to completely turn the tide of the fight. If that's the case, pull out the wallet and spend some cash. Oh, and we lied, this point is just as long as the last one. We're sorry.
#3 - Complete Submission Training
Learn how to make opponents tap out, even if it means breaking 14 controllers in the process. Submission training isn't that bad on level one, and even on level two, but at one point we were training with Benson Henderson, a man with fantastic submission defense who was completely fresh. We failed over and over again, often times having to sit through longer load times then the training itself. While everything in you will want to move on to the next drill, don't do it. Remember earlier in this piece when we talked about our transition from a Boxer to a submission ace? Well, this was a major part of that. Once you can submit Benson "Smooth" Henderson in training, you can get almost anyone else to tap.
In that way, treat all your training drills just like we described above. The game does a great job teaching you the skills you need to succeed. While some punching and kicking combinations might not stick with you for the long haul, skills like Defending Passes and Sweeps have more upside than can be measured. Just be sure to learn how to actually do damage once you can hold your opponent down. If you try to lay and pray, Yves Lavigne will stand you back up.
#2 - Good Job, Now Do It Again
We're going to harp on the lessons of training a bit more. We have two reasons. The first is that the more you complete certain training exercises, the better you become at those skills. Second, the better you perform each skill, the more Evolution Points you'll earn and be able to spend on making sure you can pull off that Guillotine choke. Passing will get you through to the next fight, but why not get in more practice and earn additional currency in the process? It might not make a huge difference in your next fight, but over the course of your 40 fight career, it can be the difference between being a contender and a title holder. If you don't want to turn into the career gate keeper, do the right thing and put in the work.
#1 - Develop a Solid Game Plan
EA Sports UFC lets you develop a game plan, offering a perk system that can make you perform better in certain situations. That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a full on, Greg Jackson level game plan when you approach each fight.
When you accept a fight, you'll see a screen that shows what type of opponent you're facing, rating them in Stand Up, Submissions and on the Ground. If you happen to have a good Submission rating but your opponent is a regular Pat Barry on the canvas (we love Pat, by the way), why not take them down and try to finish the fight there? Why mess around with an elite level Kick Boxer like HD when you have a clear advantage in another area of the fight game? Everyone loves a good slug fest and highlight reel knockout, but ask yourself this, do you want to be Diego Sanchez, known to take a beating as much as give one? Or would you rather be Georges St-Pierre and hold the belt for six years? The choice is yours.