With EA Sports UFC set to release in roughly two weeks, Electronic Arts Canada went live with a three-round demo to give players a taste of what they're in for. For those who decide to give it a try, they’ll step into the octagon as either Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson, facing off in a rematch of what most consider Fight of the Year in 2013. While there's no title on the line in this violent showdown, we felt compelled to share a few basic tips to help you earn a victory inside the octagon.

Rules of the Octagon

Before you start trading jabs with your opponent, it's important to understand the rules. In this case, the bout is a standard three-round affair, and even though it appears you can change some options in the main menu, the sliders don't move just yet.

Once the action begins, you'll have three five-minute rounds to defeat your opponent, which you can do in three basic ways.

  • Knockout - Render Mr. Gustafsson unconscious, causing him to wake up staring at the lights.
  • Submission - Bend Jon Jones' limbs into unnatural positions and force him to tap out.
  • Decision - Land more takedowns and strikes, getting the judges to choose you as the winner.

How to Score a Knockout in EA Sports UFC

Sawing Logs

In our short time with the game, this was our easiest method of victory, and the cause of our only defeat. It's not surprising, though. The two combatants you can choose from are two elite strikers in the Light-Heavyweight division. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a great knockout?

The easiest way to separate your opponent from his senses is by landing strikes while covering up to avoid taking damage. The in-game tutorial does a fantastic job (18 total lessons) showing you how this can be done. If your opponent is moving forward, block high to avoid taking strikes to the head, then return fire the moment you see an opening. While standard strikes definitely count, some of the most devastating are the power shots when your opponent is vulnerable. Power strikes can be thrown by holding down the right bumper, moving the right stick in different directions and pressing one of the basic strike buttons. Again, the tutorial does a great job showing some of these, but play around with them to see what's effective and what winds up getting you punched in the face.

A trick that became obvious early on was to keep moving away from our adversary until they attempted a power shot. Stay just out of range, then counter with your own strike when they're vulnerable.

As the two of you trade shots, keep an eye on the bars near the top. You can see your total energy level, which if low enough will reduce the effectiveness of your striking. If you just spam power shots the entire round, you'll wear yourself out and become vulnerable to attack. If you want to be the one with his or her hand raised, you’ll need a balance between offense and defense, timing those power shots that can end the fight at any given moment.

How to Score a Submission in EA Sports UFC

Ouch!

This road to victory definitely has more obstacles, forcing players to time their attacks and be quick with the sticks. Skill, timing and even energy factor in when attempting to rip your opponent's arm off with a Kimura. Make a wrong move and you might find yourself reversed and getting a taste of your own medicine.

The most basic position to submit your opponent from is when you have top position on the ground. To land your adversary on his back, hold down the left trigger and press toward him while in range. Just be careful that he doesn't defend it. Keep pressing that button combination until you put him on the canvas.

Once you're on the ground, there are a few concepts that can help make things easier for you. The first is position. You'll commonly find yourself in half guard, which means your opponent has one of their legs between yours. While there are submissions from here, the more dominant your position, the better off you'll be when going for the finish. Use the right stick, turning it in quarter circles. Think about a clock, then go from 9-12, or 3-12 in order to move into side control. What direction you move will depend on what side of your opponent's body you’re on.

Once you're in side control (your upper body across your opponent's with both of your legs free), feel free to land some ground and pound by using the basic striking buttons. Keep an eye on their energy, draining it as you do damage. As soon as their energy lowers, try slapping on a submission. This can be done by holding the right bumper, then moving the right stick from 9-12, then again from 3-12. If you do it correctly, a new window will appear as you try to finish the fight.

Once the submission window pops up, your opponent will try to escape, showing a bar moving in one of four directions. In order to block their attempt to break free, press the corresponding button shown on the screen, holding it until your opponent tries to escape in another direction. Continue to thwart any of their attempts to defend, waiting for the indicator telling you to move the left stick. If you are successful in this, you'll sink the submission attempt in a little deeper. If the indicator tells you to move the stick up and you move it left, your opponent will escape. Submissions in this game are no joke. You have to be perfect if you want to stand any chance at getting your opponent to tap out.

Earning the Decision Victory

Split Decision

If the fight ends and neither competitor has been able to finish it by knockout or submission, it will be up to the judges to decide who is victorious. If you've ever watched a real UFC event, or tuned in for a post-event press conference with Dana White, you'll know this is a horrible option. Judges have the nasty habit of being wildly inconsistent. While we're somewhat hopeful this isn't the case here, it's best if you don't let them have a say.

Alright, after getting that off our chest (can you tell we don't like judges?), should the fight end up being a barn burner and nobody is able to finish, here are some things that judges will look for when picking the winner (out of a hat?) after the final bell.

  • Effective Striking - Land more punches, kicks, elbows and knees than the other guy.
  • Takedowns - Take your opponent to the canvas, advance positions and do damage.
  • Knockdowns - Land your foe on the mat with a devastating strike, or 10.
  • Submission Attempts - Come close to finishing the fight by trying to get the tap out.

You can pick up your copy of EA Sports UFC on June 17th for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Pre-order to unlock Bruce Lee and Royce Gracie as day one bonuses.