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EA SPORTS UFC: How to Dominate the Ground Game & Submissions


EA SPORTS UFC: How to Dominate the Ground Game & Submissions

EA SPORTS UFC has now been out for a few weeks, and thus far, the game has seen a few ups and downs including some mixed critical reaction to its release. One of the early complaints has been the difficult controls and understanding of exactly how the ground game works. While it can take some practice, winning and succeeding on the ground is actually very possible and very rewarding if you take some time to know how, and where, to take advantage of your opponent.

Since some folks are having a difficult time thus far, we thought we’d put together a quick guide on how you can better dominate your opponent on the ground in EA SPORTS UFC.

The Basics

The first thing you want to pay attention to happens before you even step into the cage in EA SPORTS UFC. Your ratings play a huge factor in how successful you’ll be on the mat, so it’s important to understand what ratings matter, and what to pay attention to.

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to highlight an upcoming rematch between UFC legends B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar. B.J. Penn is a world-renown black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and an incredible tactician on the ground. He excels in the four most important categories for submissions:

  • Choke Defense – 96
  • Choke Submission – 94
  • Joint Defense – 100
  • Joint Submission – 96

EA SPORTS UFC - Edgar and Penn

To have a successful shot at a submission, or escaping them, you’ll want to pay attention to these ratings, as they’ll play a huge role in the cage. These ratings give you your overall “Submission Rating”, and you’ll want to pick someone with a high submission rating to dominate. Some good examples of great fighters on the ground, are: Jon Jones. Urijah Faber, Ronda Rousey, Renan Barao and B.J. Penn. You’ll have an easier time beating your opponent if you’re facing someone with a lower rating than yourself, and it’s almost pointless to try and take someone with a great rating to the ground if you know you can’t compete.

Ground attributes are also very important to a fighter. These ratings help determine how well a fighter can advance positions or take an opponent to the mat (or avoid it):

  • Ground Control
  • Ground Passing
  • Takedown Defense
  • Takedown

The last attribute that people need to be mindful of when going for a submission is stamina. Your overall rating does not play a role, but you need to make sure you aren’t gassed when trying to get your opponent to tap. If you look up in the top right or left corners of the screen during a fight, you’ll see a blue or red meter that measures how tired you are. If your bar is full while your opponent’s is empty, this will make submitting him or her much easier.

Ground Positions

So you’re in the cage and the fight has gone to the ground. What do you do when you’re there? The first step is understanding what positions exist and how to use them to your advantage. Lets break the important ones down:

Dominate Full Guard

EA SPORTS UFC - Full Guard

From this position, only elite submission artists can perform holds. Your best bet in this position, even though you’re on top, is to try and transition to a different position or throw quick jabs at your opponent’s face. The key worry about being in this position is that you’re prone to Triangle chokes, Guillotines or other submissions from the opponent on the mat, especially if that opponent also has a high submission rating. This can be a dangerous spot, even in an advantageous position.

If you find yourself on the mat in this position, it can definitely be worthwhile, especially if your opponent is continuing to drain energy by throwing punches. If you’re using an elite submission artist, try putting on a hold from here, definitely if facing a weaker fighter, or someone who is drained.

Dominate Side Control

EA SPORTS UFC - Side Control

This position can be incredibly advantageous to the person on top, especially if you’re using a ground-and-pound specialist, or top-level submission artist. If on top, the goal here is to use your fist closest to your opponent’s face and hit them…a lot. Because of the position, it’s hard to block punches from this angle, so use it. You can also use your knee closest to the opponent’s mid-section and hit them in the ribs, which can also cause major damage.

The top submission from side control is the Kimura, which is common from this position and also a submission that most fighters can pull off. While common, it is also one of the easiest to escape, so make sure to have your opponent hurt or drained before an attempt. An important note to remember is that you can stop an opponent from transitioning by holding the Right Trigger and flicking left or right when you see their body weight shift. Use this to stay in position and carry on the attack in ANY ground position.

If on the mat in this position, try to get back to your feet by clicking the Left Stick, or transition, as the mentioned ground-and-pound can cause significant damage or even end a fight prematurely.

Dominate North-South Control

EA SPORTS UFC - North/South Control

Again, this position is meant for elite-level submissions only, and other than that, this position won’t end too many fights or gain you any favors. While you can land some good kidney and liver shots from this spot, it is probably better to transition back to side control or even full mount to attempt to do more damage from a better position.

Dominate Half Guard

While similar to side control, the big difference here is that your opponent will have one of your legs tied up in between his. Standard-level submissions can be attempted here, like chokes or holds, but the more unique opportunity here is to try and posture up (done by flicking Up on the Left Stick), and unload hammer-fists or elbows on your opponent. By hitting LB, RB and one of the punch buttons, you can throw elbows into your opponent, which can end fights very quickly if you have a fighter who specializes in ground combat. Ronaldo Souza has a 100 rating on the ground, so he’s a great example of someone you’d want to use in this position (check out the top fighters by technique).

Dominate Full Mount

EA SPORTS UFC - Full Mount

In what is considered to be the deadliest position in all of MMA, being in full mount can end fights in a flash, as well as cause a mass amount of damage onto your opponent. While a few submissions (Gogoplata, Triangle Armbar) are possible here, your most effective tool is to posture up and throw as many fists and elbows as you can down on your opponent, as his options are extremely limited. Continue to mix up elbows, hammer-fists and punches from different angles.

If you find yourself on the bottom of this position, there are a few things you can do. For one, pray. After you get that out of your system, make sure to use the right trigger and flick up on the Left Stick to block as many of the incoming shots as you can. Once you see your opponent tiring or gassing, try to transition out by flicking the Right Stick in a 9-12 movement or 3-12 movement, or click the Left Stick to get back to your feet.

Dominate Back Mount

EA SPORTS UFC - Back Mount

Usually when an opponent on the mat in full mount transitions, they’ll end up turning over, allowing you to get their back. The opposition is incredibly weak in this position, and has very few options available to him. You can use fists to batter their defenseless face, or pull off a few very effective submissions from this position, most notably the rear-naked choke. The rear-naked is extremely successful from here, and only takes a few steps to fully place it on your opponent. All fighters have the ability to choke or armbar from here, and what makes this position great is the fact that normally your opponent is already gassed, being he was just in full mount and probably took a bunch of damage trying to avoid the fight ending. If you find yourself in a dominate position here, attempt a choke almost immediately.

Finishing A Submission

EA SPORTS UFC - Finish Submission

Ok, so you’ve got the submission on, and a huge octagon has popped up on the screen. What do you do now? How do you finish the fight in EA SPORTS UFC?

The easiest advice I can give you is to be patient. As soon as the octagon pops up, your opponent will try to escape the hold by moving the Right Stick to the left, right, up or down. You will be able to tell which direction they’re moving by the indicator on your screen. Your job is to press and hold your Right Stick in the same direction. This will block their attempt to escape, however, they may try another direction once you’ve blocked their first attempt. Continue to move your Right Stick (holding it in place) in whatever direction the indicator shows on-screen. If your opponent manages to push their Right Stick to the outer wall of the octagon, their escape will be successful and the submission will be broken.

If you are able to stop your opposing fighter from moving their Right Stick to the outer rim of the octagon, eventually a Left Stick indicator will appear on-screen. This is your opportunity to sink the hold in a little deeper. All you have to do is press the Left Stick in the direction indicated before it disappears from the screen. If you’re successful, you are one step closer to submitting your opponent. If you fail, the submission will be broken and your opponent has escaped. Keep in mind, you do not have to hold the Left Stick. Just flick it in the direction indicated. It is important to note that you can be holding the Right Stick in a direction while flicking the Left Stick to sink it in deeper.

A few extra notes:

  • The amount of steps it takes to end a submission varies on what type of hold you are putting on your opponent and your fighter’s skill level. Some may take up to 5-6 “turns” to complete, and others take as little as 3 “turns”.
  • Your opponent’s speed in escaping is determined by their skill level and rating, as well as their stamina level. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t put a hold on a tougher opponent, and use ratings to determine who you can and can’t have success submitting.
  • Use a fighter like Royce Gracie and practice against the lower rated guys on easy to adjust to the rhythm and technique of the mechanic. After a good night of practice, I was able to submit CPU opponents on a regular basis.

EA SPORTS UFC - Celebrating Victory

Follow these quick tips and you should find yourself finishing fights on the ground on a regular occurrence. Like anything, practicing is key, and so is knowing exactly what is available to you in each ground positions in EA SPORTS UFC.


Have any other quick tips for our community? Enjoying EA SPORTS UFC thus far? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation in our forums!


Corey is a long time sports fan and gamer. He can be found playing almost any type of game, but is usually deep in a franchise or career mode on multiple sports titles. If he's not on Xbox Live, he's usually following one of his sports teams and tweeting about it. You can follow him on Twitter for any type of conversation.

1 Comment
  • Cory Bethrant

    Should have me write an article. Number #1 Submission Specialist on PS4.



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