In 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship burst onto the scene, pitting masters of various martial arts disciplines in opposition to each other in a bracket-style match. The UFC has developed and grown in a mess of how within the almost three a long time since that first occasion in Denver. Still, with different main promotions like Bellator and the Professional Fighters League experimenting with bracket-style tournaments, many followers marvel what would occur if UFC returned to its roots and hosted its personal. We determined to search out out for ourselves, utilizing the most effective device at our disposal: EA Sports UFC 4.
Using the present official UFC rankings discovered on the promotion’s web site, I constructed eight-person match brackets that includes the highest-ranked fighters of every weight class (apart from ladies’s featherweight, since there are not any official rankings and EA Sports UFC 4 solely has two lively fighters from that division). The seeding is predicated on present rating, although for some high-profile fighters who’re within the course of of adjusting weight courses (like Jon Jones or Cody Garbrandt), I needed to plug them in the place it made essentially the most sense. I then watched each battle because the A.I.-controlled combatants duked it out. Each battle was scheduled for 3 rounds, apart from the championship battle on the finish, which might go 5 rounds.
As the almost 80 bouts performed out, it rapidly grew to become obvious that EA Sports UFC 4 skews closely in favor of third-round knockouts or technical knockouts. In reality, even with grappling specialists, I used to be shocked at how few submission makes an attempt succeeded. It actually wasn’t for lack of making an attempt as a result of generally even essentially the most striking-focused fighters jumped guard to aim guillotines in these simulations. Still, only a few submissions have been profitable, maybe a testomony to the A.I. submission protection.
However, whatever the final result, I observed that only a few fights have been fully one-sided. This is probably going a sign that developer EA Canada balanced the fighters to create extra aggressive bouts even with every fighter that includes totally different attributes and tendencies. While it is a good concept in concept, if you’re simulating fights to see how the sport predicts they’d play out in actual life, it leads to some fairly stunning upsets.
Without any additional ado, let’s get to the outcomes of those tournaments.
Click any bracket picture to see its bigger model.
Current Real-Life Champion: Rose Namajunas
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Rose Namajunas
Fight of the Tournament: Namajunas vs. Weili
The strawweight division is undoubtedly essentially the most thrilling ladies’s division within the UFC, with the belt altering fingers quickly following Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s loss to Rose Namajunas in 2017. In the time since, Namajunas, Jessica Andrade (who has since moved up in weight), and Zhang Weili have all held the belt. According to this simulation, the 4 former champions of the 115-pound division (Namajunas, Jędrzejczyk, Weili, and inaugural champ Carla Esparza) superior previous their opening-round matchups. Weili vs. Jędrzejczyk was one of many biggest fights of all time, so a rematch was thrilling. Still, the most effective battle on this match got here from Namajunas vs. Weili within the finals, with Namajunas securing the victory due to a third-round armbar submission.
Current Real-Life Champion: Valentina Shevchenko
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Katlyn Chookagian
Fight of the Tournament: Andrade vs. Calderwood
In distinction to the strawweight division, a single champion has dominated ladies’s flyweight just about since its inception. Following inaugural champion Nicco Montaño’s unceremonious relinquishing of the title in 2018, Valentina Shevchenko has reigned supreme, going through little hardship in her 5 title defenses. As such, she is certainly one of simply 4 fighters to realize a five-star total score in EA Sports UFC 4, making her the runaway favourite to win this match.
However, the online game had different plans, as Lauren Murphy (who, apparently sufficient, is scheduled to be Shevchenko’s subsequent title protection in September) pulled off the large upset within the semifinals. Unfortunately, Murphy couldn’t carry that momentum into the championship battle, and longtime contender Katlyn Chookagian took her out with a fourth-round KO.
Current Real-Life Champion: Amanda Nunes
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Germaine de Randamie
Fight of the Tournament: De Randamie vs. Holm
As dominant as Shevchenko is within the flyweight division, Amanda Nunes has been much more ruthless. The biggest feminine fighter of all time has dominated the bantamweight division with an iron fist ever since taking the belt from Miesha Tate in 2016. As such, she’s one other member of the elite five-star total score membership in EA Sports UFC 4. And identical to Shevchenko earlier than her, Nunes didn’t come out on prime on this simulation. Instead, Germaine de Randamie overcame a wild, back-and-forth battle in opposition to Holly Holm earlier than toppling Nunes within the championship bout.
Current Real-Life Champion: Brandon Moreno
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Cody Garbrandt
Fight of the Tournament: Askarov vs. Benavidez
Former bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt has had his sights set on flyweight for some time now. While his unique plan of dropping all the way down to face then-champion Deiveson Figueiredo fell by on account of well being problems, Garbrandt is now scheduled to face Kai Kara-France later this 12 months. Kara-France is not in EA Sports UFC 4, so I plugged Garbrandt into the match the place Kara-France would have been primarily based on the UFC rankings – which simply so occurred to line him up in opposition to Figueiredo.
When present champ Brandon Moreno misplaced in stunning trend to Tim Elliott within the first spherical, the stage appeared all however set for the once-dominant champion Figueiredo to reclaim his belt, however he additionally misplaced within the first spherical. After profitable the unique battle he wished within the first spherical, Garbrandt went on to placed on arguably essentially the most dominant string of performances of any match I simulated, brutally knocking out former title challengers Joseph Benavidez and Alex Perez to assert the championship belt.
Current Real-Life Champion: Aljamain Sterling
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Petr Yan
Fight of the Tournament: Sandhagen vs. Font
The males’s bantamweight division is as thrilling as ever but additionally as muddied as ever. After Petr Yan misplaced his belt to Aljamain Sterling earlier this 12 months due to a disqualification stemming from an unlawful knee, the queue of contenders has grown uncontrolled, with the likes of TJ Dillashaw, Cory Sandhagen, and Rob Font ready to see how the rematch between Sterling and Yan will play out. This makes the match format an ideal match for the division. No matter the way you match up these combatants, you are assured to get some wonderful fights. Even following the UFC rankings, I nonetheless obtained some absolute bangers within the match’s first spherical. However, the semifinals consisted of killers solely, with Yan taking out Dillashaw, and Sandhagen avenging his 2020 loss to Sterling. At the tip of the day, Yan emerged victorious within the last.
Current Real-Life Champion: Alexander Volkanovski
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski
Fight of the Tournament: Rodríguez vs. Jung
Sometimes, EA Sports UFC 4’s predictions go how many individuals suppose they could. While a number of folks nonetheless think about Max Holloway the most effective fighter at featherweight, Alexander Volkanovski as soon as once more confirmed why he is the one who holds the belt at 145. Volkanovski defeated Holloway for what could be a 3rd time. Featherweight is one other division stacked from prime to backside, with Brian Ortega, Yair Rodríguez, Calvin Kattar, and Chan Sung Jung filling the sphere. Still, as we have seen time and time once more, Volkanovski and Holloway are simply on one other stage.
Current Real-Life Champion: Charles Oliveira
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Michael Chandler
Fight of the Tournament: Gaethje vs. Chandler
As nice as males’s bantamweight and featherweight are, in all chance, light-weight is the most effective division within the UFC. The traditionally deep division is in transition because of the abrupt retirement of dominant, undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2020. Thanks to this, I used to be maybe most excited to see this match in motion. With newly topped champion Charles Oliveira taking the highest seed and killers like Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje (earlier than you ask, the ninth-ranked Conor McGregor barely missed the reduce for inclusion) on the opposite aspect of the bracket, this match assured superior fights and stunning outcomes. And boy, did it ship on each fronts.
Though Oliveira was in a position to care for enterprise within the first spherical, the real-life champ misplaced his rematch in opposition to former Bellator champ and up to date UFC convert Michael Chandler. That first battle, which passed off at UFC 262 earlier this 12 months, was a back-and-forth, Fight of the Year contender, so the change within the outcome is not that stunning on this digital rematch. However, the most important shock got here on the opposite aspect of the bracket when Rafael Dos Anjos received a detailed choice in opposition to Dustin Poirier. Dos Anjos is a former champion, however many think about Poirier the most effective fighter at 155. Still, the division is stacked; it is onerous to argue in opposition to any outcomes. The championship got here all the way down to Gaethje and Chandler, who delivered arguably the most effective battle of any match I simulated. This absurdly paced matchup did not final lengthy, nevertheless it was continuous motion till Chandler landed an uppercut from hell whereas Gaethje tried to land certainly one of his personal. Watching it play out in EA Sports UFC 4 made me all of the extra excited for the real-life match-up between these two, which is focused for UFC 268 in November.
Current Real-Life Champion: Kamaru Usman
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Vicente Luque
Fight of the Tournament: Edwards vs. Luque
Welterweight is the house of maybe essentially the most dominant males’s champion immediately in Kamaru Usman, so naturally, he was the favourite stepping into. However, the division can be one of many deeper ones within the UFC, so if you see the all-action Vicente Luque take out the streaking Leon Edwards in his first battle, topple Usman within the semifinals, then beat Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson within the finals, it is troublesome to be too upset. Thompson getting previous Burns is perhaps essentially the most criticizable final result of this match since we simply noticed how Burns dealt with Thompson in July, however this recreation appears to favor strikers over grapplers when the A.I. faces itself. Interestingly, utilizing my seeding methodology, the primary spherical gave followers a long-awaited grudge match in Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal.
Current Real-Life Champion: Israel Adesanya
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Israel Adesanya
Fight of the Tournament: Adesanya vs. Till
If welterweight Kamaru Usman is not essentially the most dominant males’s champion, it is actually middleweight Israel Adesanya. The former kickboxing champ blasted his means by the middleweight ranks and has defeated almost each contender alongside the way in which. Everyone thinks they’ve the answer to the Adesanya puzzle, however no middleweight fighter has been in a position to execute thus far.
After a tiny scare within the first spherical in opposition to Darren Till, Adesanya cruised in his second rematch in opposition to Marvin Vettori, knocking him out within the first spherical, then taking up the person from whom he took the middleweight belt within the first place: Robert Whittaker. While Adesanya vs. Whittaker featured a ton of motion and was pretty evenly matched, Adesanya as soon as once more completed Whittaker to substantiate his coronation by this EA Sports UFC 4 match.
Current Real-Life Champion: Jan Błachowicz
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Jan Błachowicz
Fight of the Tournament: Błachowicz vs. Teixeira
After Jon Jones left to go to heavyweight, the sunshine heavyweight division grew to become extra attention-grabbing. Though Dominick Reyes felt just like the uncrowned champ when he fought for the vacant title final 12 months, Jan Błachowicz emerged with the belt. Though Błachowicz has been on an absolute tear, profitable 9 of his final ten fights, together with a win over middleweight champ Israel Adesanya earlier this 12 months, many are nonetheless ready to see if he is the sort of fighter who can maintain the belt for an prolonged time period. According to EA Sports UFC 4, he very effectively is perhaps. While it was stunning to see Reyes defeat Jiří Procházka in a rematch of their battle from earlier this 12 months, the remainder of the bracket performed out realistically, with the 2 fighters within the championship battle – Błachowicz and Glover Teixeira – serving as the following real-life title battle within the division. If the true battle between these two is something like EA Sports UFC 4’s prediction, we’re in for a deal with when it happens in October.
Current Real-Life Champion: Francis Ngannou
EA Sports UFC 4 Prediction: Derrick Lewis
Fight of the Tournament: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik
The heavyweight division is in an odd place, with just lately topped champion Francis Ngannou having his throne challenged by new interim champ Cyril Gane. Meanwhile, one of many biggest fighters of all time lurks in Jon Jones, and the longest-reigning heavyweight champ in UFC historical past, Stipe Miocic, can by no means be counted out. After watching all of those fights play out throughout the totally different divisions, heavyweight’s outcomes have been those that shocked me essentially the most. Seeing Derrick Lewis knock out Jones within the first spherical was an enormous shock, however perhaps not as massive of an upset as Jairzinho Rozenstruik knocking out Ngannou in a rematch of a battle that very a lot went a distinct means in actual life. The proper aspect of the bracket went about as most individuals would predict. However, the championship battle between Lewis and Gane was maybe the most important upset of the complete match, as we simply noticed how dominant Gane was when he fought Lewis two weeks in the past. I’ve a sense Lewis would vastly want this outcome to the one he really obtained this month.
For extra on EA Sports UFC 4, try our assessment here.