MMA Manager 2021 is Tilting Point LLC’s entry in the iOS and Android sports game market, and it comes to us from the same company behind Narcos: Cartel Wars, SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off, and other mobile gaming hits.
This game puts you in the role of an MMA gym owner or manager, and your job is to build your gym up from a tiny basement facility to a high-end place for the best fighters to train at. You can train your fighters in dozens of different skills/attributes and face human-managed opponents from all corners of the globe, as well as AI opponents in the game’s Campaign Mode.
As you saw in our beginner/intermediate guide for the game, MMA Manager 2021 is quite a deep game — there may not be any real-life fighters, trainers, gyms, or anything like that, but there are so many things to do in the game that one guide wouldn’t cut it.
That’s why we’re back with the second in a series of two MMA Manager 2021 strategy guides — if the first guide was your one-stop shop for everything you need to know as a first-week player, these are the tips and tricks that will help you survive the grind from your second week of play and beyond. Read on if you need more assistance in winning fights, earning Trophies, and making your fighters even deadlier!
1. Choose The Right Talents Before Starting A Fight
When a fighter reaches level 3 — again, this is through regular training of fight-specific attributes and not the physical ones — that will allow them to unlock their first of six Talents. One talent each is unlocked once they reach levels 4, 5, 6, and 7, and the sixth and last one becomes available once they get promoted to level 10. Talents can be best described as special buffs that work for the entire fight (or sometimes, buffs at the small cost of a de-buff in another area) — for example, the BJJ Master Talent reduces maximum Health by 5 percent but reduces damage taken while on the ground by 30 percent.
Other Talents may take effect only when a certain condition is met — take the example of Trained Reflexes, which increases Strike Defense but only if your fighter’s health is below 20 percent. Then you’ve got Talents that are more straightforward in nature, such as Improviser, which gives you an extra combo for your first move in Round 1.
Unfortunately, MMA Manager 2021 will not allow you to choose the Talents your fighters get — these are assigned at random each time they reach the milestone levels noted above. You can, however, choose Talents before a fight, and you should make sure you actually choose them before proceeding to the fight itself, because the game won’t leave them auto-selected, even if your fighter only has one thus far. They may not always come into play during the fight, but they could be surprisingly helpful and give you the extra advantage you need against a particularly tough opponent.
2. Back To The Drawing Board – Why It’s Not Smart To Fight Right After A Loss
After losing a fight, especially if it’s an upset loss against a fighter that doesn’t have much experience or a gym that’s rather low on Trophies, your first instinct may be to pay five Credits for a rematch. We understand if you may feel that way — it’s that “I’m gonna get that guy next time” mentality kicking in.
But just like it may not have been the best idea for Conor McGregor to return to the octagon so soon for a third fight with Dustin Poirier, we don’t really recommend using the rematch option or fighting someone else immediately after suffering a defeat. Instead, we suggest taking a look at the fight stats, reviewing your last strategy, and figuring out what went wrong. As we noted in the title of this tip, it’s a proverbial case of going back to the drawing board.
Let’s look at a few examples of why this may be more beneficial than simply tweaking your strategy and fighting again. If your fighter was defeated after they proved too vulnerable on the ground, you’ll want to send them over to the grappling dummy and train their Takedown and/or Submission Defense if it was a case of those attributes paling in comparison to their other skills.
If your fighter lost mainly because they threw too many wild haymakers that didn’t connect, maybe some Boxing training is the way to go. And if they lost because of a well-timed low or high kick, it may be time to work on that Kick Defense. Unlike real MMA fighters, your characters in MMA Manager 2021 do not get injured, so you can feel free to train them at any time, especially if they’ve got a Boost active or if you’ve got videos to watch to immediately complete long training sessions — more on that later.
As far as making strategic adjustments go, that could be a good reason to request the rematch if you see the fight as winnable based on your attributes and on the realization that you may have chosen the wrong game plan. (Or accidentally submitted it without making any changes — these things happen!) However, training is more often than not the best thing to do right after a loss, so don’t hesitate to schedule a training session or two in order to address your fighters’ weaknesses ASAP!
3. Defense Is Good, But Your Fighters Need Offensive Skills Too
In our time playing MMA Manager 2021, we noticed that we have experienced more success managing defensive-oriented fighters who adapt to their opponents’ game plans and do most of their damage on the ground. Indeed, a good defense can be the best offense in combat sports, and that’s something we know to be true from our experience playing fighting games of any kind.
That’s why we recommend employing defensive strategies more frequently than offensive ones, and prioritizing defensive skills when training your fighters. Your fights will last longer than they would if you’re going offensive, but based on our experience, it’s better to have a long, drawn-out fight that you can expect to win 75 percent of the time than a short one where your chances are 50-50 or worse.
However, we should also go back to what we discussed in the first guide about creating balanced fighters who aren’t that balanced, so as to avoid having a jack of all trades who’s a solid “B” fighter in most areas but not an “A”in any one of their skills.
With that in mind, don’t fall into the trap of focusing solely on defense but neglecting your fighter’s offensive attributes. You can’t expect to do well on the ground if you don’t have strong takedown and submission skills, and you won’t do that much damage on your feet if all you do is clinch and parry.
Invest in some punching bags and standing dummies and one ring (two if you have a bigger gym) so that you can put your fighters through that much-needed offensive training, and when it comes to your grappling dummies, make sure you’re using them to train your fighters on the art of performing takedowns and submissions, as opposed to merely defending against them.
4. Don’t Disregard Conditioning And Agility, And Focus More On Them If You Have To
Aside from the skill-specific attributes that you’ll see on the right side in each fighter’s Skills screen, you’ll see three attributes on the left that refer to their physical attributes, namely Strength, Agility, and Conditioning. Your first instinct may be to prioritize Strength, given how that’s the attribute which helps determine how much damage you can inflict on your opponents.
However, we would suggest otherwise — while you will definitely need to train your fighters’ Strength from time to time, it’s arguably better to shift your focus to the other two physical attributes in order to ensure that your fighters actually finish the proverbial job. All too often during our test runs, we saw how our fighters got off to fast starts, only to essentially choke in the second round (or late in the first), either because we got gassed due to low
Conditioning or weren’t able to evade critical hits or combos due to low Agility. You don’t want to be like Chael Sonnen in his first fight against Anderson Silva, or Ronda Rousey when she suffered her first professional loss against Holly Holm — there’s nothing more heartbreaking than snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, as the saying goes.
In order to train Conditioning, you’ll need to purchase items such as treadmills, training bikes, and stepper machines from the Shop — these can be found in the Cardio section under Equipment. Speed bags can be purchased in the Bags section, and these would normally be the items you’ll want to prioritize when trying to train Agility.
You can also use speed bags to train Conditioning, so if the Shop doesn’t have any affordable Cardio equipment at a given moment, you can buy a speed bag and hit two birds with one stone by having an item that trains two physical attributes.
5. Momentum May Be A Thing In MMA Manager 2021
If you follow the UFC, you probably know a fighter or two who suffered one defeat after another and basically fell victim to poor momentum, with one subpar fight leading to another. (Late-career Anderson Silva immediately comes to mind here.) These things are simply unavoidable — it may be due to age, injury, poor work ethic, sunken morale, or a combination of some or all of those things, but slumps do happen in mixed martial arts, as they do in just about any other sport. That also applies to the MMA Manager universe, where one loss can lead to another if you aren’t careful.
Just to be clear, we aren’t 100 percent sure whether momentum really comes into play in MMA Manager 2021. There’s a chance it may boil down to the players themselves getting frustrated as they haphazardly submit strategies and keep requesting rematches against fighters who simply have an edge in certain attributes that cannot be overcome. But we’ve had times where we actually tweaked our strategies carefully and made full use of the three-minute time limit to adjust our strategy, yet still lost an otherwise winnable bout.
So if you’re suffering through a bad losing streak and getting frustrated — trust us, this could happen with the game’s mocking way of saying that you lost — it may be best to regroup in one way or another. Take a break from the game, or make your idle time worth it by scheduling long training session. That just might be what you need to recover your momentum, regardless whether it’s an in-game thing as we suspect or a psychological thing that gamers often go through.
6. Invest In Some Miscellaneous Items To Earn More Prestige As A Bigger Gym
In the Equipment section of the shop, you’ll see the Misc sub-section, which contains some items that may be of use to your fighters, such as Grappling Dummies, as well as several other items that don’t have any tangible effect on their attributes but are nonetheless given star ratings, with higher-tier items, as usual, costing more than the lower-tier ones.
What do these items do, and why should you invest in them once you’ve improved your facilities quite a bit and moved up to a Big Basement Gym or larger? As you’ll notice when you tap on these miscellaneous items, their benefit is the ability to collect more Prestige, which, of course, allows you to purchase bigger facilities, manage more fighters, add more (useful) items, and the like.
By the time you unlock the Big Basement, the Prestige requirements for the larger facilities will become harder to reach, so you might as well add some couches, TVs, and shelves stacked with boxing gloves, to name a few, to help you reach those Prestige targets sooner rather than later. They may not do a whit of good when it comes to improving your fighters’ skills, but at the end of the day, miscellaneous items pay for themselves as a way of garnering Prestige and improving your facilities.
7. Gym Vs. Gym Battles – How Do They Work?
In our beginner/intermediate guide, we focused primarily on Quick Fight in terms of game modes, with some coverage devoted to Campaign. Most players will likely play the former game mode most of the time while they’re logged in, with a few Campaign fights thrown in there while taking a breather from the higher-stakes environment of competing against another human player’s fighter for Cash and Trophies. Now we’re going to be taking a closer look at the two other fight modes in the game, starting with Gym vs. Gym battles, which take place in real-time.
Gym vs. Gym is probably the closest thing MMA Manager 2021 has to The Ultimate Fighter, albeit without the presence of two established fighters serving as each team’s coach, and without all the reality television drama behind the scenes. The premise is similar in the sense that you’ve got two large groups of fighters facing each other, but in here, it’s all in the name of the mode — you’ll be pitting your gym against someone else’s.
The mechanics are also different, as you start out by choosing seven fighters from your roster to take part in the battle. Naturally, you’ll want to focus on your higher-level fighters so as to ensure you have the best chances of winning the battle when all is said and done, though we should warn you that the matchmaking system isn’t as balanced as it is in Quick Fights. You could very well be matched against a tough gym whose fighters are all at a higher level than any one of yours, or you could end up facing a newbie gym with only a few quality talents.
The goal of Gym vs. Gym fights is to defeat your opponent in best-of-seven competition — pick up four wins and you win the battle and earn some Cash and Prestige. Think of it as a gauntlet match of sorts — each time someone’s fighter gets defected, they choose a new one until one side earns four points. That means it is possible to use only one fighter for the duration of the battle, as long as that fighter beats four people on the opposing side.
And while the stakes may not be as high as they are in Quick Fight (more on that later), they can still feel high due to the fact that you won’t have as much time to choose your game plan as you would in the latter mode. Instead of three minutes, all you’ll get is one minute to make all the adjustments that need to be made, so you’ll need to think and act quickly!
As mentioned above, you can win Cash and Prestige as a prize for winning a Gym vs. Gym battle, but the real prize here, we’d say, is the 15,000 Cash (plus Prestige and Credits) you will earn for winning your first Gym vs. Gym battle of the day as part of the daily quests. Win five of them and you get 25,000 Cash and 1,000 Prestige — that’s still pretty darn good, even if five Gym vs. Gym battles may sound like a lot!
But that’s where what we said earlier about lower stakes comes in — wins and losses in Gym vs. Gym do not count toward your fighters’ records, and you won’t earn or lose Trophies either. That means you can easily concede a battle if you realize you won’t have a chance to win, but not be penalized for it.
8. You Can Win Bigger Cash And Prestige By Winning Tournaments
Last, but not the least of the four fight modes is Tournament mode, and for the meantime, the only option within this mode is Fighter vs. Fighter. Select that and you will have three options — Small, Medium, and Grand Tournament.
The Small option features 16 fighters and requires that your fighter be level 3 or higher, Medium has 32 fighters and a level 6 minimum, and Grand has 64 fighters, and the most restrictive requirements, namely level 10 for the fighter entering and 100,000 Prestige for your gym. Like Gym vs. Gym, this is a real-time mode, but unlike that mode, this is one where you may need to wait several hours until everything is said and done — unless, of course, you end up bowing out early!
The tournament will only start when the entire bracket of 16, 32, or 64 fighters is filled out, and this means you will really need to have your notifications turned on to ensure you’re ready to strategize when your fight is up. Again, the time limit will only be one minute for setting your game plan, so you may want to get used to thinking and acting quick while playing MMA Manager 2021 before entering a tournament.
We did say that some patience will be needed, and by that we mean the fact that you may need to wait some time before your fight in the next round kicks off. That’s why we recommend choosing Small tournaments and playing in the daytime so that you aren’t caught fast asleep when your next fight is taking place.
But if you really can’t avoid it, we would recommend going with your best overall strategy and setting it before going to bed — that is, if you’re still in the tournament and it’s still running right before you sleep.
Finishing first place in a tournament, naturally, will get you the biggest prizes — for Small tournaments, first prize will get you 26,000 Cash, 2,600 Prestige, and 52 Credits. You may, however, get (much) smaller consolation prizes if you fail to win. Take note that unlike in Gym vs. Gym, wins and losses in tournaments count toward your win-loss record! This is a mode you’ll want to take just as seriously, if not more seriously, than Quick Fight, so be sure to bring your A-game before committing to a Tournament in MMA Manager 2021!
9. Arenas Are Costly And Only Cosmetic In Nature
Arenas are the most expensive thing you can buy in MMA Manager 2021 — the most affordable one of them, the Pub, costs a good 50,000 Cash, and the rest are exponentially costlier, with the most expensive, the Stadium, setting you back by 2 million Cash if you decide to purchase it.
As the game randomly determines whether the fight takes place in your home arena or that of the opponent, you may be wondering why most of your opponents, say, about 90 percent of them or greater, opt to hold their fights at the dingy, default Fight Club. There’s a reason behind this, and it’s not just about the prohibitive price of owning more than just the stock Arena that looks even dingier than your average real-life underground fight club.
The reason we’re referring to is the fact that these Arenas are only there for cosmetic purposes. You can collect them if you wish and toggle from one arena to the next to mix things up, but at the end of the day, they won’t do a thing in terms of improving your chances of winning or giving your fighters buffs beyond the ones they can utilize through their Talents.
So if you’re looking to buy something in the Facilities section of the Shop, you should focus on the Gyms, as these actually have an impact on gameplay — bigger gyms mean more equipment, more rings, more fighters, and more Prestige!
10. Watch Ads For Free Cash And Credits
Our last tip is a rather simple one, but as you may have noticed in these advanced guides, it’s often the little things we forget that may turn out to be among the most helpful. On the upper right side of your screen, you’ll see the option to watch ad videos for free Cash and free Credits. Each of these options will allow you to watch a maximum of three ads per day, and since you’ll get 15,000 Cash and 10 Credits for watching one clip, that means 45,000 free Cash and 30 free Credits in one day if you watch all of the six videos allowed!
This may come in especially handy for those who are in their second week of play onward — as we’ve learned, the Trial Event only lasts one week, and we did explain in the first guide that you can earn a ton of Cash, Credits, and Prestige by accomplishing the tasks included. 45,000 Cash and 30 Credits a day may not sound like much, but it will add up if you keep playing MMA Manager 2021 at least a few minutes on a daily basis.
And that wraps up our MMA Manager 2021 advanced guide. Do you know any other useful tips or tricks for the game? If so, don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comment box below!