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MMA Manager 2021 Beginner’s Guide: 12 Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Winning More Fights

Tilting Point LLC is a company that you may know from games such as SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off, Tap Busters and TerraGenesis — they offer titles in various mobile gaming genres, and their entry in the sports gaming category is MMA Manager 2021. As specified in the game’s description, the game allows you a chance to hire the best fighters and customize them, while also designing and improving your gym and adding a lineup of top-rated gym trainers and fight coaches.

You can also challenge other managers and their fighters in different game modes, and if you simply want to earn rewards in a lower-pressure setting, you can play the game’s Campaign Mode and test your strategies against AI-controlled fighters. And speaking of strategy, there’s a lot of it in this game, so be prepared to put on your thinking cap as you cook up the best game plan for your next fight — will you focus on your ground game or your stand-up? Will you prioritize offense or defense, or will you opt for a more balanced approach? The choice is all yours in MMA Manager 2021.

mma manager 2021 guide

Despite the lack of real-life fighters and promotions, there is a lot of depth and nuance in this game, and the learning curve may be steeper than you initially think. But fear not if you’re having some trouble figuring things out and winning more matches. Our first of two MMA Manager 2021 strategy guides is specially written for beginner and intermediate players, and it contains all the tips you need to survive your first week of gameplay…and then some.

1. The Basics Of MMA Manager 2021

If you’re looking for a fighting, or combat sports game that doesn’t actually require you to control your characters as they face off against their opponents, then MMA Manager 2021 should be just the game for you. The game is all about choosing the right strategies for your fighters as they compete against human or AI opponents in three-round matches, with each round lasting one minute each.

The tutorial stage will show you how these fights work, first putting you in control of a sample fighter and showing you how to alter your strategy to defend against the AI opponent’s kicks. After that, you’ll be asked to choose your manager and gym name, as well as your nationality — you can go with any names you wish, just as long as you aren’t using any profanities or coarse language!

Next, you’ll have a chance to recruit one of the available fighters with set appearances, names, and weight classes, or create your own. You will then be given 25 points to distribute across all the different attributes — we’ll get to the finer points of building up your fighters later on, but for now, we would suggest leaving about ten points or so for the physical attributes, meaning Strength, Agility, and Conditioning. (Yes, you will realize soon enough that 25 skill points is far from enough!)

mma manager 2021 fighter skills

As we mentioned above, the heart of MMA Manager 2021 is fight strategy, and you can tweak this in the Gameplan window right before a match, or anytime in between matches. Take note that you will only be given so much time to choose a strategy — three minutes is all you get before your game plan is automatically submitted and the bout begins!

We’re going to be delving deeper into the Gameplan window later on in this guide, but you will notice that there are several sliders you will need to adjust during that three-minute window — for starters, you’ll need to choose whether you want to focus on offense or defense or go with a balanced approach, and you’ll have to choose what type of move to defend against, the frequency of different moves you can use in the ring (let’s face it — it’s not really an octagon like what they have in UFC), and the discipline you wish to focus on.

Fortunately, the game keeps it simple — there are various other forms of martial arts that are integrated into modern MMA, but the only disciplines truly represented here are Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai, and wrestling.

The first game mode you’ll be introduced to is Campaign, and this would involve fighting AI opponents of increasing difficulty, with every fifth fighter being a boss character of sorts with superior skills compared to the four other mooks in the crew.

However, you will eventually be far more involved in the Quick Fight mode, which is the mode that allows you to compete against the fighters of other human managers from around the world. The other fight modes include Tournament and Gym vs. Gym, and depending on the mode, wins and losses may or may not count against your higher and your gym’s record.

Related: MMA Manager 2021 Advanced Guide: Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Fighters’ Skills and Dominate Your Opponents

In MMA Manager 2021, there are three primary types of resources you can collect. Cash is the game’s common currency that can be used for buying equipment and hiring trainers, among other purposes, Credits are a premium currency you can mainly use for speeding up training or requesting rematches, and Prestige is earned through the items you purchase; your gym’s Prestige determines whether you qualify for leveling up your gym to a larger one, or entering a specific size tournament in the mode of the same name. Trophies, meanwhile, are not a resource per se, but these determine your gym’s rankings in the worldwide leaderboards — you can win or lose Trophies depending on the result of your Quick Fights.

2. How Do Quick Fights Work?

One of the main selling points of MMA Manager 2021 is the ability to test your wits against managers from all over the world, and that’s why Quick Fight should soon overtake Campaign as your go-to mode in the game. For starters, you will need to select a fighter from your roster, upon which you will be matched up against a fighter who has, in most cases, exactly the same skill points as your chosen fighter.

But before that, you will have three choices in front of you — you can enter a Friendly Fight against a fighter managed by friends you may have added in the game, a fight against an opponent of the same weight class, or a fight against someone of a random weight class (Open Weight Class). The latter two types are the big-money fights that come with a small entry fee in Cash; Friendly Fights earn you 50 Cash per win and are free to enter.

Don’t be fooled by fighters who haven’t fought that often, if at all, but are at the same level as your fighter and, as we just mentioned, have the same number of skill points — it’s not uncommon for managers to solely focus on training certain fighters without ever challenging anyone via Quick Fight. In many cases, they’re ensuring that their fighters are fully formed and properly trained before they ever compete in the ring.

mma manager 2021 opponent

In any case, you have the option to pay 250 Cash to re-roll for another opponent, just in case you feel you might not have much of a chance against the matchmaking system’s choice — when choosing opponents, you will see their win-loss record, as well as their percentage of wins via knockout/TKO, submission, and decision.

We’ll be getting to the strategy part later, but once you’ve made the necessary adjustments, you can start the fight — again, that’s three one-minute rounds, either set in your home gym or that of your opponent. The latter would be randomized, but will play a part in determining how many Trophies you win or lose depending on the outcome of the fight. Your Trophy gains and losses will also be determined by the number of Trophies the opposing gym has — beat a gym that has a lot of Trophies and you get big gains, lose to a gym that only has a handful of Trophies compared to yours and you lose big-time.

And speaking of losing, we can’t help but notice how the game seems to troll losing players in a serious way by posting the word “LOSER” in bright red letters, instead of the much kinder “you lose.” (Then again, you get to see the word “WINNER” in bright yellow letters if you pick up the victory, so we guess they did that for consistency?)

3. The Gameplan Screen – Understanding Each Aspect Of Your Preferred Style

Moving on to your game plan in MMA Manager 2021, it’s important to understand what each slider does and what’s in it for you if you make changes. The game has a very rich set of mechanics when it comes to strategy, and that’s one of its strongest points — the graphics may be cruder than, say, EA Sports UFC’s mobile version, but at least there’s more thinking involved and thousands upon thousands of opponents you can face.

The Approach slider allows you to choose whether you wish to employ a Very Defensive, Defensive, Balanced, Offensive, or Very Offensive style of fighting. These styles are mostly self-explanatory, but you will notice that when you move this slider, the Ground Avoidance, Initiative, Absorption, Damage, and Energy Regeneration bars near the top of the screen will change. The levels of each may vary depending on your fighter’s skills, but generally, you can expect Ground Avoidance, Absorption, and Energy Regeneration to go up as you choose a more defensive approach, and Initiative and Damage to increase as you opt for a more offensive overall game plan.

In most cases, Balanced is the best Approach to use, but if you’re strategizing for a fighter who specializes in BJJ and is therefore more of a deliberate, ground-based fighter, Defensive may be the best choice. Offensive could work if you’re managing a stand-up fighter with high Strength and striking (punches, kicks, etc.) attributes, but we’d still personally go with Balanced, given how flash knockouts can go either way.

mma manager 2021 gameplan

Next, the Striking Defense and Takedown Defense sliders should be adjusted accordingly based on the type of moves your opponent prefers and/or is most effective at using. Don’t leave these too high if you’re employing a Balanced, Offensive, or Very Offensive Approach, as these could decrease Initiative and prove to be counterproductive! Focus Defending simply pertains to the type of move you will mainly be defending against.

The next section allows you to adjust the frequency of your strikes, and your settings here should largely depend on two things — your skills in those specific strikes, and how well your opponent defends against them. There’s not much to discuss here, as this can truly be described as self-explanatory without any question.

Your fighter’s transitions serve as the main focus of the third section, starting with the Transition slider, where you can choose whether to Get off the Ground (i.e. return to a stand-up strategy after a takedown), Neutral (adapt to their current position), Takedown (prioritize, but not over-emphasize takedown attempts), or Takedown All-In (go for the takedown, ask questions later).  Get off the Ground is best used by fighters whose stand-up game is far better than their ground game, while Takedown is ideal for BJJ or wrestling specialists, i.e. submission or ground-and-pound experts, respectively.

Neutral, however, would be the best Transition setting for true, versatile MMA types who are equally deadly on their feet and on the ground. The next two sliders are relatively straightforward; Submission simply refers to the frequency of your submission attempts, Clinch refers to how often you resort to holding your opponent’s arms to slow them down while attempting quick punches in between.

Lastly, the Distance slider has three options — Distance, which allows fighters with strong High Kick or Low Kick attributes to keep a safe enough distance to land accurate strikes, Normal, which is more aggressive and best used in conjunction with a Balanced Approach, and Ground n Pound, which works best if your fighter is solid in Takedowns, Ground Grappling, and Punches.

Last, but not least, the bottom-most section allows you to choose your fighter’s dominant discipline — the only three choices are BJJ, Muay Thai, and Wrestling. You can mix and match all three depending on the strengths and weaknesses of your fighter; BJJ, as mentioned earlier in this guide, is a submission and ground grappling-heavy discipline, Muay Thai is based on stand-up striking, and Wrestling focuses on grappling, clinching, throws, and takedowns, as the game describes it.

4. Review Your Opponents’ Fight Stats Before Choosing A Game Plan

When talking about the strategy aspect of MMA Manager 2021, you’ll need to think more quickly than you normally would in similar fighting games, but avoid rushing things — three minutes may seem like too short of a time to strategize, but once you get used to it, those 180 seconds will eventually feel like more than enough.

Use that time to analyze your opponent’s fight statistics, both on offense and on defense. The “fog of war” element is very much in effect here, and for those who aren’t familiar with the term, that means certain pertinent details about your opponent will always be hidden — in this case, it’s their attributes. The stats from their last fight will also be hidden, further adding to the uncertainty.

mma manager 2021 statistics

All that means you’ll need to go by their career stats, which are very much viewable — for instance, if an opponent has a high success rate for Takedowns and Submissions, you should switch to Submission in the Focus Defending area of the Game Plan page. And if your opponent has a low percentage of High Kicks successfully defended, you should move down and adjust your High Kicks slider to above 80 or so, while reducing the frequency of your other strikes if your opponent is more effective in defending against them.

5. Recruiting Vs. Creating A Fighter – Both Have Their Pros And Cons

In the very first tip, we mentioned that you can recruit one of the pre-made fighters the game has available at any given moment, or create your own — once you’ve established your gym, this option will be available in the Roster menu, and can be accessed by selecting Recruit on the bottom right of the screen. Both options have their share of advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a closer look at them, starting with recruiting a fighter.

At first, there won’t be that much difference between recruiting and creating, but if you recruit one of the stock fighters, the main benefit once your gym has accumulated enough Prestige is that you will be adding someone who already has their skills pretty much filled out to a certain extent, depending on their level. In other words, it’s a plug-and-play situation — if you see fit, you can take a quick look at their attributes and put them out there in a Quick Fight, as opposed to training them a bit so that you don’t end up fielding an unskilled nobody.

recruiting a fighter in mma manager 2021

However, the downside here is that you cannot distribute the skill points these fighters come with, and that you can only edit their name, hairdo, facial hair, and fighting gear after they’ve been recruited. On the other hand, you can view their attributes before committing to recruit them, so if you’re looking for a certain type of fighter, that would still be possible if you choose the Recruit option.

Creating a fighter from scratch, meanwhile, gives you more leeway to be creative — from the get-go, you’ll be allowed to enter not only their name, but also to enter other basic information such as their age, gender, skin color, height, weight, and nationality. Facial hair, hairdos, and other dynamic elements are also very much customizable at the start, though once created, those would be the only things you can edit, aside from the name.

Furthermore, you can distribute your fighter’s skills to your liking by choosing this option. So if you’re looking to create your own version of your favorite MMA fighters, or simply let your creativity shine, this is a good way to start. Unfortunately, creating a fighter will always leave you with a mere 25 skill points to work with, and leave you no choice but to have them start out at level 1, so this may not be the best choice if you prefer working with skilled fighters.

6. Play Campaign Mode For Additional Resources…And A Chance To Relax!

Campaign Mode, as we mentioned in the basics, is the first mode you’ll be introduced to in MMA Manager 2021, and it involves going through crews of five fighters, with four mook or henchman-level characters that will always be much easier to beat than the fifth character, which would be the crew’s boss. Winning a fight in Campaign Mode will earn you some Cash, Credits, and Prestige, though as you’ll find out later, the resources you can win in Campaign Mode pale in comparison to what you can win by defeating human-managed fighters in Quick Fight, or winning Tournaments.

Furthermore, you do not have the option to replay fights you had previously won, which takes grinding out of the equation — take note as well that Campaign progress is linked to that of your gym, and not a specific fighter, which means you cannot restart the campaign if you create a new fighter or switch to another one who hasn’t fought a Campaign fight yet. Still, you’ll want to keep fighting in Campaign Mode from time to time, and here are the reasons why.

mma manager 2021 match breakdown

The primary reason to play Campaign Mode is a chance to kick back for a bit and test your strategy, or see if your fighter’s current build works for you. The stakes in Campaign Mode are very low, if they exist at all — the game will tell you right away that wins and losses in the mode do not count toward your fighter’s record, and you can’t win or lose any Trophies either. As such, this is also a great way to regroup if ever you’re on a run of bad form in Quick Fight.

While wins and losses are not tallied in Campaign Mode, you will still accumulate fighter statistics for your punches, kicks, takedowns, etc. landed, as well as punches, kicks, takedowns, etc. defended. If you choose a strategy in Campaign Mode that is different from the one you usually utilize, that could potentially make you a bit harder to scout, especially if you’re using a fighter who hasn’t seen much action so far.

7. Employ A Good Mix Of Trainers And Coaches

MMA Manager 2021’s in-game Shop is where you’ll want to go to spend that Cash and (on occasion) those Credits you’ve earned, and that’s also where you can hire Gym Trainers and Fight Coaches to help your fighters improve their skills. While all Gym Trainers are classified as such, Fight Coaches have specific disciplines they specialize in (BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, etc.). Both types of staff have their own star ratings that determine how quickly they can improve your fighters and how much they can train them, and they also have various skills they can train.

All these things, as well as their cost in Cash, should give you a good idea whom to hire; staff contracts, although they’re called just that, do not expire. However, it’s also very important to compare each potential new coach or trainer to the fighters you have on your roster — on the right side of each trainer’s information, you’ll see how many skill points they have for the attribute they specialize in; if your fighter’s skill points in that attribute almost match that of the trainer, then it may be best to look for someone else.

mma manager 2021 gym trainers

As you grow your gym and hire more fighters, it’s essential that you have a good mix of Gym Trainers and Fight Coaches at your disposal — make sure you have Gym Trainers to cover each of the three physical attributes, as well as Fight Coaches that, once their specializations are combined, cover each of the attributes on the right side of the Skills screen.

Having the right mix of trainers is one good way to ensure that all your fighters earn enough skill points to level up, thus allowing them to fight for bigger money in Quick Fight mode and qualify for certain perks, including new Talents, as well as a chance to compete in higher-level tournaments, both of which we shall be discussing in our advanced guide!

As a bonus tip, many Fight Coaches are skilled in Boxing Training, BJJ Training, Muay Thai Training, etc., These training sessions allow your fighters to improve in multiple attributes instead of just one, so make sure you’ve got at least a few trainers who specialize in such comprehensive sessions!

8. Higher-Tier Equipment Allows For Faster Improvement And More Prestige

Aside from hiring Gym Trainers and Fight Coaches, you’ll need equipment in order for them to actually start training your fighters in MMA Manager 2021. That’s exactly where you’ll find these items in the Shop — you can go to Equipment, which is subdivided into multiple sections.

One of these sections is Strength, which includes everything from barbells to bench presses to improve that attribute. The Bags section includes punching bags, speed bags, standing dummies, and other items that mainly help improve striking and defensive skills, as well as Agility and Conditioning in some instances.

The Rings section covers a wider range of striking and defensive skills than the Bags, and Cardio, which mainly improves Conditioning through treadmills, exercise bikes, and the like. There are also Miscellaneous items, which include grappling dummies for those all-important BJJ and wrestling-related skills such as Submissions, Submission Defense, Ground Grappling, etc.

mma manager 2021 free standing dummy

Depending on the item’s tier/star rating, each of these various items has a specific Training Speed Bonus and Floor Space, the latter of which needs to be taken into account especially if you have a smaller, lower-level gym. Skill point increases are dependent on the trainers/coaches you hire, so your choice of item should be determined mostly by the Training Speed Bonus, as well as the Prestige/hour and Max Prestige attributes that can also be viewed when you tap on each item.

When not in use, each item accumulates Prestige, so you’ll want to keep tapping on them while you’re actively playing MMA Manager 2021 in order to garner more of this resource. (Additionally, the game’s idle mechanic works by allowing you to collect a progressively larger amount of Cash, depending on how long you’re away from the game — you can watch a video to increase the amount of idle Cash by 50 percent, so that’s another benefit of having several pieces of equipment in your gym — it can increase your idle Cash reward!)

9. Building Your Fighters – Mixed, But Not Too Mixed!

Any fan of mixed martial arts should know that the sport has evolved greatly from the very early UFC events that pitted discipline versus discipline — there is particular emphasis on the word “mixed,” and the best fighters in the sport combine a wide range of martial arts skills that they can unleash at any given moment in the octagon. That means when creating a fighter in MMA Manager 2021 and building them up through training, you shouldn’t make them too one-dimensional.

Having your fighter specialize solely in boxing may leave them vulnerable to opponents who use a lot of takedowns and/or submissions, while a BJJ-only specialist may get knocked out while on their feet if they aren’t able to land a takedown to set up their submissions. Once again, remember what the three letters in MMA stand for — mixed martial arts, with “mixed” being the operative word.

mma manager 2021 brawlers inc

On the other hand, you don’t want to turn your fighter into a jack-of-all-trades that is pretty solid in several areas but not exceptional in any. While this may make your fighter harder for opposing managers to scout, assuming you mix up your strategies in every fight, the downside is that you may not be strong enough in a certain area to truly stand out — you may lack the punching or kicking skills to knock out an opponent with high defensive attributes for punches and kicks, and you may not be able to take down an opponent who has high Takedown Defense.

Keeping that in mind, you should single out one specific area of specialization as the one where your fighter will stand out the most, while making sure most of their other attributes are regularly upgraded through training. In short, the key here is to make sure their skillsets are mixed, but not too mixed.

10. How To Optimize Your Training

Training your fighters is, without any exception, the only way to make them better, but unlike in the real world, there IS a shortcut to big gains when it comes to your training regimens. By that, we mean the option to watch a maximum of two ad videos a day to instantly complete all training sessions. Make good use of this feature by setting up Long training sessions for everybody in your gym, then watching an ad by tapping on the fast forward icon on the lower left part of the main screen.

Do this twice and watch those skill points add up for each and every one of your fighters. You can set up a third regimen of long training sessions before going to sleep — assuming your sleeping hours are normal, you should wake up in time for the sessions to be done, or at least wake up to see that the sessions are about an hour or two away from completion.

mma manager 2021 training optimization

If you haven’t been training your fighters in a while, their Boost bars will gradually fill up; the greater the Boost, the bigger gains you can get if you opt for Short training sessions!  We suggest making the most out of your Boosts during those times when you’re awake and have a lot of free time on your hands.

Most Short training sessions will be done in less than 10 minutes anyway, so if you’re itching to get back in the ring, you need not wait that long. Best of all, think of the comparatively big attribute gains you can enjoy in such a short period of time. (The obvious caveat is that you cannot use Boost for Long training, but it’s a fair enough trade-off, if you ask us!)

11. Complete The Quests To Earn More Cash, Credits, And Prestige

You may be wondering about the best way to add to the Cash and Credits you can earn in MMA Manager 2021, considering how higher-tier equipment and staff members could set you back by thousands of Cash, and in some cases, a few hundred Credits. The answer to this question is quite easy — tap on the Quests button to view your daily tasks and see how close you are to achieving them.

mma manager 2021 quests

Each quest can earn you some Cash, Credits, and/or Prestige, with the amount of each varying based on how difficult the task is, but the one you’ll want to complete as often as possible is the Win Some Fights Today quest. This should be incentive enough for anyone to play as many Quick Fights as possible in a day, as you’ll get a nominal Cash reward once you’ve won five fights in a day, and an even bigger one (10,000 Cash) if you reach the 20-win mark before 8 p.m. Eastern time., which is the cutoff for all daily quests in the game.

On top of that, you can win even more Cash (15,000), as well as five Credits and 500 Prestige, for the first time in a day that you win a Gym vs. Gym fight, which we’ll be covering shortly in our advanced guide. Winning five Gym vs. Gym fights gets you 25,000 Cash and 1,000 Prestige, so make sure to check that mode out if you want to earn more common currency faster!

12. The Trial Event Is Also A Great Way To Earn More Resources

Now we’re not sure how long this event is active after you install MMA Manager 2021, but the game calls it a “Trial Event,” and it resets on a weekly basis. As you’ll see once you tap on the gold-medal shaped Trial Event icon, you can earn Cash and Credits in various categories for six of the seven days of the week, starting with daily login rewards of 1,000 Cash and five Credits each.

Manager-specific tasks in this event include winning a certain number of weight class-specific or open weight fights, while Progress-specific tasks refer to manager career milestones, such as beating a specific crew in Campaign Mode or owning so many fighters of a certain level. Lastly, Business-specific tasks are more centered on earning and spending money and the size of your gym. Take note that there will always be three out of those four types of task available per day.

mma manager 2021 weekly reward

In addition to Cash and Credits, you will also earn Activity Points for each task you complete in the Trial Event — that’s ten Activity Points per task, to be specific. Earn enough Activity Points and you can open the chests that can be found on the top of the Trial Event screen; each chest contains a progressively higher amount of Cash, Credits, and Prestige, with the final chest containing 100,000 Cash, 100 Credits, and 5,000 Prestige as a reward for scoring 320 Activity Points.

You can keep earning Activity Points once you’ve reached the 320-point mark, though unfortunately, there wouldn’t be any more chests to open even if you’ve gone far beyond 320. If it’s any consolation, we did mention that each task comes with a reward, so you can look forward to those smaller injections of Cash and Credits in any case.

And that would be all for now as far as our MMA Manager 2021 tips and tricks are concerned. If you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!