EA Bruce Lee

EA Sports UFC: 5 Fighters We Wish Were Included

With the EA Sports UFC release just out on the horizon as the incumbent mixed martial arts video game property after the likes of UFC Undisputed, the sport is looking to reinvigorate enthusiasm from gamers. In an effort to strike a chord with MMA fans and their inner man fantasies (or man-tasies, if you will), Electronics Arts recently announced the addition of the legendary Bruce Lee as a bonus character. While the game won’t offer you the chance to recreate your favorite Lee moments from the likes of his films, such as Game of Death or Enter the Dragon, it will allow players to act in his spirit, as he was often known to innovate from the basis of several other martial arts styles.

His Jeet Kune Do methods make for a fantastic marriage with Ultimate Fighting’s preferred recipe of fighters that can maintain a balance between finesse and power. Granted, most hardcore UFC gamers will typically spend hours or even days learning combinations, building strategies and perfecting defenses, only to be KO’d 15 seconds into the first round from a wild haymaker. Mechanically, EA Sports UFC looks to operate in the same vein as EA’s Fight Night series did, with obvious concessions made to MMA’s heavy use of full contact wrestling and submission holds.

Undoubtedly though, there’s nothing quite as frenzy-building in the sport as a flash attack that leaves one competitor seeing stars. With all the gusto of a walk-off home run in baseball, the knockout is a desired commodity for the endgame of every match. So that got us thinking. If the developers found the legacy of Bruce Lee worthy of resurrection inside EA Sports UFC, what other masters of the action genre could possibly have a shot at following in The Dragon’s footsteps? Additionally, what method of madness would these men use to guarantee victory?

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris

Despite all the memes and tropes, Norris is still a credible reference as a martial artist. Chuck was a decorated karate champion in the 60’s and got his start in film around the same time as Bruce Lee, even playing Lee’s rival in the film Way of the Dragon. Like Lee as well, Norris developed his own martial arts style, called Chun Kuk Do, and could use it as his standard move set in the game.

Diehard fans may come looking for comical antics in Chuck’s corner. For every player yearning to hear Bruce Lee screech with every blow thrown, they would just as easily anticipate for Chuck Norris’ beard to grow a fist of its own to deliver a match-ender. Naturally, younger generations may also may have an easier time establishing a connection with the Walker, Texas Ranger star based on his unusual internet immortality.

The Norris knockout of choice: A good old fashioned spin kick that may pop a few extremities out of place.

Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme

From 1976 to 1982, Van Damme had successful career records in both competitive karate (18-1) and kickboxing (44-4). Van Damme is a black belt in Shotokan, which is a widely practiced and traditional form of karate. Of all the characters listed here, JCVD would have the most realistic leg up on the competition based on his resume.

Films of his, such as the Bloodsport series, depict a somewhat “wild man” mentality reminiscent of UFC fighters of old like the Shamrock Brothers. Pre-fight introductions would show a calm, cold, steely veneer that pops like a firecracker at the sound of the opening bell. While some gamers may have mixed emotions with regards to Jean-Claude’s time spent as the embodiment of Guile in the original live action Street Fighter film, he should be welcomed as an Ultimate Fighting unlockable.

The Van Damme knockout of choice: Somewhere after performing a mid-air spread eagle in the match, we see a flurry of hammerfists guaranteed to put anyone out on Dream Street.

Tony Jaa

Tony Jaa

With some of the stiffest fight sequences ever seen in film, Tony Jaa has all the makings of a visceral cage fighter. Jaa is a Muay Thai master, best showcased by his sequences in the Ong-Bak & Protector movie franchises. This gives him a distinct sense of belonging, as it has grown to be a globally accepted & popular style used in professional mixed martial arts.

The use of Muay Thai controls in previous UFC games has not typically been geared towards beginners. If a player would want to succeed with Jaa, it would require a little more time and attention learning the intricacies of clinch grappling and tense submission attempts. Tony Jaa would not be a button-masher’s delight and, especially as a former monk himself, would require Buddhist concentration.

The Jaa knockout of choice: After falling victim to a barrage of short, swift kicks and elbows, bedtime is ensured after a thunderous flying knee strike to the head.

Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen

Yen has a pedigree to work with as his mother is a grandmaster. Yen is believed to be a driving force for MMA becoming popular in the Chinese culture. Though he is probably the least known person on this list, he is also probably the most well-versed fighter with knowledge of nearly every major discipline used by current UFC fighters. Additionally, Yen has been a major advocate of the UFC’s presence in Asia and has insisted he would have pursued in a career in it had his acting career not taken off or if recurring injuries hadn’t kept him sidelined physically.

Yen is widely credited for bringing mixed martial arts into the mainstream by choreographing dozens of MMA feats in many of his recent films. His performances as Bruce Lee’s iconic master Ip Man in cinema add credence to Donnie Yen’s undeniable poise and believability as a combatant of the Octagon. He is notably skilled in a wide variety of martial arts, developing skills in boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo, Muay Thai, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wing Chun, and Wushu.

The Yen knockout of choice: Lulling them into a false sense of security, the opponent will attempt to throw a punch at what they believe is an opening right before getting a foot wrapped around the side of their face with a textbook roundhouse.

Jet Li

Jet Li

This diminutive brawler is still quite the striker with a choreographed ferocity that isn’t dependent on incorporating stunts. Li has been trained in a myriad of martial arts formats and has been a dedicated lifetime student. Especially given his size and stature, Jet is the top candidate for a fighter that would be usable in the lighter weight classes. This plays well into UFC fandoms as there are vested interests in certain classes based solely on what is typical of their action profiles.

Li may have won over interests with talented displays of prop choreography or wire-assisted showdowns, but his physical abilities are still apparent and unmistakable. He is the perfect underdog archetype, following a pedigree of fighters that are often demeaned for their size but lauded for an uncanny force of will. Appearances may be deceiving for this Expendables cog, but Jet is keen enough to use this to his advantage.

The Li knockout of choice: Given his physical attributes, we would believe in stealing a page out of the playbook of current UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis with a maneuver coined as the Showtime Kick.



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