The latest installment of the official UFC video game is predicting that light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will retain his belt at UFC 210.
For years, we’ve seen video games evolve as a medium to a point we may not have been able to forsee. And now, they’ve given us a glimpse of what may be possible ahead of fights such as tomorrow night’s main event at UFC 210.
An annual tradition around Super Bowl season is for video game and football fans to run simulations of the game in hopes of getting an idea how things will play out. Not only that, but we’ve seen games predict the winner, but come eerily close to the final score.
Released close to a year ago, EA Sports UFC 2 continued the line of MMA-themed video games for the current generation of consoles. And much like the EA Madden series, these games have been used to predict the results of upcoming fights via simulation mode by selecting two characters to fight each other without player input – exclusively under CPU control. The AI bases what will happen using in-game stats, fighter movesets and known skills as well as tendencies.
The UFC and EA have done this quite frequently as of late for some of their bigger fights, such as Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping 2, or Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez. In some instances, the results aren’t accurate at all, such as the Rockhold/Bisping 2 simulation that had Rockhold winning by headkick knockout in the first round (a jumping headkick, at that). Or in the case of Amanda Nunes vs Ronda Rousey, where the game had Rousey winning by armbar after some exchanges on the feet.
Other times, we see the simulation predict the wrong result but the correct winner. For example, the simulation did predict that Germaine de Randamie would defeat Holly Holm by knockout, not by decision. The game’s AI also predicted Conor McGregor would knock out Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, but the simulation ended with a McGregor capoeira kick to the head instead of punches.
While it’s hard to predict these things, as MMA is a very random sport with many factors that a simulation may not be able to predict, it’s still interesting when they get it right. The third fight between Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz was correctly predicted to be a decision win for Cruz with some of his signature moves.
For now, EA’s system gives us a prognosis in which Daniel Cormier smothers Anthony Johnson after getting the better of him in most of the striking encounters. The simulated match ends in a TKO victory for Cormier to keep his belt after a hard fought battle. We’ll see how things turn out in real life soon enough.