UFC 4: Complete Grapple Guide, Tips and Tricks to Grappling

Find out how to grapple, how to defend grapples, and the best fighters at grappling in UFC 4.


On 14 August, EA Sports’ UFC 4 finally officially released for the world to play. Fans are bursting with anticipation to play as their favorite athletes, and you should be too!

Each new and improved UFC game offers fans the experience to play as some of the sport’s very best strikers, grapplers, and submission specialists.


After covering both the striking and clinching facets of the game, we are once again bringing you a complete guide; this time focused on grappling.

Continue reading if you wish to discover how to control and submit your opponent on the ground in UFC 4, along with numerous tips and tricks to help you along the way.

What is grappling in UFC 4?

Grappling is a close-range form of hand-to-hand combat that involves gaining a physical advantage over an opponent.

The main aim of grappling within a fight is to advance position and inflict enough damage to finish, whether that be by knockout or submission.

Mixed martial artists often shine in one particular area – Robbie Lawler on his feet, or Kamaru Usman in the clinch, for example. This carries over to grappling also, as fighters such as Demian Maia are terrific in this department.

Why grapple in UFC 4?

The art of grappling plays a critical role – whether that be through wrestling, jiu-jitsu, or sambo moves – in just about every MMA bout.

If a participant is unable to defend a takedown or counter-sweep their opponent, they will almost always lose control.

If you are familiar with the UFC games and have played online, you’ll have likely come across players who have the ability to pin you on the mat while ground-and-pounding you into oblivion.

These scenarios are very frustrating; therefore, you must learn how to defend and attack other players while grappling.

Full UFC 4 grappling controls on PS4 and Xbox One

Below, you will find the full list of grappling controls in UFC 4, which includes how to wrap-up a submission.

In the UFC 4 grappling controls below, L and R represent the left and right analogue sticks on either console controller.

Ground grapplingPS4Xbox One
Advanced Transition/GNP ModifierL1LB
Grapple StickRR
Get-upL (flick upwards)L (flick upwards)
SubmissionL (flick left)L (flick left)
Ground and PoundL (flick right)L (flick right)
Defend TransitionR2 + R R2 + LRT + R RT + L
TransitionRR
Additional TransitionsL1 + RLB + R
Head MovementR (left and right)R (left and right)
Post DefenseL1 + R (left and right)LB + R (left and right)
Ground and Pound ControlPS4Xbox One
Head MovementR (left and right)R (left and right)
High BlockR2 (tap)RT (tap) 
Low BlockL2 +R2 (tap) LT + RT (tap)
Body ModifierL2 (tap)LT (tap)
Defense PostL1 + R (left and right)L1 + R (left and right)
Lead Body KneeX (tap)A (tap)
Back Body KneeO (tap)B (tap)
Lead ElbowL1 + R1 + Square (tap)LB + RB + X (tap)
Back ElbowL1 + R1 + Triangle (tap)LB + RB + Y (tap)
Lead StraightSquare (tap)X (tap)
Back StraightTriangle (tap)Y (tap)
Lead HookL1 + Square (tap)LB + X (tap)
Back HookL1 + Triangle (tap)LB + Y (tap)

READ MORE: UFC 4: Complete Controls Guide for PS4 and Xbox One

UFC 4 grappling tips and tricks

In UFC 4, mastering the grappling controls are essential in all modes of the game; whether in career or online, you will encounter grappling aces.

Here are some tips and tricks to improve your grappling game in UFC 4.

How do you grapple in UFC 4?

There are two ways in which you can initiate a grapple in UFC 4. You can either take the opponent to the mat (L2 + Square on PS4, LT + X on Xbox One) or initiate the clinch (R1 + Square/Triangle on PS4, RB + X/Y on Xbox One). From the mat or from within a clinch, you can start grappling.

EA’s designers claim that grappling, in general, has been simplified in UFC 4. However, it’s actually quite complicated to get the hang of.

So, practice how to grapple in UFC 4 as once you get to grips with the controls, it’s a pretty powerful tool.

How to defend against grappling in UFC 4

If you find yourself taken to ground in UFC 4, prioritizing defense is vital. Most offensive grapplers you’ll come up against will be looking to get to work straight away by advancing position or posturing up, where they can land fierce ground and pound. So, defense should be the first thing on your mind.

To defend against grapples use head movement (R stick, flick left and right) and time your get-ups (L stick, flick upwards) to help you escape the submission prowess of jiu-jitsu experts.

When’s the best time to grapple in UFC 4?

When on the mat, stamina is key in UFC 4, and is something that you should definitely keep your eye on when scrapping.

Let’s say you are trying to get back to your feet or submit your opponent with a guillotine choke, stamina is the number one thing that will help you achieve this.

To do either of these things well and with relative ease, make sure that your stamina bar is above half.

You can save your stamina by throwing fewer strikes and defending your adversary’s transitions (R2 + R stick, RT + R stick). On top of saving your own stamina, protecting your fighter will also reduce their stamina.

Selecting the right fighter for grappling

It’s no secret that some athletes in UFC 4 have worse grappling stats than others, hence why you should pick your character accordingly.

Your takedown, grappling, and submission defense are the three attributes that’ll lend you a helping hand when pitched against talented grapplers in the game.

Instead of picking a full-fledged striker like Paulo Costa or Francis Ngannou, consider a more well-rounded option, such as flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.

The Brazilian is well-versed in every area of the game and will undoubtedly be able to keep the fight on its feet (if you time your movements correctly).

Who are the best grapplers in UFC 4?

In the table below, you will find a list of the game’s very best overall grapplers in each weight division.

UFC 4 FighterWeight Division
Rose Namajunas/Tatiana SuarezStrawweight
Valentina ShevchenkoWomen’s Flyweight
Amanda NunesWomen’s Bantamweight
Demetrious JohnsonFlyweight
Henry CejudoBantamweight
Alexander Volkanovski/Max HollowayFeatherweight
Khabib NurmagomedovLightweight
Georges St PierreWelterweight
Yoel Romero/Jacare SouzaMiddleweight
Jon JonesLight Heavyweight
Daniel CormierHeavyweight

Use grappling to your advantage in UFC 4, but perhaps more importantly, learn how to defend against the potentially fight-ending maneuvers.

Looking for More UFC 4 Guides?

UFC 4: Complete Controls Guide for PS4 and Xbox One

UFC 4: Complete Submissions Guide, Tips and Tricks for Submitting Your Opponent

UFC 4: Complete Clinch Guide, Tips and Tricks to Clinching

UFC 4: Complete Striking Guide, Tips and Tricks for Stand-up Fighting

UFC 4: Complete Takedown Guide, Tips and Tricks for Takedowns

UFC 4: Best Combinations Guide, Tips and Tricks for Combos


Steven Rae

Steven is an avid gamer and enjoys mixing his love of sports with the world of gaming. On top of writing for Outsider Gaming, he focuses on the combat sports world, where he is known as both a journalist and analyst.

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