This game has been considerably overlooked since its release yet I do consider it to be the best video game representation of MMA out there.
The control scheme is nicely responsive and striking with the analog stick allows you to put together some really fluid and satisfying combinations. Also for those who are not big fans of using the sticks to strike, there is an option to use the face buttons to punch and kick. Counter punching is slick and landing a flash KO is ultimately satisfying.
The ground game is simplified in comparison to the UFC games but works quite nicely using X to advance position and O to defend your position (default controls). The ground game isn't perfect by any means buts its simplicity allows players unfamiliar with the sport to get to grips with the more complicated aspects of MMA. Each fighter in the game has "special moves" making each feel different from the other. Submissions in this game are also done very well. Each submission battle results in a separate mini game for neck, arm and leg submissions which is so much better than the button bashing which have featured in other MMA games.
The graphics are well presented, particularly for the more prominent fighters. Blood looks realistic as does bruising which really does add to the atmosphere of the fight.
The major weakness in this game is the roster. It features some great fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture, Nick Diaz, Alistair Overeem etc. Its also nice to see some legends such as Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock and Bas Rutten. Unfortunately, behind these names are also a bunch of mid-tier names and some I haven't even heard of. Fortunately they had the initiative to add a fighter share mode which allows you to download "create a fighters" from other players around the world. This allows you to get some the bigger names of MMA on the roster which this game sorely misses.
One thing I did find disappointing was the lack of game modes. The game features a tutorial mode, Exhibition mode, career mode and an online mode. It would have been nice to see some tournament options and championship modes. Career mode is surprisingly fun for a game like this. Based on the last two UFC career mode offerings, I would say the career mode in EA MMA is better than it has any right to be! Bas Rutten guides you through your career and you can train your fighter in a number of different diciplines. Though not perfect it is enjoyable enough to play through. However the career mode is once again severely hampered by the lack of the big name fighters.
The best thing about this game is the inclusion of the option to play under Vale Tudo rules or Japanese rules as well as unified and Strikeforce rules. This means there are soccer kicks and stomps. This also comes with the option to fight in a boxing ring or cage.
The online mode is also a lot of fun. This is where you find the real challenge. Although the online mode has had its share of problems with glitches and exploits, I also find that lag is a rarity. Of course the game keeps track of your records for those interested. This is where the game truly shines.
Overall I would not say this game is a perfect simulation of the sport. However it is the best you will find out there right now. Considering its current price, I cannot recommend this game enough.