Clinch Spar: Cardio
The object here is to push your sparring partner up against the cage, and deal out some damage. It’s a better version of the Cage Control drill because here, blows count struck from anywhere in the octagon as long as you are in the clinch. Clinch striking/grappling offense and defense will improve, as does takedown offense and defense.
Ground and Pound Spar: Strength
Exclusively for fighters who like to take things down to the mat, the Ground and Pound session will benefit ground striking offense and defense, along with takedown and ground top grappling offenses and defenses. While it’s a good sparring session, the Transition Drill actually improves two of your attributes instead of just one, so there are slightly better benefits to the easier task.
Ground Top Spar: Cardio
Again, for those fighters that are looking to strengthen their resolve in dominant positions on the mat, Ground Top Spar will be a favorite. This is one of the few sessions that will help improve your submission offense and defense, while also boosting your ground top grappling offense and defense. This sparring session is great to throw in the mix every once in a while to make sure you are continuing to improve submission and ground defenses.
Ground Bottom Spar: Cardio
The exact inverse of the Ground Top Spar, you will be put on the bottom, less dominant ground position beneath an opponent. You’ll have to work at escaping and dealing damage. Again, one of the few drills that allows for improvement in the submission statistics, you will want to mix this session in every few fights as well. This is especially true if you keep finding yourself on your back, or being reversed on the ground.
Takedown Spar: Strength
All you have to do here is continually work for the takedown against a sparring partner. This is one of the best drills for building up takedown defense exclusively. If you’re looking for more benefits though, the Takedown Defense drill does offer more improvements in different attribute categories.
Submission Spar: Cardio
This is one of the easiest sparring sessions available. Merely attempting and completing a submission will earn you points. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the new submission mini-game, and builds up your submission offense and defense almost exclusively. Unfortunately, repeated training here will cause a decrease in standing strikes offense.
When training, it’s important to stick to exercises that benefit your fighter. If you chose to create a boxer, training in takedowns and submissions shouldn’t be as high a priority as training in striking and clinch drills. That’s not to say you shouldn’t train in those aspects at all, but for every three training sessions you do for a specialized skill of yours, you should try to sneak in one that will improve an aspect that your fighter isn’t quite as strong in. Fortunately, this year also offers the new Gameplanning option, which is a short-term fix for not being fully prepared for a fight.