Heavy Hands

Stephen Thompson was always going to be a dangerous matchup for Johny Hendricks, but who could have imagined that he would so utterly dominate the former UFC welterweight champion?

Distance management was the key to Wonderboy's victory on Saturday, and that's the topic of our show today. We talk about how Thompson used his keen control of the distance to keep Hendricks at bay, keep himself off the fence, and ultimately walk "Bigg Rigg" into a series of devastating counters.

The larger question is whether Thompson, with his striking-based American Kenpo style, is an outlier, or a forerunner of a new breed of welterweights. In the post-GSP era, we discuss how the division may be on the cusp of a striking breakthrough. 

Direct download: 90_wonderboy_wins.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:19am EST

Lots of things to break down this week! 

First off, Ryan Bader witnessed the epic implosion of his dearest hopes and dreams when Anthony "Rumble" Johnson finished him in the first ground. As soon as they're done peeling "Darth" off the canvas, he'll have a lot more refining and hard work to do yet before he gets a shot at the division's title. 

Next, it's on to "Super" Sage Northcutt, who found his kryptonite in the form of young journeyman Bryan Barberena. Barberena was durable, unflappable, and able to force Sage into the kind of prolonged exchanges in which he can't just athlete his way to victory. We get into the reasons behind Northcutt's loss, and the ways he can improve in the future. Following through on his plan to train at Tristar MMA would be a great start.

We wrap up the topical analysis Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson, a fantastic welterweight fight between two bafflingly underrated fighters, before answering a few questions from you, our lovely listeners. 

 

Direct download: 89_hendricks_wonderboy.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:51am EST

You may not like Anthony Johnson. You may not care about Ryan Bader. When you really look at it, though, the matchup between them is extremely compelling. 

Bader is the unremarkable personality who never stops improving. He faces Johnson on the heels of the three best wins of his career, all over top 10 light heavyweights. Johnson is an interesting--some might say "repulsive"--personality, but he is better known for his ridiculous knockout power. He is also known for being a front-runner who loses when fights don't go as planned. 

So when the two meet, we will have what Pat terms a "two true outcome" fight. Does Bader turn "Rumble" into "Crumble," or does he run headlong into a new ceiling and suffer yet another spectacular finish? Only time will tell. 

In the latter half of the show, we talk prospect development a la "Super" Sage Northcutt, and technical leg-kicking a la Tarec Saffiedine. Plus, the mid-tier middleweight oddness of Rafael Natal vs Kevin Casey. Check it out. 

Direct download: 88_mp3.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:51pm EST

Controversial decisions are the stock and trade of close fights between elite fighters. When two top level athletes go head to head, a close contest is the best thing you could possibly hope for--and yet half of us are left unsatisfied when the decision is announced. 

In an effort to combat this unfortunate truth. we aren't discussing the scoring of Dillashaw vs Cruz on this episode of Heavy Hands. In fact, we complain more about Pettis-Alvarez than we do the main event. Instead, we vie to appreciate this fight for what it was: an incredible display of technical skill, toughness, and pure fighting talent. 

The ups and downs, the adjustments, the defensive virtuosity--all of that and more is on the table this week, plus a breakdown of Pettis-Alvarez and a few frustrated words about a sad situation involving fighter-cum-analyst Kenny Florian. Check it out.

Direct download: 87_dillashaw_cruz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:36am EST

This week on Heavy Hands, we're delving into one of the most anticipated matchups of the last two years. It was a surprise when TJ Dillashaw smashed Renan Barao to become the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, but since then his place at the top of the pecking order has been fully accepted. Accepted that is, by everyone but Dominick Cruz, one of the few ex-champions in UFC history never to have lost his belt in the Octagon. Returning from yet another injury layoff, Cruz will attempt to remind us just why he was such a dominant champion five years ago, while Dillashaw will vie to represent the new breed with style and grace. 

Goodness, it's a great matchup. 

After breaking that down, we move on to the co-main event battle between former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, and former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, another fantastic fight between elite strikers. 

The man to beat Anthony Pettis in yet another stunning upset was Rafael Dos Anjos, and we wrap up the show discussing him and fighters like him. Daniel Cormier, Demetrious Johnson, Conor McGregor . . . Pressure fighters seem to be swarming the upper echelons of this sport, and we ponder their tremendous effectiveness before sifting through the rankings of each division in search of the styles to defeat them. 

 

Direct download: 86_dillashaw_cruz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:15pm EST

Yeah, yeah, the judges' decision was unsatisfying to many, but let us not forget what really matters: Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit was absolutely insane, a back-and-forth fight that culminated in one of the craziest rounds any of us has ever seen. Lawler put on a vintage performance--maybe a little too vintage in some ways--and Condit fought masterfully. We break it all down on today's episode of Heavy Hands. 

After that, it's on to the night's other highlights. Namely, Dustin Poirier exceeded expectations, as did his entire fight with Irish Joe Duffy. Poirier's wrestling and MMA-integrated grappling has come along in leaps and bounds, and it brought him to victory against an extremely tough, if somewhat untested, opponent. Albert Tumenov and Lorenz Larkin put on a tremendous fight as well, with both men exceeding and defying expectations. 

All of that and more on this latest episode of Heavy Hands.

Direct download: 85_ufc_195_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:55am EST

Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit are both fascinating fighters, and their UFC 195 clash could very well end up being one of the greatest fights in welterweight history. Both Condit and Lawler welcome the blood and the guts of combat with open arms; and yet both are intelligent, crafty fighters with undeniable skill. Their fight will be a contest of adaptation, and we spend the bulk of this week's episode sussing out the different ways in which these two great warriors adapt. 

In scouting this fight, we also examine what we consider the best and worst qualities of each fighter. After that it's on to Lorenz Larkin vs Albert Tumenov (don't mind the sound of drool hitting the mic) and the fortunately rescheduled Dustin Poirier vs Joe Duffy, both phenomenal action fights. 

The show wraps up with a few questions from our listeners.

Direct download: 84_lawler_condit.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:59pm EST

Rafael Dos Anjos got it done against Donald Cerrone, and it only took about a minute, cementing him as the rightful lightweight champion and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. In addition to the stunning killer instinct Dos Anjos displayed, we break down Alistair Overeem's slick win over Junior Dos Santos, and Nate Diaz's triumphant return to form against tough-luck would-be contender Michael Johnson. 

But enough about what just happened. UFC on Fox 17 was the last UFC event of 2015, and it was a year full of great fights and shocking upsets. Next week we'll be looking ahead to UFC 195, but on this episode we remember the year in mixed martial arts, and name our picks for the best of 2015. Best fighter, best fight, best upset--these and more are discussed in detail on the latest Heavy Hands. 

 

Direct download: 83_2015_awards.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:39am EST

Greatest fight in featherweight history! One of the most skilled fighters to ever step foot in the ring or cage defends his title against the most dangerous contender he's ever--what's that? It's over already? Oh. 

Huh.

It took Conor McGregor a mere 13 seconds to lay 10-time champion Jose Aldo out flat on the canvas and emphatically declare himself the best featherweight in the world. On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we ask how much we can really take away from such a quick and one-sided victory, get a little sentimental about the potential end of Jose Aldo's career, and break down the tactics--well, tactic that McGregor used to get the KO. 

After that it's on to Luke Rockhold, who put a beatdown on middleweight champion Chris Weidman, and Frankie Edgar, who made us look like fools for doubting him--again

Finally, we give our predictions for next week's lightweight title fight between newly crowned champion Rafael Dos Anjos and fan favorite Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Should be a good one!

Direct download: 82_conor_mcgregor_new_champ.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:35am EST

Jose Aldo is fighting Conor McGregor in the biggest fight in UFC featherweight history. What more is there to say? 

Well, a lot actually. And on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we try our very best to say all of it. With so many variables at play, our main goal is to come up with a gameplan for each of the two combatants. We lay out three keys for Aldo to defend his belt, as well as three keys for McGregor to take it for himself. How does Aldo deal with McGregor's pressure and volume? How does McGregor deal with Aldo's variety, experience, and defense? And who wins? 

We discuss all of this in detail, as well as giving our analysis and predictions for Frankie Edgar vs Chad Mendes and Max Holloway vs Jeremy Stephens, two other extremely relevant featherweight fights taking place the same weekend. 

Direct download: 81_aldo_mcgregor.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:37pm EST

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