Wed, 7 October 2015
There are a lot of things to unpack following UFC 192, as we knew there would be. A card so loaded with meaningful matchups unsurprisingly had its share of meaningful results, and on this week's episode of Heavy Hands we discuss the most interesting ones.
The title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson was stupendous and troubling in the way that all truly great fights are. While Gustafsson defied those who counted him out as we predicted he would, he may also have confirmed some of our fears about his mental state following a crushing knockout defeat at the hands of Anthony Johnson last year. Daniel Cormier, on the other hand, dealt with Gustafsson's size better than we ever expected, and proved himself to be the very best at light heavyweight--except for Jon Jones, now hungrily waiting in the wings.
In the co-feature, Ryan Bader put the pieces together. After a difficult evolution as a striker, including the loss of a coach that had only begun to make marked improvements to Ryan's boxing skills, the light heavyweight division's least-remembered man finally got the marquee win he has lacked for so long, using beautiful timing to disrupt the rhythm of Rashad Evans en route to a lopsided decision win over the returning veteran.
And Albert Tumenov . . . my God, Albert Tumenov did some nasty things to Alan Jouban on the undercard. Is he the best boxer at welterweight? Only time will tell, but we have our thoughts. All of that and more on this episode of Heavy Hands.
Tue, 29 September 2015
UFC 192 is, across the board, the most well-matched card of 2015. So far, the bettors and bookies have no idea what to make of it, as the entire event seems riddled with live dogs, questionable favorites, and otherwise close matchups.
Among those is the main event, which sees UFC light heavyweight title holder Daniel Cormier put his belt on the line against former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson. Both Gustafsson and Cormier have proven their worth in competitive bouts against former champion Jon Jones, though most remember Gustafsson's as being just a little more competitive than Cormier's. Gustafsson has also proven himself to be one of the finest anti-wrestlers in the division, a skillset which serves to back up his crisp outside boxing game. So why is Cormier nearly a 4-to-1 favorite in some books?
In addition to our full breakdown of that matchup, Patrick and I have other picks that may surprise you, and we devote time to the most promising bouts on the card, including Alan Jouban vs Albert Tumenov, Joseph Benavidez vs Ali Bagautinov, Rose Namajunas vs Angela Hill, and Yair Rodriguez vs Dan Hooker.
Tue, 22 September 2015
On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, Patrick Wyman and I are breaking down one of combat sport's most confounding styles: the brawler.
Already on this show we've looked at some of the classic boxing archetypes that exist across the board in fighting sports, including boxer-punchers, out-fighters, pressure fighters, and more. Understanding the mindsets that go into these styles is always a tricky thing, but they are all relatively well defined. Not so with the oddball of the group, the brawler.
Brawlers come in many shapes and sizes, but they are universally defined by their willingness to take damage to dish out damage. Whether this is the result of poor discipline, extreme self-confidence, or even a pathological desire to do others maximum physical harm we're not quite sure, but we look through some of history's most legendary brawlers in an attempt to get at the mentality that makes the archetype tick.
We talk Justin Gaethje and Rocky Marciano, Manny Pacquiao and Chan Sung Jung. Can a brawler be the best in the world? That depends on your definition, but our conclusions might surprise you.
Wed, 16 September 2015
In the aftermath of the latest hearing of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, we're celebrating a career that very commission may have just ended. Facing a five-year suspension from mixed martial arts competition, it's possible that Nick Diaz could never be seen in the Octagon again. And that's a shame.
We're looking back at some of Diaz's best performances and celebrating the innovative aspects of a style that has often been derided or ignored altogether. Diaz's pace, his volume striking, his clinch fighting--all of these make him an important figure in the history of MMA.
After that it's on to Bellator Dynamite, a combination MMA and kickboxing event that features an excellent light heavyweight tournament. Alongside ex-UFC fighter Phil Davis and King Mo Lawal, Emanuel Newton stands as the most interesting man in the tournament, as well as one of the most interesting men in the entire division. We try to understand the absolute weirdness of Newton's style, an approach that shouldn't work but does, over and over again.
We're not sure how he'll do in the tournament, but we'll be tuning in to find out, because Emanuel Newton's is a weirdness worth watching.
Wed, 9 September 2015
Demetrious Johnson is undeniably one of the best to ever do it. The UFC's first and only flyweight champion recently outdid himself in a rematch with John Dodson. The man who had previously proven to be the most threatening challenger to Johnson's throne was summarily beaten in every phase. Johnson out-clinched, out-wrestled, and out-struck Dodson for twenty five minutes, making him look like an amateur rather than the man who had knocked Johnson down three times in their first fight.
And yet no one cares. Is it his size? Is it his dispassionate, technical mastery? Is it his generally agreeable personality? We ask these questions and more, and try to get at the heart of Johnson's brilliant fighting style in the process.
Then, it's on to the upsets. Both Pat and I were very unsuccessful with our predictions for this card, and no result was more surprising than the first-round knockout of Francisco Rivera by John Lineker, who proved himself a brawler worth fearing. Finally, we talk Felder vs Pearson, and the concept of layered offense--and specifically how Felder didn't have it.
Tue, 1 September 2015
This week on Heavy Hands we're relishing the fight buffet that is UFC 191. From the start of the televised prelims onward, this is a fight card rife with either relevance or entertainment value, and in many cases both.
I know, I know . . . half of you don't care about Demetrious Johnson because you only like fighters who can ride all the roller coasters at the amusement park, but if I had to pick just one fight from his impressive flyweight title run to appeal to average fight fans, it would be his first fight with John Dodson. Dodson floored Mighty Mouse several times, and the champion recovered, adjusted, and ended the fight battering Dodson with brutal knees and short punches in the clinch. If Dodson can build on his previous success, we might just be in for a stunning upset, and if not, then just remember what Demetrious Johnson did the last time he rematched an opponent: GIF.
Then, along with some exciting light heavyweight action, we have two old school heavyweights duking it out on the undercard in Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski. But most importantly, FRANCISCO RIVERA VERSUS JOHN LINEKER. As it turns out, John Lineker's many failures to make the flyweight limit were merely the result of the gentle hand of fate guiding him toward his destiny, and now he's set to face one of the most entertaining knockout artists at 135 pounds.
And we're breaking down all of this, and more on this episode. Tune in, and enjoy the show.
Wed, 26 August 2015
We mention initiative an awful lot, but we've never taken the time to discuss it as a concept . . . until now!
On this week's Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat discuss initiative. What is it, how does it work, and how is it attained? Looking back at some of the best fights of UFC Saskatoon, including Magny-Silva, Trinaldo-Laprise, and Moroz-Letourneau, we analyze the ways in which initiative influenced the outcomes.
Initiative is often the factor that makes or breaks a given technique. We explore the all-encompassing importance of initiative, exploring the importance not only of "being first," but of getting the opponent to do what you want them to, when you want them to do it.
Then it's on to the Heavy Bag to answer a brace of questions from you, our beloved listeners.
Wed, 19 August 2015
On this week's Heavy Hands, Pat Wyman and I were lucky enough to talk with Tyron Woodley, who is fighting former champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 192 on October 3rd.
Woodley gave us his thoughts on what it's like to possess such tremendous natural power, and spoke about his development as a striker and a mixed martial artist. He also had some choice words for Hendricks prior to their bout. According to Woodley, his college wrestling match with Hendricks would've played out differently had there been punches involved, and he aims to make that dream a reality this October.
After speaking to Woodley, Pat and I talk Max Holloway Charles Oliveira, the main event of this Sunday's UFC Saskatoon event. Listen to hear what we think of two of the featherweight division's most promising young contenders, and our predictions on how the fight will play out.
Wed, 12 August 2015
Counter fighters. They're rare, they're difficult to understand, and they may just be the perfect expression of combat. On today's episode of Heavy Hands, Pat Wyman and I suss out what exactly makes true counter fighters tick, and why we see so few of them in MMA, and in combat sports in general.
We go through the various types of counters available to these specialists, and lay out the pros and cons of each, before exploring the games of a few of history's best counter punchers. For your viewing pleasure, we recommend you check out Salvador Sanchez's unexpected destruction of feared puncher Wilfredo Gomez, and Juan Manuel Marquez's patient dismantling of the unbelievably aggressive Juan Diaz.
And at the start of the show, we reserve a little time to analyze Beneil Dariush's controversial win over Michael Johnson from the undercard of UFC: Teixeira vs Saint Preux.
Wed, 5 August 2015
Last week we asked who could beat Ronda Rousey. This week we're asking the same question. Having beaten her third opponent in just over a minute--total, that is--Rousey finds herself at the top of a division that has very much failed to match her abilities. Despite having been beaten twice before, Miesha Tate is matched up for a third bout with the champ, and Pat and I agree that she may have something resembling a chance. Maybe.
After that we discuss Stefan Struve, who is slowly learning to use his length and height, and Claudia Gadelha, whose rematch with strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk we're very much looking forward to.
Finally, a fantastic interview with Glory WS kickboxer Raymond Daniels, who makes his second run at Nieky Holzken for the vacant welterweight title.