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It's once again time for listener mail!

We've got a wide range of questions for you, and some inspired discussion centered around them. First, we break down the process of analyzing a fight. What does each of us focus on when analyzing a fighter or, better yet, when devising a gameplan to defeat him? 

We talk low kicks--remember when they were the coolest technique in all of MMA? How come nobody cares about low kicks anymore? Huh?

And then it's on to the "Philly Shell." Why isn't Floyd Mayweather's vaunted shoulder roll more commonly seen in MMA, and would it apply to this sport if someone did try to use it? 

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

Direct download: 44_listener_mail.mp3
Category:Listener Mail -- posted at: 2:13 PM

Upsets are a marvelous thing. In fact, you could say that unexpected upsets are what keep combat sports interesting. Particularly upsets of the kind that we witnessed in the main and co-main events of UFC 185, in which the favored fighters not only suffered defeat, but were proven to be vastly, utterly inferior to their underdog opponents. 

Anthony Pettis was expected to be the Anderson Silva of this era, but Rafael Dos Anjos is no Chael Sonnen. The Brazilian fighter and Rafael Cordeiro product took Pettis to the woodshed for five rounds, eating plenty of shots but landing more of his own, and scoring takedowns that, for once, Pettis couldn't deter with his dangerous guard. In fact, Dos Anjos sliced right through that guard with ease. 

In the co-main, Polish kickboxer Joanna Jedrzejczyk beat strawweight champion Carla Esparza in even more convincing fashion, capping off a week of talking with nine minutes of very impressive walking. Jedrzejczyk, who we've decided to call "Lady Golovkin" to save ourselves the embarassment of mispronouncing her name, beat Esparza to a pulp and seemed to undo all of the improvements made to Esparza's striking in just a matter of minutes, turning her fight with the former champion into nothing but target practice.

Our episode kicks off with a question from a fan about the nature of upsets, which almost always seem predictable in retrospect, and the discussion flows from there. Enjoy the show, folks.

Direct download: 43_rafael_dos_anjos.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:33 AM

It's episode two of our new series, Styles Make Fights! And today we're talking about out-fighters. 

Lucky for us, we've got one of the greatest out-fighters on earth in Anthony Pettis preparing to entertain us this weekend in defense of his UFC lightweight title. Pat and Connor break down the skills that Pettis uses, but more importantly why he uses them. What's the mentality of an out-fighter? Why does he throw the strikes he throws, and move the way he moves? 

We go into all of this and more while predicting what Pettis will try to do to Rafael Dos Anjos in his second defense of his belt. After that, it's on to another archetypal out-fighter in Carla Esparza, who will attempt to outbox and outwrestle dangerous eight-limbed kickboxer Joanna Jedrzejczyk. 

All of that and more on this episode of Heavy Hands. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 42_pettis_styles_make_fights_2.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 11:30 AM

Styles make fights. We've all heard that before, right?

Well, it's true. But styles also make fighters, and there is no fighter on earth who doesn't, in one way or another, express the attributes of one of fighting's central archetypes. This week Pat and Connor are breaking down those archetypes--out-boxer, counter fighter, pressure fighter, and boxer-puncher--and kicking off a new series in the process. A series called (you guessed it) Styles Make Fights.

In this first installment, your hosts try to answer the fundamental questions: what makes a style a style, and why do we create these archetypes in the first place? What follows is a lengthy, enthusiastic discussion of the facets of style, what separates one form the next, and even some lively debate as to how many styles there really are. 

 

Direct download: 41_styles_make_fights.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 6:58 PM

MMA is all about transitions, and so is this episode of Heavy Hands. Including this excellent segue!

Ronda Rousey, the armbar queen of the UFC, is currently riding a two-knockout streak. It's not that she's abandoned her judo base, but rather that she's found a way to really make it work for MMA, which means setting up her throws with strikes, and vice versa. She faces Cat Zingano this weekend in the main event of UFC 184. 

Also featured on the card is Holly Holm, who racked up 33 career wins as a professional boxer. She faces Raquel Pennington in her UFC debut. Your hosts discuss her chances against the game Pennington, and what her style means for her should she meet champion Rousey down the road.

Direct download: 40_ronda_rousey.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:15 PM

Today your hosts are obsessed with the small, subtle things that make high level combat so beautiful. Small steps, tiny shifts in rhythm. These are the things that separate the great from the merely good. 

Gennady Golovkin fights Martin Murray this Saturday on HBO, and whil few are expecting Murray to get the win, there is the distinct possibility that he will prove tough enough to take the fight into the late rounds which, for technique geeks, is a good thing. More fight time means more opportunities to study how Golovkin inches his way in and out of range, and from side to side, keeping himself balanced and poised for the knockout blow. Pat and Connor spend some time drooling over this aspect of the Kazakh's game. 

Then, this Sunday, Michael Johnson will use many of the same principles, toying with angles and rhythm to shoot long, straight punches at Edson Barboza who, while a very exciting fighter, lacks the technical finesse and depth of athletic talent possessed by his opponent. 

It's a good weekend for fight fans, and hopefully this episode of Heavy Hands gets you all the more excited. 

Direct download: 39_golovkin_and_johnson.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 1:21 AM

Rhythm.

What is it? How does it apply to fighting? Do you have to be born with it, or can it be learned? Why did Connor choose a Gloria Estefan song as the title for this episode?

All of these questions and more are answered on this latest installment of Heavy Hands. Your hosts discuss the importance of rhythm in combat sports, why fighters need it, and how it can be manipulated and used against an opponent. Nieky Holzken and Ben Henderson feature as masters of difficult timing.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 38_rrrrhythm.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 3:43 PM

So, Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz happened, and it was... different than we expected it to be. Of course, it was still a great fight, but the tactical battle between the two men may teach us a lot about where they go from here, how they can perform in future fights, and just how cool it is to see high level fighters from different weight classes putting it on the line against one another.

(also Anderson popped for steroids after the fight)

But hey! What about that Al Iaquinta? Pat thinks he can become a top five lightweight given time. Your hosts break down his combination-punching style, and talk about his potential.

And to open up the show, it's time for some listener mail. You sent the questions in, and we answered 'em.

Direct download: 37_silva_diaz_post_fight.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:06 PM

Both Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz are coming off pairs of losses. Silva's defeats came at the hands (and shins) of Chris Weidman, a series of brutal finishes, the second of which left the former champ with a broken leg and a long recovery ahead of him. Diaz's losses came in a competitive decision to Carlos Condit, and a considerably less competitive decision to then-champion Georges St-Pierre.

Both men have been out for a long time, but now they return, and they're facing off. A fight that would have seemed impossible just two years ago is happening, and Pat and Connor couldn't be more excited.

Your hosts break down, in-depth, the styles of both competitors, and then compare notes to analyze the interesting way in which their styles match up. It's a tough fight to predict, and there's no concrete favorite, but we hope that this fight is as tantalizing to you as it is to us.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 36_silva_vs_diaz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:06 PM

Last week Pat and Connor discussed Conor McGregor as an aggressive counter puncher. This week we're talking Conor McGregor as a bonafide knockout artist and dangerous opponent for featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

Then there's next weekend's UFC main event, a number one contender's bout between top light heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. Your hosts break down the styles of the two men (hint: aggressive counter punching makes a return appearance), and give their predictions for the bout.

Finally, Deontay Wilder became the first American heavyweight boxing titlist since 2007 by beating Bermane Stiverne last weekend. Also, his style gives us some clues about how Gustafsson could beat Johnson this Saturday night. That deserves some discussion too, don't you think?

Direct download: 35_gustafsson_johnson.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:22 PM