Heavy Hands

A while ago on Heavy Hands, we began a series called "Styles Make Fights." Original, I know. The idea of the series was to dissect what we saw as the five overarching styles of fighting: out-fighting, counter fighting, pressure fighting, boxer-punching, and brawling. Listeners liked it; we liked it. It was a lot of fun, and we've been hearing requests for the series to make some kind of comeback for a while now. 

Well, voila! 

In order to make a meaningful addition to our existing conclusions--whether that means bolstering them or changing them completely--we will be using those five style archetypes to categorize UFC fighters, and then predicting the outcomes of their fights based solely on the style matchup. So when we ask if Frankie Edgar will beat Jeremy Stephens, we're really asking whether an out-fighter beats a boxer-puncher. When we pick the winner of Yoel Romero vs Chris Weidman, we're really picking between boxer-puncher and pressure fighter. 

Not only does this give us a chance to identify flaws in the system--what about those fighters who don't fit neatly into any single style archetype?--but a chance to understand the usefulness of identifying styles in the first place. We'll continue the series in the future, and catch up on all the fights for which we make predictions. Until then, enjoy this latest episode of Heavy Hands. 

Direct download: 128_styles_make_fights_again.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 12:15am EDT

Prior to October 8th, 2016, it was said by a certain MMA writer that Dan Henderson had put on his last great performance against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, five depressing years ago. Well, that guy's name is Connor Ruebusch (he hosts a really cool show you should check out) and he was wrong. As it turns out, Hendo had one last titanic effort left in him yet, and he let it out at UFC 204, in a fight for the UFC middleweight championship.

Michael Bisping deserved the win, most of us can agree. But at 46 years old, well past good expectations, Dan Henderson came damn close to ending his career with a belt, and reminded us in the process why we have been amazed by him for so long. On today's episode of Heavy Hands (that's what that show is called!) we're breaking down Henderson's transformations over the years, from grinder to bruiser to swarmer to counter puncher. We're also looking at the career evolutions of men like Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi, who also clashed at UFC 204. 

And to close things out, a little celebration of the skills and talents of Aaron Pryor, probably the second best boxer ever to come out of Cincinnati after Ezzard Charles--though Freddie Miller deserves his credit, too. Pryor passed away on October 9th. He was a week shy of his 61st birthdary.

Direct download: 127_hendo_and_pryor.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:07am EDT

Fighters like Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping are the future of fighting. Not that Henderson has a good chance of winning the belt, nor Bisping of keeping it--but they are a pair of old dudes. That's kind of like looking into the future, right?

Funnily enough, Michael Bisping now is probably at the place in his career at which Dan Henderson started knocking fools out--including Michael Bisping. Henderson, meanwhile, has continued to age and, in many ways, deteriorate. On this episode of Heavy Hands, we talk age and experience, and the divergent paths of athleticism and skill. MMA is no sport for old men, but for a special few, the benefits of time and training are too great to be written off completely. We doubt even a hip-replacement could take away Dan Henderson's lethal right hand.

To cap things off, we review the bantamweight clash between John Lineker and John Dodson from last week, which exceeded expectations and tickled us all. 

Direct download: 126_bisping_hendo.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:51am EDT

Some of us expected Lina Lansberg to give Cristiane Justino a little something to work with. Some of us expected a bit of a back-and-forth before Cyborg notched another inevitable win. Some of us thought that, maybe at least for the first few minutes, Cyborg wouldn't be literally grinning while having her way with Lansberg in the clinch.

Some of us were wrong. 

On today's Heavy Hands, we take a look at the impressive skills and talents of Cyborg Justino, 2-0 in the UFC and undefeated since 2005. In addition, we undertake a mental search for the woman who can finally beat her, whether she truly exists or not. Ronda Rousey? Holly Holm? Miesha Tate? Who will be the Buster Douglass to Cyborg's Tyson?

After that, enjoy a preview of the top two fights scheduled to take place at UFC Portland. We break down the bantamweight clash between former flyweights John Lineker and John Dodson, and Will Brooks vs Alex Oliveira, before using Hacran Dias vs Andre Fili as a jumping-off point to talk about the role of discipline and caution in mixed martial arts. 

Direct download: 125_lineker_dodson.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:11am EDT

Heavy Hands returns with another interview, this time with the bold, funny, and insightful Gilbert Burns, one of the most promising prospects in the UFC's lightweight division, and a veritable master of the armbar (he has won three of his four UFC bouts using that technique). Gilbert talked to us about . . .

- Training Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Nova Uniao
- Transitioning from submission grappling to MMA
- The benefits of having spent his entire MMA career with the Blackzilians team
- Learning striking from Henri Hooft, sparring hard
- Becoming a well-rounded fighter, rather than fighting like a BJJ specialist
- His teammate Michael Johnson's knockout victory over Dustin Poirier

One of my favorite highlights from our conversation came when Gilbert addressed fellow grappling ace Demian Maia, and his belief that the best victory is one which causes no harm to the opponent."Don't get me wrong," Burns said. "I have Demian as a friend. I love to watch this guy's fighting, but I don't agree with a couple of the things he says. Like, 'Oh, I just wanna finish the guy, don't wanna make damage, next day he can train . . .'

"No, bro. I wanna finish you . . . if I see your face there, my elbows gonna come."

After the interview, we preview the best bouts of the UFC's upcoming Brasilia card, including the main event clash between Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino and Lina Lansberg.

Direct download: 124_gilbert_burns.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 1:21am EDT

On today's episode of Heavy Hands, we're trying something new: talking about recent and upcoming MMA fights. Novel idea. 

So to kick things off, we're breaking down the heavyweight title clash between Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem, which was both surprising and predictable, and a whole lot of fun. Jimmie Rivera put on a stellar performance of his own at UFC 203, and so did Jessica Andrade, so we're breaking down those fights as well. 

Then, it's on to next weekend's fight night card, main evented by Dustin Poirier and Michael Johnson, and featuring a whole host of interesting undercard fights. 

To close out the show, we're talking styles in MMA, in a segment inspired by one of our dedicated listeners. What are styles in MMA, who are the best representatives of each, and how did some of them manage to overcome innately difficult style matchups?

Direct download: 123_johnson_poirier_and_styles_vs_styles.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

Disagreement is not something to be feared, but rather embraced. Our differences are what make us human. They don't separate us; they bring us together. 

And that is why Patrick Wyman is still on this show despite being totally wrong about Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem. 

In fairness, it isn't an easy fight to call. Miocic is relatively new to this game--especially compared to Overeem, the heavyweight division's most experienced veteran--but he is durable, and well-rounded, and dangerous. Still, I think Overeem is a tough matchup for his first title defense, especially given the recent changes his style has undergone. We hash it out on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, gently making our cases for each of these two elite heavyweights. 

There is time also for the co-main event, a rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne, as well as Urijah Faber's bantamweight showdown with top prospect Jimmie Rivera. Is Faber finally reaching the end of his road, or will he shut the gates in Rivera's face as he has so many others? Joanne Calderwood vs Jessica Andrade has us feeling all giddy, too, and we cap things off by answering listener questions at the end of the show.

All in all, this episode has everything you've come to expect from Heavy Hands. Fight breakdowns, silly banter, fan interaction. 

And Pat being wrong. That too.

Direct download: 122_miocic_overeem.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:19am EDT

A lot of us expected Demian Maia to win, but very few expected that. The former middleweight, whose shot at Anderson Silva's title was both bizarre and disappointing, has more than redeemed himself as a welterweight, now capping a six-fight win streak with a submission of longtime contender Carlos Condit. It took him less than two minutes to secure the rear naked choke and force the tap. 

We're celebrating the skills of Demian Maia on this week's Heavy Hands, and taking a look at the rest of the card to boot. What did Anthony Pettis' featherweight debut say about his future as a fighter and contender? How did Paige VanZant look against Bec Rawlings? We're also previewing UFC Hamburg's main event, a heavyweight clash between former champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett, before answering a few of your questions at the end of the show.

Direct download: 121_condit_maia_arlovski_barnett.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

Conor McGregor may have just proven that he is an all-time great. Nate Diaz is simply a bad style matchup for him. No matter what anyone tells you about Diaz's many losses, or his lack of athleticism, or his predictable attack--he remains a tough fight for McGregor. A tall southpaw out-fighter, against a southpaw who feeds primarily on orthodox opponents, most of which are smaller, and most of which cannot compete with him at long range. Plus, Diaz might have the hardest head in the lightweight division, an added benefit against one of the sport's most dangerous power punchers. 

So to beat Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor had to change. He had to train new skills, but he also had to train a new mindset. He had to think of Diaz differently than he had any other opponent, and challenge his own tendencies in order to outsmart his natural advantages. 

We're breaking all of this down on today's episode of Heavy Hands, plus discussing what changes the two would have to make for a rubber match, analyzing Anthony Johnson's vicious KO of Glover Teixeira, and having a little fun with Cody Garbrandt, trash talker extraordinaire.

Direct download: 120_mcgregor_diaz_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:56am EDT

At last, the time is near. 

What began as a fairly run-of-the-mill short-notice fight for featherweight champion Conor McGregor now threatens to become one of the best series in the history of the sport. Nate Diaz beat the featherweight king--at welterweight, oddly enough--and now they're rematching. Same weight, same city--nothing has changed other than the fact that this time Nate Diaz has a full camp behind him, and McGregor (hopefully) has some idea of what not to do. I would have added the fact that now Diaz knows for certain he can win, but he claims he was "not surprised" by the first result anyway, so . . . 

We're giving it an in-depth breakdown on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, discussing the mental and physical barriers for both combatants, looking back at the first fight, and giving each opponent a gameplan for the next one. It's not done after Diaz-McGregor 2, of course, because there are three other fights on this card that really demanded our attention. We wrap up the show by discussing Anthony Johnson vs Glover Teixeira, Rick Story vs Donald Cerrone, and Cody Garbrandt vs Takeya Mizugaki. 

Direct download: 119_mcgregor_diaz_2.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:45pm EDT