Heavy Hands

Good thing we gave Artem Lobov at least a little credit on last week's show, because The Russo-Irish Hammer really exceeded expectations in his much-maligned main event bout with top featherweight contender Cub Swanson. The two set the UFC record for significant strikes in a featherweight contest, and while Swanson nearly doubled Lobov's accuracy, the SBG fighter still managed to land 123 significant strikes over the course of the fight, more than anyone else Swanson has ever faced. Those sparring sessions with Conor McGregor must be paying off.

Not only do we break down Swanson-Lobov on this week's episode, but we get into the rest of UFC Nashville as well. It was a solid outing from the UFC despite a dearth of relevant matchups, and we analyze the likes of Mike Perry, Brandon Moreno, and Danielle Taylor (now officially one to watch at strawweight). Oh, and we give you just a little idea of what to expect from Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko at the end. Spoilers: Connor is a grumpy old man. 

Direct download: 156_artem_is_actually_pretty_good.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:50am EDT

Connor sat down to talk with UFC bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera this week for a written piece. But since we appreciate you subscribers so much, we've uploaded the audio as an extra bonus episode for the month. Hear Jimmie talk about his training methods, his relationship with Tiger Schulmann, his sparring session with TJ Dillashaw, and his future in the UFC.
 
To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two bonus episodes every month.
Direct download: bonus_9_teaser.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

Apparently Robert Whittaker doesn’t much like the nickname “Bobby Knuckles,” but honestly, we at Heavy Hands think he’s making a mistake. It fits, right? I am sure that Jacare Souza would agree. The longtime middleweight contender felt the Australian’s knuckles on several occasions, before Whittaker dropped him by laying his instep—the knuckles of the foot, of course—across the Brazilian’s cheek. It was a sizeable upset, but guess who saw it coming?

Okay, so we’re doing a little bragging on this week’s Heavy Hands. We don’t always get out picks right, and this week we nailed just about every fight we chose to talk about. From the ascension of Bobby Knuckles, to the 10th title defense of Demetrious Johnson. From Aljamain Sterling to Rose Namajunas to Tom Duquesnoy. Pat even predicted that Whittaker would stop Jacare in the second round! Give the man his props.

After a few very brief mentions of our masterful fight-picking, we analyze the fights themselves. And, uh . . . well, after we revisit last weekend’s card, which was almost certainly one of the best UFC on Fox cards ever aired, we talk about next weekend’s card. And it’s main event. Which . . . it’s Cub Swanson vs Artem Lobov, okay? Yes, it makes no sense as a main event, and it means nothing. It’s weirdness alone should compel you to watch, however, and I, for one, cannot pass up any opportunity to see “Killer” Cub do his thing.

Direct download: 155_bobby_knuckles.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:56am EDT

This week's bonus episode is all about Vasyl Lomachenko. "Hi-Tech" took on Jason Sosa last weekend, and despite the fact that Sosa is a very good fighter with a number of impressive wins, Lomachenko made him look like an absolute amateur. We're here to break it all down--the footwork, the combination punching, the ferocity. And you'll forgive us if we indulge in a little fanboyism as well. 

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: bonus_8_teaser.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 1:05am EDT

Well... UFC 210 was kinda weird, huh? On this week’s Heavy Hands, we revisit the oddness of Gegard Mousasi’s win over Chris Weidman via illegal legal knees, as well as the absolutely classic self-sabotage of Anthony Johnson, who decided to wrestle with Daniel Cormier before giving up his neck in trademark fashion. Oh, and about Will Brooks... well, you’ll have to listen to the show for our thoughts on that one.

Next week, however, sees the UFC putting on what just might be the best UFC on Fox card to date. Flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson takes on Wilson Reis for what will be his 10th title defense, and we look forward to watching the best fighter on the planet do his thing. We’re also looking into the tough break facing Jacare Souza as he takes on Robert Whittaker, because basically no one who actually deserves to fight for the middleweight title will get the chance in 2017. Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson are set to put on a thrilling strawweight battle, and Tom Duquesnoy, the crown prince of violence, makes his UFC debut on the prelims.

Direct download: 154_rumble_crumbled.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:03am EDT

At UFC 210, Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will meet in the Octagon for the second time. In their first encounter, Johnson managed to drop Cormier before the wrestling skill and sheer determination of his foe undid him. It is a pattern that has repeated itself throughout Johnson’s career, and it saw Daniel Cormier walk away with the belt around his waist. This week on Heavy Hands, we discuss the dynamics of the rematch. How might Johnson have adjusted his game, and will Cormier be able to repeat the greatest triumph of his career?

We also get into the co-main event, a battle between former middleweight champion Chris Weidman—who was knocked out in both of his last two fights—and Gegard Mousasi—who knocked the other guy out in his last three. Mousasi would appear to have inertia on his side, but Weidman would be the biggest win of his career, and he can bring the kind of pressure-based gameplan that has beaten Mousasi in the past. Plus, we get into the comeback of Will Brooks, and the scintillating matchup between prospects Kamaru Usman and Sean Strickland.

Direct download: 153_ufc_210_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:39am EDT

We know that styles make fights, but do we know which styles make which fights? Well, your hosts have a a few ideas, but we need data to know for sure. So, this week on Heavy Hands, we are making our second round of picks for our Styles Make Fights series. At the end of 2016, we predicted several fights based on the styles of the combatants. Today, we recap those picks and make a few more. Our ultimate goal: to find out which styles beat which, and enable ourselves (and you) to make rock-solid predictions. 

But future fights aren't everything. This week, we also delve into the first loss of Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez's career. The top pound-for-pound boxer was bested by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in a close fight, and we discuss the clever tactics of both men. Gennady Golovkin came close to experiencing the same fate when he took on Daniel Jacobs on the same night, but managed to come away with a close win. We're breaking that down too. 

 

Direct download: 152_styles_make_fights_revisited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Though it probably won’t make it onto any year-end lists, UFC London ended up being a fun, well-rounded card. The wild scrambles between Arnold Allen and Makwan Amirkhani, the stunning dynamism of Marc Diakiese, the triumph of Jimi Manuwa at the top of the card, and the emotional retirement of Brad Pickett to lend everything else a little more meaning. It was fun, is what I’m saying.

And there, right in the midst of it, was Gunnar Nelson. Stoic and unreadable, the Icelandic teammate of Conor McGregor has given us fits for years. Since his UFC debut in 2012, Gunni has repeatedly demonstrated incredible dynamism atop a solid bedrock of world-class grappling. In all of that time, however, he has changed very little, and still prides himself on figuring opponents out in the cage, without the benefit of a gameplan. We take Nelson’s London win as an opportunity to remember just how good he is, but also to delve into our relationship to the fighter. What is his ceiling, and why does he so often frustrate our expectations?

Direct download: 151_ufc_london.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Matchmaking is a difficult job, so let this week's episode of Heavy Hands stand as a celebration of good matchmaking. Sure. UFC Fortaleza's main event felt like a bit of a letdown--Vitor Belfort was essentially fed to Kelvin Gastelum, name value and all, and the fight played out just as expected. And UFC London's main event is similarly uninspiring, with a well-matched but lowkey scrap between Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson taking pole position.

The undercards, though...

Last weekend's undercard was full of entertaining battles, and next week's promises more of the same. We are discussing the main events on this show, but we're also paying special attention to the flying knee knockout of Edson Barboza, and the valiant defense put up by Shogun Rua. Then it's on to London, where Alan Jouban and Gunnar Nelson are set for a classic war of styles, Arnold Allen and Makwan Amirkhani will seek to prove whose star is brighter, and Joe Duffy and Tom Breese attempt to regain momentum and put the name "Tristar Gym" back on everybody's lips. 

Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard have been doing an excellent job in Joe Silva's absence, and this week's show celebrates that. It's a fight smorgasbord, people, so come ready to tuck in.

Direct download: 150_fortaleza_london_smorgasbord.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:20pm EDT

Well, they can't all be winners. In their first fight there were hints that Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson might not be the kind of rivalry we wanted. They were rarely willing to collaborate in that first bout, and only the concrete threat of Woodley's power--and Thompson's ability to withstand it--turned the slow scrap into a nail-biting affair. We wondered last week what adjustments both men would make to seal the deal this time around--as it turns out, they both moved away from the measured action of the first fight and into the measured inaction of this one. Woodley-Thompson I was among the best fights of 2016; Woodley-Thompson II will go down as one of the worst title fights ever (though certainly not the worst). 

We're breaking it all down on this week's Heavy Hands, and fortunately talking about happier subjects too. Like David Teymur's victory over Lando Vannata, both tactical and thrilling. Or "Dadbod" Dan Kelly's win over Rashad Evans, odd and inspiring. Or how about Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, two more boxers receiving 2017 as the year of the meaningful matchup. 

It was a good weekend for fight fans, and without it Woodley-Thompson II would not be so fun to gripe about. Silver linings, I guess. But hey, we're not too interested in dwelling on the past, and we also give our thoughts on two of the best fights scheduled for next weekend's UFC event in Fortaleza, Vitor Belfort vs Kelvin Gastelum, and Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush. 

Direct download: 149_recapping_the_shitshow.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:39am EDT