Heavy Hands

Greg Jackson. Firas Zahabi. Rafael Cordeiro. Mike Brown. Matt Hume. Henri Hooft. If you are a fan of MMA, you are almost certainly familiar with at least one of these names, and quite possible the whole group. These are a few of the sport's elite trainers, and the fighters they produce exemplify their unique understandings of combat. By watching Jon Jones, you understand something about the mind of Greg Jackson. Firas Zahabi seems to speak through the punches and kicks of Rory MacDonald. And every guy Rafael Cordeiro trains turns into a human buzzsaw.

On this episode of Heavy Hands, we rate these teams (as best as we can from the outside) and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses relative to one another. After that, we name our most dangerous unranked fighters in the UFC, the overlooked warriors who haunt the shadows of the top ten. 

Direct download: 172_MMA_Camp_Power_Rankings.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:13pm EDT

This weekend, Sergio Pettis gave fans hope. The younger brother of former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis earned the biggest win of his career, a clear and very impressive victory over Brandon Moreno. Pettis showed off his striking skill--both pressuring and countering--and carried himself with a level of comfort we had yet to see from him in the cage. We may have a serious contender on our hands, people. 

Then it's on to Vasyl Lomachenko--and speaking of hope, we discuss Lomachenko's opponents, who rarely seem to have any. Miguel Marriaga is not the most skillful adversary to date, but he fights well and hits hard, with 21 of 25 wins by knockout. And yet when round one began and Lomachenko met Marriaga in center ring, the puncher wanted nothing to do with "Hi-Tech's" hands. 

And at the end of today's show, we answer some questions from the Heavy Bag. Thanks patrons!

Direct download: 171_Pettis_and_Lomachenko.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:31am EDT

This is a teaser for a full episode which can be found on the Heavy Hands Patreon page (link: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474 ). We release two or more of these bonus episodes every month--including interviews, fight breakdowns, and special feature series--and for just $3 a month you can hear it all. Thanks for the support, folks.

Direct download: bonus_16_teaser.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 4:26am EDT

It happened. After a long and troubled hiatus from the sport of mixed martial arts, Jon Jones finally returned at UFC 214. No sport has ever missed an athlete more than MMA missed Jones these last two years—the one man perfectly suited for its unique and exacting demands. In regaining his title, Jones dethroned Daniel Cormier, and further cemented his status as one of the greatest fighters of all time.

On this week’s episode of Heavy Hands, we break down the fascinating back-and-forth that was this fight. We discuss Jones’ brilliant strategic mind, his firm grasp of initiative and mental warfare. Of course, for us, his win is bittersweet—because it is also Daniel Cormier’s loss. But while wrestling with the tragic aspect of this fight, we also get a chance to discuss the brilliant tactics which Cormier had prepared for his arch-rival. Everyone learns something on this very special episode of Heavy Hands (cue heartwarming sitcom music).

But that’s not all! Oh no. UFC 214 was loaded with exciting and meaningful fights, and we get into nearly all of them. The championship wins of Tyron Woodley and Cris Cyborg. The triumphant return of Robbie Lawler, and the still-surprising adroitness of Donald Cerrone at welterweight. The continued, unlikely run of Volkan Oezdemir, now knocking at Jones’ door (while Jones looks toward Brock Lesnar and the heavyweight division). Lamas, Sterling, Ortega, Katter—it’s all here, folks. It was a great card, and it led to a lot of great discussion. We hope you enjoy it.

Direct download: 170_Jones_Returns.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:55am EDT

UFC 214 is right around the corner, and this week’s episode is all about the main event, a long-awaited rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. This time DC’s name comes first on the poster, and he will enter the cage second, with the belt (metaphorically) around his waist. Nonetheless, Jones never did lost that belt in a fight, and most are expecting him to make a triumphant return to his throne. On this week’s Heavy Hands, we break the fight down every way we know how, getting into the adjustments Cormier might make this time around, the confounding nature of the style matchup, and even Jones’ unimpressive win over Ovince Saint-Preux, his only Octagon appearance in the last two-and-a-half years.

And if that analysis happens to turn into a brief but heated argument about the difference between “close” and “competitive,” well then that’s just a little treat for you, our listeners. Come for the breakdowns, stay for the aggressive musings of the man some podcast hosts are calling “Passionate Pat.”

In addition to Cormier-Jones 2, we also get into a bout which was (thanks to the blood god, praised be his name) rescheduled for this date after it failed to happen at UFC 213. Robbie Lawler vs Donald Cerrone. It sounds amazing, and we are very excited for it. After that, it’s onto Manuwa-Oezdemir, Lamas-Knight, and Sterling-Barao.

Direct download: 169_Cormier_vs_Jones_2_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:53am EDT

On this week's Heavy Hands, Patrick Wyman and Connor Ruebusch delve into two of the big matchups scheduled for UFC 214. Plus! Previews of Weidman-Gastelum and Rivera-Almeida, and a breakdown of Santiago Ponzinibbio's recent win.

Direct download: 168_Woodley_Cyborg_and_Gastelum.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:53pm EDT

Two very different fights, both every bit as brilliant and beautiful as MMA can be. We break them both down (and more) on this week’s Heavy Hands. Justin Gaethje made his UFC debut in the main event of July 7th’s TUF 25 Finale, and while those of us who have watched him for years were worried about his chances, he did exactly what he always does. Michael Johnson had a speed advantage, and a better chin than just about anybody else Gaethje has fought. Gaethje took his best shots and knocked him out anyway, in a wild war that may not be topped for the rest of the year.

The next night, Robert Whittaker stepped into the Octagon to challenge Yoel Romero for the UFC interim title, and a guaranteed shot at Michael Bisping’s belt. A few months ago, the superhumanly explosive Romero, alongside jiu-jitsu ace Ronaldo Souza, was considered one of the two best middleweights in the world. Whittaker obliterated Souza back in April, and while the first two rounds of this fight were much tougher, Bobby Knuckles did it again. He outsmarted and outpaced Romero down the stretch in a display of striking skill and takedown defense that can only be called sublime. That he did all of this with a busted knee renders his accomplishment all the more remarkable.

It was not the greatest International Fight Week ever, and plenty of things went wrong in the lead-up. The two main events, however, will be remembered for a very long time. Instant classics, courtesy of Justin Gaethje and Robert Whittaker.

Direct download: 167_Gaethje_and_Whittaker.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:05pm EDT

Connor sits down for an in-depth, hour-long interview with UFC lightweight Jim Miller, a fan-favorite who still yearns to leave his mark on the sport of MMA. Miller talks about his motivation, his training methods, and what he plans to do to Anthony Pettis at UFC 213.

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 (or more) bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: Bonus_15_teaser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:44am EDT

At UFC 213, Amanda Nunes will have the opportunity to prove that she is the true queen of women’s bantamweight, the rightful heir to Ronda Rousey’s contested throne. But the task may not be easy. Valentina Shevchenko also has eyes for the throne, and she already survived an onslaught from Nunes when the two fought in 2014, before taking her to the brink of destruction in round three. On this episode of Heavy Hands, your hosts ponder the possibilities of this grudge match, and get into a bit of a verbal scrap in the process.

After that: serious, brow-furrowed analysis of the goofy rubber match between heavyweight legends Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem. Plus, a quick look at blue chip prospects Mark Diakiese and Curtis Blaydes, each of whom fights on the main card of Friday’s TUF 25 Finale and Saturday’s big pay-per-view, respectively. For your enjoyment, folks, an extra-large episode of erudite fight analysis.

Direct download: 166_nunes_vs_shevchenko_II.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:21am EDT

In this special bonus episode, Connor and Pat tangle with the existential questions that have haunted mankind for ages: who am I? why am I here? what is Bellator MMA going for, exactly, and how am I supposed to feel about it? Yes, Bellator 180 was just about the strangest event we've ever seen, and we spend the bulk of this bonus episode struggling to understand it, before recapping the highlights of UFC Oklahoma City.

Direct download: bonus_14_teaser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:52am EDT