Heavy Hands

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

UFC 209 is this week, and the bulk of this week's Heavy Hands is dedicated to the fantastic main and co-main events of that card. First up we've got the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson, who fought to a nail-biting draw at UFC 205. We discuss the adjustments Thompson could have made since the first battle, and the secret genius of Woodley's unassuming style.

After that it's on to Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson, or, as we call it, the best lightweight fight possible today. The combined record of these men is 46-3, and while Dagestan's Nurmagomedov can brag that none of the three losses are his, Tony Ferguson is undeniably the toughest and strangest matchup of his career. Will Ferguson's boxing and submission wrestling prevail, or will Nurmagomedov test his chin after dragging him to the ground? Or... wait, could Ferguson's chin survive and then he outlasts Nurmagomedov down the stretch? Or maybe Khabib's stamina really is as good as it has seemed, and this fight will see him hitting takedowns with greater and greater ease over the course of the bout... 

Whatever happens, it will be an amazing fight.

Finally, our episode wraps with a segment requested by one of our patrons, in which we discuss the differences between the MMA and boxing clinches--and yes, that means getting into Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather, too.

Direct download: 148_ufc_209.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:18am EST

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