Wed, 19 October 2016
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.
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.
Wed, 10 August 2016
This week on Heavy Hands, we're talking about stature. On this show, we have already dedicated numerous episodes to fighting style, and our main point was this: style is not a product of build, but of personality. It would be a mistake to base a fighter's approach entirely on his size and shape without taking into account the makeup of his mind.
Even so, there are certain tactics that work well for long and tall fighters, and certain tactics that allow short fighters to counter them. On today's episode, we discuss these techniques in-depth, addressing how short men can fight from the outside as well as in the pocket, and analyzing the difference between short man's boxing, and short man's MMA.
Yair Rodriguez and David Teymur are also on the brain thanks to their impressive performances at UFC Salt Lake City, and we spend the first segment of the show breaking down their fights, and predicting where they go from here.
Wed, 3 August 2016
The gut doesn't lie. Tyron Woodley was the wrong kind of challenge for Robbie Lawler at this point in his career. The man who had been staggered in just about every fight for the last two years was knocked out by one of the welterweight division's hardest hitters, and perhaps that's not as surprising as it seemed at first.
But we're not going to spend all our time reflecting on the fall of Ruthless Robbie. I mean, if we did, the show would just be an hour and twenty minutes of weeping, right? So instead, we're talking about distance management, and boxing for MMA.
Face-punching is something both mixed martial artists and boxers can appreciate, but it is only recently that MMA fighters have begun to improve the other aspects of the sweet science: defense, footwork, and ringcraft.
Over the course of this week's episode, we break down the differences between MMA boxing and traditional boxing, and relate the topic to some recent or upcoming fights. Could Rose Namajunas have benefitted from a little ringcraft against Karolina Kowalkiewicz? Will Yair Rodriguez's lack of mid-range striking skills hurt him against Alex Caceres? Listen in to get our perspective.
Tue, 24 November 2015
What makes an out-fighter an out-fighter, or a boxer a boxer? On this week's Heavy Hands we look into the behaviors that let us define fighters' styles.
First up, there's Neil Magny, often sold as a rangy boxer but, as he showed in his upset win over Kelvin Gastelum last weekend, actually much more effective on the inside. Then there's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the new pay-per-view king of the boxing world, whose peculiar blend of power and boxing skill makes him a uniquely dangerous--and uniquely limited--opponent. Finally, we analyze the stylistic talents of Tyson Fury, set to battle Wladimir Klitschko for--well, all the heavyweight titles on Saturday, November 28th.
Wed, 28 October 2015
Today on Heavy Hands we're discussing southpaws.
Last weekend's fights gave us a number of open stance (southpaw vs orthodox) fights, and most of them highlighted just how challenging it can be for an orthodox fighter to strategize for a southpaw. Darren Till vs Nicolas Dalby, Tom Breese vs Cathal Pendred, and Terence Crawford vs Dierry Jean all demonstrated some of the essential challenges of open stance fighting, while inspiring us to discuss some unconventional ways to defuse the unique challenges offered by a southpaw opponent (or an orthodox opponent, if you're a lefty).
Today's episode also marks the launch of Heavy Hands on Patreon, a site that allows listeners to fund the show in exchange for rewards. Please take a moment and a few dollars to help support the podcast. We're also interested in hearing your suggestions for rewards that you would like to see!
Tue, 22 September 2015
On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, Patrick Wyman and I are breaking down one of combat sport's most confounding styles: the brawler.
Already on this show we've looked at some of the classic boxing archetypes that exist across the board in fighting sports, including boxer-punchers, out-fighters, pressure fighters, and more. Understanding the mindsets that go into these styles is always a tricky thing, but they are all relatively well defined. Not so with the oddball of the group, the brawler.
Brawlers come in many shapes and sizes, but they are universally defined by their willingness to take damage to dish out damage. Whether this is the result of poor discipline, extreme self-confidence, or even a pathological desire to do others maximum physical harm we're not quite sure, but we look through some of history's most legendary brawlers in an attempt to get at the mentality that makes the archetype tick.
We talk Justin Gaethje and Rocky Marciano, Manny Pacquiao and Chan Sung Jung. Can a brawler be the best in the world? That depends on your definition, but our conclusions might surprise you.
Wed, 16 September 2015
In the aftermath of the latest hearing of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, we're celebrating a career that very commission may have just ended. Facing a five-year suspension from mixed martial arts competition, it's possible that Nick Diaz could never be seen in the Octagon again. And that's a shame.
We're looking back at some of Diaz's best performances and celebrating the innovative aspects of a style that has often been derided or ignored altogether. Diaz's pace, his volume striking, his clinch fighting--all of these make him an important figure in the history of MMA.
After that it's on to Bellator Dynamite, a combination MMA and kickboxing event that features an excellent light heavyweight tournament. Alongside ex-UFC fighter Phil Davis and King Mo Lawal, Emanuel Newton stands as the most interesting man in the tournament, as well as one of the most interesting men in the entire division. We try to understand the absolute weirdness of Newton's style, an approach that shouldn't work but does, over and over again.
We're not sure how he'll do in the tournament, but we'll be tuning in to find out, because Emanuel Newton's is a weirdness worth watching.
Wed, 26 August 2015
We mention initiative an awful lot, but we've never taken the time to discuss it as a concept . . . until now!
On this week's Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat discuss initiative. What is it, how does it work, and how is it attained? Looking back at some of the best fights of UFC Saskatoon, including Magny-Silva, Trinaldo-Laprise, and Moroz-Letourneau, we analyze the ways in which initiative influenced the outcomes.
Initiative is often the factor that makes or breaks a given technique. We explore the all-encompassing importance of initiative, exploring the importance not only of "being first," but of getting the opponent to do what you want them to, when you want them to do it.
Then it's on to the Heavy Bag to answer a brace of questions from you, our beloved listeners.
Wed, 12 August 2015
Counter fighters. They're rare, they're difficult to understand, and they may just be the perfect expression of combat. On today's episode of Heavy Hands, Pat Wyman and I suss out what exactly makes true counter fighters tick, and why we see so few of them in MMA, and in combat sports in general.
We go through the various types of counters available to these specialists, and lay out the pros and cons of each, before exploring the games of a few of history's best counter punchers. For your viewing pleasure, we recommend you check out Salvador Sanchez's unexpected destruction of feared puncher Wilfredo Gomez, and Juan Manuel Marquez's patient dismantling of the unbelievably aggressive Juan Diaz.
And at the start of the show, we reserve a little time to analyze Beneil Dariush's controversial win over Michael Johnson from the undercard of UFC: Teixeira vs Saint Preux.
Wed, 8 July 2015
On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, co-host Patrick Wyman and I readily agreed on two things: 1) we love when we get the chance to dedicate an entire episode to a single, fascinating fight; and 2) Mendes vs McGregor is absolutely one of those fights.
Over the course of the episode we analyzed the styles of both fighters. First, McGregor's fondness for pressure, the purpose of his frequent spinning kicks, his intelligent use of the southpaw jab, and his ever-increasing volume of strikes. On Mendes' side, Pat and I both expressed our appreciation for what may be the finest counter punching game in the UFC, and certainly the purest. Will McGregor be able to swarm Mendes without being taken down, and if that proves too difficult, will he manage to keep the smaller man at arm's reach?
Both Pat and I give our final predictions at the end of the show, but the real treat is in discussing the matchup. Next to Aldo-McGregor, there is simply no better fight to be made in the featherweight division.