Heavy Hands (ufc)

So, about Korean Zombie... he's okay. This week on Heavy Hands, we just wanted you to know that. He was terribly unlucky, and Yair Rodriguez was terribly tricky, but he's fine. It's fine. Everything is fine. 

On this ep, your hosts discuss the whole gruesome fight leading up to the shocking finish, and look forward to next weekend's Neil Magny vs Santiago Ponzinibbio. Topics include:

- Whether or not Yair Rodriguez has taken any technical strides since his wipeout loss to Frankie Edgar last year

- The staying power of Donald Cerrone, and the falling star that is Mike Perry

- Maycee Barber's prospect potential, and the shark tank her winning UFC debut has cast her into

- Neil Magny's puzzling weirdness vs Santiago Ponizinibbio's Actually Good-ness

- Now that Mirsad Bektic has done it, will Darren Elkins be able to outwrestle Ricardo Lamas?

Direct download: 237_Removing_the_head_or_destroying_the_brain.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:23pm EST

Our brief respite has already given way to a dauntingly long stretch of UFC cards. Thank goodness for the vacation, though, because UFC 230 ticked all the right boxes, and next week's fight night in Denver looks similarly intriguing. Violence, violence everywhere--and we don't even get into the US midterms (look for the bonus episode to hear Phil's thoughts on gerrymandering).

Topics this week:

- Daniel Cormier is really, really good, and this was what was pretty much always going to happen. He's really good though

- Jacare Souza's unbreakable heart, surprisingly clever skills, and strong good guy vibes

- Israel Adesanya's thumping of Derek Brunson, the latest highlight in his breakout year

- Lando Vannata: the war magnet

- Korean Zombie vs Yair Rodriguez, the dojo war between Donald Cerrone and Mike Perry, and more...

Direct download: 236_UFC_230__the_return_of_Korean_Zombie_fixed.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:10pm EST

This week on Heavy Hands, one of the hosts is dying, but that still won't keep us from breaking down UFC 230. It feels strange to say this, but... it's a pretty good card! And with Anthony Smith achieving the impossible last weekend, it seems almost inevitable that his lord and master, Derrick Lewis, will be heavyweight champ by Sunday. Topics include:

- The fascinating, frustrating, and utterly functional style of Derrick Lewis

- DC is still gonna wreck him, isn't he?

- Is Jacare a sneakily bad matchup for Chris Weidman?

- Israel Adesanya's cocky cleverness vs Derek Brunson's weaponized insecurity (and wrestling)

- Julio Arce vs Sheymon Moraes, a prospect fight you shouldn't miss

Direct download: 235_UFC_230_is_SIIIICK.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:24pm EST

Another break from the UFC gives way to another eight-week stretch without a single reprieve--but that's okay, for now. We're feeling refreshed, and more excited than is appropriate to break down some classic(ally terrible) light heavyweight matchups! Topics for this week:

- Forget about whether Smith or Oezdemir is better... are either of them Actually Good?

- Deciding which, of his limitless powers, Artem Lobov should use to destroy Michael Johnson in the co-main event

-  Gian Villante vs Ed Herman--just to remind ourselves that the main event isn't actually all that bad

- A topic from our patrons: what makes one effective in wild scrambles or exchanges, and who are the best at it?

Direct download: 234_Only_at_Light_Heavyweight.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:46pm EST

This week on Heavy Hands, we're covering a topic which has consumed much of the online MMA sphere these last few weeks. Ever since Nate Diaz decided to announce his contention for the 165-pound UFC title, that weight class has captivated our collective imagination--even though Nate never really was scheduled to fight for the title, and is currently not scheduled to fight at all, and also there is no 165-pound division. 

Yet. 

So this week, we draw up a list of 32 fighters of all stripes, who we think could benefit from a move to 165, and smash them together like action figures until only the hypothetical champion is left. Enjoy, sickos.

Direct download: 233_superfighter_division.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:08pm EST

UFC 229 gave us pretty much everything we could have asked for, given the lineup. In the main event, Khabib Nurmgomedov and Conor McGregor fought tooth-and-nail, with Nurmagomedov notching his greatest victory to date--after all, no one else has beaten Dillon Danis. Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis had an outrageous war of wills in the co-main event. Further down, Dominick Reyes showed veteran smarts and skills in a telling victory over Ovince Saint Preux, and Derrick Lewis was more Derrick Lewis than ever. 

We break it all down on this week's Heavy Hands.

Direct download: 232_This_is_a_Derrick_Lewis_show.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:01pm EST

Here it is, folks. The moment we've all been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for. Goodness, it feels like ages since we've had a matchup this compelling, doesn't it? Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon after an absence of two years, to take on the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. Topics include:

  • What makes McGregor-Khabib compelling is also what makes it sort of difficult to analyze
  • We still argue about who will win for half an hour, though
  • Is Anthony Pettis one of the worst winnable matchups out there for Tony Ferguson? Can Pretty Tony actually beat the Tony whom only a mother could love?
  • Dominick Reyes looks like an exciting light heavyweight prospect. We refuse to get our hopes up.
  • Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov, i.e. a much worse Anthony Johnson vs a slightly different kind of Alexander Gustafsson

And don't forget, if you will be watching UFC 229 live, Connor will be livecasting the fights on the new Youtube channel, which you can find right here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8uiE3gzYRYXWOM1aBTmORw

Direct download: 231_Conor_and_Khabib.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:01pm EST

UFC 229 is right around the corner, and while we would normally split a massive, tentpole pay-per-view like that into two episodes, the undercard just doesn't merit it. So, you might be thinking, this is a perfect time to cover the upcoming Bellator 206! But, uh... we forgot about that one. Not to worry, though--keep your eyes glued to the Heavy Hands Patreon for a bonus episode breaking down the highlights of that stacked card. Until then, enjoy our discussion of UFC Sao Paulo, and a few questions from our patrons. Topics include:

  • A pathologically violent Thiago Santos, and the bright future ahead of him at light heavyweight
  • The sad, sad fall of Renan Barao
  • Little Nog rides again!
  • How we feel about watching a sport surrounded and populated by so many amoral/immoral people
  • How the "average" fighter can overcome a far superior athlete

Also, an important note: you are likely reading this on BloodyElbow.com. If so, you should know that this will be the final episode of Heavy Hands to be featured at that address, and thus the last episode to be posted on a BE-associated Youtube channel. Future episodes will be published on the Connor Ruebusch Youtube channel, but also on all of the usual podcast distributors--now including Spotify!

Direct download: 230_Sao_Paulo_and_the_rest.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:22pm EST

So, UFC 228 was pretty spectacular. From the early prelims to the main event, last weekend's lineup did everything in their power to deliver one truly memorable night of fights. 

Now, did this have anything to do with Valentina Shevchenko's absence? We'll never know. but the answer is yes

We're breaking almost all of it down on this week's Heavy Hands, in addition to looking forward to next week's UFC Moscow, which is actually a little better than its lackluster main event might imply. Topics for this episode include: 

- The two sides of Tyron Woodley

- The zero significant strikes of Darren Till

- How Jessica Andrade delivered the most stunning one-punch KO in UFC WMMA history

- Is it best to pump the brakes on Zabit Magomedsharipov?

- Tatiana Suarez, aka Kha-she-b Her-magomedov. Get it? Look, Phil didn't like it either, and I'll admit it's a little clumsy, but IT'S A GOOD PUN

- Next week, Jan of Rivia takes on the prodigal prospect, Nikita Krylov, and we could not be more excited

...and more!

Direct download: 228_ufc_228.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:47pm EST

Alright people, UFC 228 is just about here, so it's time to get extremely [clap] hyped [clap] for these [clap] fights!

Seriously, though, the highlights are great. Tyron Woodley, Darren Till, Nicco Montano, and Valentina Shevchenko are all capable of impressive feats of martial skill, and that makes this one easy to advertise. And in truth, all four of them could show up and put on a pair of truly fascinating fights. But looking back at their recent histories--Till vs Thompson (1 or 2, take your pick), Woodley vs Thompson, Shevchenko vs Nunes 2--how excited should we really be? 

This week on Heavy Hands, we're all about UFC 228. Topics include:

  • Tyron Woodley and Darren Till both want the same kind of fight, but we're not sure which will stick his neck out first
  • Nicco Montano: UFC CHAMPION. Valentina Shevchenko: WMMA'S GREATEST COUNTER PUNCHER. The matchup between them: UNINTERESTING
  • Zabit gets a chance to break out, as possibly the last exciting fighter viewers will see on the main card
  • How does Jessica Andrade's freakish athleticism compare with the surprising strength of Karolina Kowalkiewicz?
Direct download: 227_Tyron_us_out.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:54pm EST

Last weekend the UFC went to Lincoln, Nebraska, and the result was a night of good old-fashioned corn-fed chaos. This week on Heavy Hands, your beloved hosts discuss all of the best action in detail. Topics include:

  • James Vick's giant, ponderous defense, and the higher weight class that is so clearly calling him
  • Angela Hill's controversial loss to Cortney Casey--how we saw it, and what we expect out of both fighters
  • Deiveson Figuereido announcing himself in the flyweight division with a crushing win over perpetual tough-out John Moraga
  • Eryk Anders, the guy who lost to Machida, is still sort of the dude who lost to Machida. Tim Williams ain't bad, though
  • A career-best performance from (welterweight) James Krause, Cory Sandhagen's frankly disgusting determination to win, and more...
Direct download: 226_Midwest_Slugfest_-_The_Lunacy_In_Lincoln_Pt_II.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:06am EST

This week on Heavy Hands, we are having computer troubles. But aside from that, we're coping. Yes, TJ Dillashaw closing out his rivalry with Cody Garbrandt was satisfying, but we have to be honest... UFC 227's co-main event, the 12th title defense of flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, left a strange taste in our mouths. Also, it was probably responsible for the computer troubles. Please send your complaints to Henry Cejudo.

Topics this week include:

  • Is TJ the perfect foil for Garbrandt, or is Garbrandt the perfect foil for himself?
  • Demetrious Johnson is EXPOSED. All you have to do to beat him is not lose too badly
  • Oh, so when Willie Pep wins a round without throwing a punch, that's okay, but now that Henry Cejudo is doing it, you're upset
  • Renato Moicano, Pedro Munhoz, and flyweight finisher Alex Perez
Direct download: 223_TJ_and_DJ_corrected.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:13pm EST

Though it lasted less than two rounds, Cody Garbrandt vs TJ Dillashaw I is already considered one of the most exciting bouts in bantamweight history. Likewise, Demetrious Johnson's destruction of Henry Cejudo is widely regarded as his finest hour--or rather, his finest two minutes and 49 seconds. In the main and co-main events of UFC 227, both matchups will play out for the second time. 

This week on Heavy Hands, Connor and Phil are here with the in-depth technical preview, as well as a look back at some of the results of last weekend's UFC Calgary. Topics include: 

  • How good is Cody Garbrandt, really? Can he adapt to a rematch the way we expect TJ to do?
  • Can Henry Cejudo make his improved striking work against Demetrious Johnson, or will it be death by clinch all over again?
  • From UFC Calgary: the changing style of Dustin Poirier, and the adjustments he made to secure the finish this time around
  • How “back” is Jose Aldo, and how much do we really care? because that shit was incredible
Direct download: 222_IN_HONOR_OF_JOSE_ALDO.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:16pm EST

The UFC went to Hamburg, Germany last week, and on the latest episode of Heavy Hands, your hosts do everything in their power to avoid talking about it. Fortunately, next week's UFC on Fox card has some superb matchups to preview, analyze, and hopefully distract us from the thought of the brutal, pointless end that awaits every prizefighter, no matter how beloved.

No, but seriously. Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier... again! This week on Heavy Hands, we tuck into three top-notch fights, and more. Topics include:

- Eddie Alvarez is the reigning king of violence, and maybe the best lightweight there's ever been--but does his style still match up favorably with Poirier's?

- Jose Aldo certainly has the skills to do to Jeremy Stephens what he did to Frankie Edgar, but having lost 3 of his last 4, Stephens' own skills are not to be overlooked

- Joanna Jedrzejczyk had a tough time with the reach and pressure of Rose Namajunas. Can Tecia Torres present similar problems?

- The Assassination of Shogun Rua by the Coward Anthony Smith

- Nasrat Haqparast's style evolving in a dominant victory over Marc Diakiese

Direct download: 221_Good_fights_ahead_and_everything_is_normal.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:41pm EST

Alright, so off the bat, we’re not really saying that Mauricio Rua is going to be light heavyweight champion. I mean, it’s not totally unrealistic that he could, given that he is still here knocking people out, recently ranked as high as #4 in the light heavyweight division. But no, he won’t be champion again. Probably.

This week’s episode of Heavy Hands celebrates the things that are still great about former phenom Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who fights Anthony Smith this weekend in the main event of UFC Hamburg. We also break down some of the action that took place last Saturday at UFC Boise. Topics include:

  • The Crafty Veteran™ that Shogun Rua has become, and the decrepit division he polices
  • Anthony Smith: is he really better than Gian Villante? Does it matter? Does any of this matter?
  • Blue chip prospect Nasrat Haqparast takes on derailed former blue chip prospect Marc Diakiese in a very interesting undercard bout
  • Alex Volkanovski’s dominant victory over top featherweight Darren Elkins at UFC Boise, and where he stands among such stiff competition
Direct download: 220_From_Boise_to_Hamburg.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:24pm EST

Well, we finally had enough confidence in Stipe Miocic to actually pick him, and then Daniel Cormier knocked his block off thirty seconds before the end of the first round. We're taking it all in on this episode of Heavy Hands, and our topics represent the full, balanced diet that was UFC 226:

  • Daniel Cormier’s heavyweight brilliance, and the transitions that set him apart
  • Connor and Phil offer to lift the HH curse: if Stipe Miocic subscribes to the Patreon, we’ll start picking against him again
  • We knew we were in for a funhouse mirror-match, but Ngannou-Lewis was worse than we had ever imagined
  • RE: our wayward son Mike Perry... this is kind of it for him, isn’t it
  • Paulo Costa a.k.a. "Borrachinha" a.k.a. “Uberlandiareem” was very good and very scary in his fight against a particularly sharp Uriah Hall
  • Raphael Assuncao, and the much deserved love he got for his total domination of Rob Font
Direct download: 219_DC_did_it.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:37pm EST

UFC 226 feels like a bright beginning. A true superfight between current light heavyweight and heavyweight champions is enough to get any fight fan's blood pumping. Add to that a title defense, in which one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on earth faces a creative challenger who has finished every one of his last seven opponents. And then there is the undercard, a worthy appetizer. 

We couldn't ask for a better event to preview for Dr. Patrick Wyman's final episode as co-host of this podcast. Pat has been a regular part of the show for nearly four years, and his insightful analysis, good humor, and passionate fury will all be missed. We are joined once again by new co-host Phil Mackenzie, and since this is a landmark episode, I didn't try to hard to edit it down. That's right, prepare yourselves for an hour and a half of the analysis you crave, including such topics as:

  • Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier: can DC still take heavyweight power, and can Stipe wrestle with the crotch lift king?
  • Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega: holy hell, this fight
  • But really, Ortega could've gotten three times better since his last fight, in which he was markedly better than the fight before that
  • And that still might not be enough against the combat genius of Holloway. THIS FIGHT.
  • Francis Ngannou looks into a funhouse mirror and sees a chubbier version of himself. Who wins?
  • Israel Adesanya, and the gentle-as-can-be test that is Brad Tavares
  • Gokhan Saki and Khalil Rountree: two incredible athletes with skillsets no deeper than a sidewalk puddle--for Pat
Direct download: 218_UFC_226_and_Farewell_Dr_Wyman.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:54pm EST

This week on Heavy Hands, we are preparing for some pretty monumental changes. Pat Wyman has been a part of this show for nearly four years, during which time he has started a family, earned his doctorate, and started two history podcasts, both of which are vastly more successful than this rinky-dink operation. The man is busy, and the MMA schedule isn’t always forgiving. This, friends, will be the second-to-last time that Connor is joined “as always” by Dr. Patrick Wyman on Heavy Hands.

But don’t you worry. Heavy Hands will still be going strong, and this episode is not just for impending goodbyes. This week, we welcome Phil Mackenzie, who will be taking over as co-host. Phil is one of the most insightful analysts working in MMA today, a lyrical writer and a keen thinker. Plus, his British accent could earn us up to six (6) new female listeners in 2018, if our projections are correct.

And for this very special, two-co-host edition of Heavy Hands, we have chosen a special topic for you. The three of us have selected a total of six all-time classic fights to discuss. We break down the techniques and strategies on display, and celebrate some of the finest performances we have ever seen in this sport. The topics include:

  • Fedor Emelianenko vs Mirko Cro Cop: the perfect (and first) anti-kicker gameplan?
  • Eddie Alvarez vs Joachim Hansen: one of the first great wars in Eddie Alvarez’s career—a decade ago
  • Rory MacDonald vs Tyron Woodley: The Waterboy/Ares/The Red King hands Woodley his most decisive loss, in a performance none since have replicated
  • Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes II: the best fight of Jose Aldo’s career, and the very first fight that Pat and Connor ever broke down together on the show
  • Rory MacDonald vs Robbie Lawler II: the greatest MMA fight of all time, and that’s that
  • Jose Aldo vs Max Holloway: a memorable crossroads, where the best featherweight alive beat the best featherweight ever
Direct download: 217_A_Very_Special_Episode.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:32pm EST

The UFC returns to Singapore, but more importantly for most of us, the promotion has returned to an era of passable Fight Night cards. This lineup has quality sprinkled throughout, from established action fighters to promising prospects, and enough mid-level weirdness in between to keep things interesting. This week on Heavy Hands, we talk about...

- Does Leon Edwards have a deep enough game to trouble Donald Cerrone, even as Cowboy nears the end of his career?

- Tyson Pedro's developing style, and how Ovince Saint Preux could prove too tricky for him

- The UFC debut of blue chip prospect Petr Yan, against hard-hitting Teruto Ishihara

- Jake Matthews and a deceptively interesting matchup with the grimy, wrestle-boxing Shinsho Anzai

- Listener questions from the Heavy Bag!

Direct download: 216_Is_Cerrone_still_too_good_for_Edwards.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:09pm EST

Remember how awesome the first fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero was? If you are reading this after watching UFC 225, the answer is probably no, as it would be were we to ask you to recall any other event prior to Whittaker vs Romero 2. These two bring the best out of one another, and this was every bit the rematch we were all hoping for, and then some. And then some more.

This week on Heavy Hands, we are absurdly excited to talk to you about it, and the rest of the weekend's UFC card. Topics include:

- Are there any middleweights in the world who can give Robert Whittaker more of a test than that? (we doubt it)

- The unfolding mystery of Yoel Romero, and what a future at light heavyweight could hold for the Vicar of Violence

- Colby Covington's obnoxious apotheosis

- Holly Holm, a damn professional, and Megan Anderson's terrible takedown defense

- CM Punk, and a reality check for 90% of MMA fans, or 99% of dudes in general who don't really care about fighting but still think they must be pretty good at it

- plus, Tai Tuivasa, Curtis Blaydes, Mirsad Bektic, and some words on the war between Claudia Gadelha and Carla Esparza

Direct download: 215_WAAR_GOOODDZZZ.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:40am EST

The spring schedule has been a drag, in the sense that mustering any excitement for these cards has felt very much like wearing a plastered-on grin while being dragged through a field of thorns. But hey, our suffering is over, at long last. UFC 225 is here, and with it, a whole slate of intriguing and meaningful fights. This week on Heavy Hands, topics include:

- The rematch between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, whose first fight was a tactical war of epic proportions

- All of our hopes and dreams resting on Rafael Dos Anjos' capable shoulders

- Holly Holm as a stiff test for the still-relatively-untested Meeeeegan Anderson

- Seriously, RDA, please send Colby Covington to the netherworld

Direct download: 214_Whittaker_vs_Romero_AGAIN_woooo.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:47pm EST

Oh boy. UFC Liverpool came and went, and the cursed pattern held. Just like last weekend, and the weekend before that, this card looked too top heavy to stand, and yet the action on the undercard ended up far surpassing that of the main event. Yes, Thompson vs Till was a dreadful fight--but why? This, in addition to a preview of next week's Jimmie Rivera vs Marlon Moraes, is the focus of this week's episode of Heavy Hands. 

Topics include: 

- Why did Stephen Thompson once again fail to pull the trigger?

- What does this performance say about Darren Till, and is the welterweight division doomed?

- Arnold Allen's remarkable comeback, and the performance that should put Mads Burnell on the map

- Jimmie Rivera vs Marlon Moraes will be better than this. IT WILL

- Is Vinc Pichel a genuine test for Gregor Gillespie?

...and more!

Direct download: 213_it_was_so_bad_guys.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:46pm EST

Just a few more weeks, folks. Just a couple more events until UFC 225 is finally upon us. Until then, we're wading our way through a spate of dangerously top-heavy cards. The good news is, they've been surprisingly fulfilling so far, for the dozen or so people watching, and that means there is always plenty to talk about after the fact. Topics for this week's episode include:

- Darren Till's rapid rise to relevance, and the questions he still needs to answer

- An interesting clash between two exciting pseudo-prospects in Makwan Amirkhani (Mr Finland vs Mr Mississippi, anyone?)

- Kamaru Usman's frustrating victory over Demian Maia at UFC Chile

- Tatiana Suarez's dominant performance in the co-main event

- Dominick Reyes: official badass

- Enrique Barzola: underappreciated badass, now 5-1 in the UFC

Direct download: 212_Till_Thompson_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:58pm EST

Last weekend, some people fought, and it was good. Some parts were not so good, but other parts were especially good.Then, the weekend ended, and Connor Ruebusch and Patrick Wyman sat down to discuss it.

This week on Heavy Hands, the topics include:

- Raquel Pennington's corner, and the unnecessary fifth round they refused to save her from

- Jorge Linares, the first man since Orlando Salido to give Vasyl Lomachenko a stiff test

- Lomachenko passing that test in typically astounding fashion

- Kelvin Gastelum, middleweight's Anthony Pettis (it'll make more sense when you listen)

- previewing Kamaru Usman vs Demian Maia, and Alexa Grasso vs Tatiana Suarez

Direct download: 211_Still_Got_a_Shot.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:01pm EST

Our holiday away from UFC coverage is over. Fedor was fun, right? And how about Kyoji Horiguchi? He won his fight in about one tenth of one percent of the time we spent analyzing his style! Amazing! But now it's UFC season once again, and the world's premiere MMA promotion has gifted us with a card that is... well, it's fine.

This week, we discuss:

- Raquel Pennington: the best of a bad division, or a legitimate threat to Amanda Nunes' belt?

- Kelvin Gastelum's strangely static style

- Mackenzie Dern's pugilistic potential

- John Lineker vs Brian Kelleher

- vitorbelfortvslyotomachida

Direct download: 210_vitorvsmachidawwwhhhhyyy.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:41pm EST

Kevin Lee emulated Khabib Nurmagomedov in his dominant victory over Edson Barboza at UFC Atlantic City, and with a few non-UFC weeks ahead of us, we stretch our legs to discuss this and other face-punching topics. Your table of contents for this week's episode of Heavy Hands:

- Kevin Lee's vicious grappling, and ever-improving striking

- Frankie Edgar's triumphant comeback

- Aljamain Sterling, and the best performance of his career

- The bizarre and worrisome ending to Dvalishvili vs Simon, and a reminder that it was a sensational fight before all the controversy

- A discussion of how size and weight affect fighting style and tactics

Direct download: 208_barboza_lee_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:08pm EST

This week on Heavy Hands, we're drowning in lightweights. Pat, at least, doesn't seem to mind. Our topics include:

- Justin Gaethje's brawling style, and whether it needs to change

- What allows Poirier to hang in the pocket with the likes of Gaethje and Alvarez? And can he beat Khabib?

- Israel Adesanya's road to contention--longer than we'd hoped?

- Edson Barboza vs Kevin Lee

- Is Frankie Edgar returning too soon from his first knockout loss, or does he simply have Cub Swanson's number?

- Do-or-die time for Aljamain Sterling, and the game of his 15-0 opponent, Brett Johns

Direct download: 207_Suplex_City_Bitch.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:07am EST

On the latest Heavy Hands, your hosts discuss the absolute insanity of UFC 223, and preview the upcoming war of all wars between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. Topics include:

- Khabib Nurmagomedov's disappointingly dominant win over Al Iaquinta

- The ever-improving skills of Rose Namajunas, and her masterful fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk

- Zabit Magomedsharipov's icy demeanor versus the burning fury of Kyle Bochniak

- Renato Moicano's contender-making win over Calvin Katter

- What Dustin Poirier can offer Justin Gaethje that other lightweights cannot, and vice versa

- Marvin Vettori: Israel Adesanaya's first big test

Direct download: 206_Khabib_Looked_Like_Shit.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:35pm EST

UFC 223 is finally upon us, and there was simply no way we could come this close to the date without losing one half of the main event. MMA just doesn't work that way. But despite Tony Ferguson's last-minute, freak injury, the card is still rock solid, and we are more than ready for it. Topics of discussion include:

- Max Holloway: one of Khabib's toughest possible matchups... but on short notice?

- How Joanna Jedrzejczyk needs to adjust to Rose Namajunas to regain her title

- Trying to figure out who's good enough to beat Anthony Pettis as he gets older

- Paul Felder vs Al Iaquinta

And in case you missed it, we covered two other bouts set for the UFC 223 undercard on last week's show, namely Calvin Kattar vs Renato Moicano and Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Kyle Bochniak. 

Direct download: 205_Max_has_our_backs.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:20am EST

After a slight delay, Heavy Hands is back, and there is the matter of Jan Blachowicz to solve. Witness the thrilling conclusion of an argument you never particularly cared about. All of that, and:

- Is age finally catching up to Fabricio Werdum?

- Alexander Volkov's chances against the rest of the elite (and especially Stipe Miocic)

- How Jan Blachowicz's vaunted "technical striking" won him the day in an unexpected thriller with Jimi Manuwa

- Leon Edwards and Darren Till: complete fighters?

- Hakeem Dawodu, Magomed Ankalaev, and the archetypal Prospect Loss

- Listener questions from the Heavy Bag

All of that, and--need I say it--more! Enjoy the show, folks.

Direct download: 203_The_Lay_of_Jan_Blachowicz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:17pm EST

Your latest edition of Heavy Hands is a very spicy meatball. We cover fights. We shout at each other about one of them, and it's not even the one we care about. Then we talk about some of our favorite battles from MMA's mythic past. Topics include:

- Werdum's Brazilian Muay Thai vs Alexander Volkov's cold-blooded efficiency

- A big argument about whether or not Jan Blachowicz is Actually Good

- Related to the former, the long-awaited return of Passionate Pat, and his trusted sidekick, Incorrigible Connor

- Tom Duquesnoy on the comeback path

- The impending UFC debuts of hot prospects Hakeem Duwodu and Magomed Ankalaev

- Great fights that stand the test of time, and a conversation on the major differences between modern MMA and the bloodsport of old

Direct download: 202_Werdum_vs_Volkov_Wyman_vs_Ruebusch.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:28am EST

Still mourning the loss of Holloway-Edgar, your hosts discuss:

- Yana Kunitskaya's style, and her chances against Cyborg the soul-taker

- The fascinating dynamics of Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega

- Sean O'Malley's tricky rhythm, and what he needs to improve

- Jeremy Stephens' knockout of Josh Emmett at UFC on Fox 28

- Mike Perry, and the vacation he so desperately needs

Direct download: 200_UFC_222_-_Remember_the_Holly_Holm_fight.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:51am EST

This week, on Heavy Hands, your hosts cover a number of topics, including:

- Screaming at Fightpass

- Jeremy Stephens' fluidity in contrast to Josh Emmett

- Jessica Andrade's unstoppable killer instinct

- Swearing at Fightpass

- Donald Cerrone's quality preparation for Yancy Medeiros

- Stabbing the computer monitor with a knife

- James Vick's steadily improving boxing

And more! Including a couple of top-notch questions from our listeners.

Direct download: 199_Fightpass_Fuming.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:43am EST

The main even of UFC 221 was fascinating. Luke Rockhold showed off some much improved boxing, but Yoel Romero stifled the former champion's work with a brilliant strategy and yet another vicious knockout in the third round (his eighth of that description). Connor and Pat break it down in detail, before covering the other highlights of a very entertaining pay-per-view, including Curtis Blaydes' impressive win in the co-main event, Jake Matthews finally putting the pieces together on the undercard, and the electrifying UFC debut of Israel Adesanya.

After that, a preview of next week's main event, Donald Cerrone vs Yancy Medeiros, plus a quick look at a compelling matchup between Francisco Trinaldo and the surging James Vick. 

Direct download: 198_ROCKHOLD_GO_TO_LIGHT_HEAVYWEIGHT.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:16pm EST

UFC 221 is right around the corner, and while it may not be the superbowl of MMA (it's definitely not), Connor and Pat are still intensely interested in its main event, a scrap between middleweight mystery Yoel Romero, and former UFC and Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold. Also of interest: Mark Hunt vs Curtis Blaydes, the co-main event, the UFC debut of eye-catching kickboxer Israel Adesanya, and the continuing adventures of featherweight fireplug Alexander Volkanovski.

Finally, a look back at Machida vs Anders from last weekend, and the controversial outcome of Valentina Shevchenko vs Squash Match Victim 2B Priscila Cachoeira.

Direct download: 197_Rockhold_vs_Romero_for_the_interim_interim_title.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:15pm EST

Are you a fan of Bloody Elbow’s MMA Vivisection? Do you like how long it always is? Well then you’re going to love this episode of Heavy Hands!

BE’s Zane Simon joins Connor and Pat on this week’s episode to discuss what could be the definitive end to Lyoto Machida’s long tenure as a UFC contender, as the Dragon prepares to take on untested prospect Eryk Anders in the main event of UFC Belem. The power trio also breaks down the co-main event, John Dodson vs Pedro Munhoz, as well as the flyweight debut of Valentina Shevchenko.

After that, a recap of last weekend’s UFC on Fox card, which, while deservedly underwatched, did give us some quality fights, and reminded us all that, yes, Jacare Souza is a man to be feared.

Direct download: 196_Still_Scared_of_Jacare.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:08pm EST

We are extremely excited for UFC 220. And no, it's not because the card is great, as a whole. It's because Francis Ngannou is a terrifying mystery, and if Miocic beats him, he will have officially compiled the best championship run in UFC heavyweight title history. 

We tap into the mystery of Ngannou on this week's edition of Heavy Hands, and explore the options which Miocic might have against him. Daniel Cormier's title fight with Volkan Oezdemir doesn't evoke the same giddy, can't-wait sensation as the main event, but we break that one down, too, in addition to our two favorite undercard fights: Calvin Kattar vs Shane Burgos (probable fight of the night) and Thomas Almeida vs Rob Font (probable second-best fight of the night). 

After that, it's onto our analysis of the events of UFC St Louis, namely Jeremy Stephens' crushing victory over "Korean Superboy" Doo Ho Choi in the main event, Kamaru Usman's troubled climb through the welterweight ranks, and Darren Elkins' mastery of the art of the comeback.

Direct download: 194_HEAVYWEIGHT_HYPE.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:18pm EST

This week on Heavy Hands, we're looking forward to UFC St. Louis, main-evented by a mouthwatering matchup between "Korean Superboy" Doo Ho Choi and "Extremely Dangerous Veteran" Jeremy Stephens. Sure, Stephens may only be a fringe contender in the division, but that didn't prevent him from staggering current challenger Frankie Edgar when the two met in 2016, nor did it enable current champ Max Holloway to style on Stephens the way he does most opponents. Stephens is a threat, and that makes this fight very interesting. 

We also touch on Uriah Hall vs Vitor Belfort, the return of Paige VanZant, and Michael Johnson's impending featherweight debut--plus, a few questions from our subscribers.

Direct download: 193_Choi_vs_Stephens.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:16pm EST

2017 was a rough year for UFC pay-per-views, and fight fans questioned whether UFC 219 was on par with some of the promotion's other year-end shows. Nevertheless, the main event showdown between Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm maintained an entertaining simmer for five rounds, and in the co-main, undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov made Edson Barboza's name the 25th on his ledger.

For the first Heavy Hands of 2018, Connor and Pat break them both down in detail, plus three undercard fights.

Direct download: 192_Edson_Barboza_in_the_Swamp_of_Sadness.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:34pm EST

Merry CRISmas, everyone. The holidays are upon us and another year comes to an end, but as usual, there is one more UFC event to watch just before the new year rolls in. The main event is a featherweight title fight between champion Cris "Cyborg" Justino and former bantamweight champion Holly Holm. We're fairly certain some Holly will be decked, but you'll have to listen in to hear the particulars, as well as our breakdown of the also-very-exciting clash between lightweight elites Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza, plus some other stuff, too.

I don't know, we're all still drunk.

Direct download: 191_CYBORG_SMASH_pod.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:23pm EST

Last week on Heavy Hands, your hosts predicted a win for Robbie Lawler over Rafael Dos Anjos. This week, they pray that Dos Anjos wasn't listening.

Not only did RDA take the fight to the former welterweight champion early and often, but he maintained his trademark, breakneck pace for the full 25 minutes. On this week's episode, the boys ask whether this win makes Dos Anjos an all-time great, and preview the expected matchup between him and welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. 

After highlighting our favorite moments from the rest of the card, Connor and Pat discuss the role of matchmaking, in a promotion in desperate need of both stars, and a martial middle class.

Direct download: 190_Scusi_Bappa-di-buppee.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:12pm EST

On this week's Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat look forward to a pair of fights that seem to guarantee action. Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler takes on former lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos at the top of this upcoming weekend's UFC card. A little further down on that card, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Mike Perry put their chins on the line in a battle of punchers that could very well surpass the main event.

After that, it's onto Brian Ortega, Vasyl Lomachenko, and more from last weekend. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 189_Violence_on_the_Horizon.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:22am EST

UFC 218 delivered no shortage of magnificent, memorable, and very meaningful action. Max Holloway defeated featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo for the second time. Eddie Alvarez was the immovable object which finally brought Justin Gaethje's unstoppable force to a halt. Francis Ngannou pulled Alistair Overeem's soul out of his body and ate it on live TV.

But when it rains, it pours, and today's episode of Heavy Hands is packed with so much more. In addition to our detailed breakdown of the events of UFC 218, we look ahead to two fights set for UFC Fresno--the main event between Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega, and a battle of bantamweight contenders, Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling, on the undercard. THEN, we move on to discuss the upcoming boxing match between Vasyl Lomachenko, who many regard to be the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world today, and Guillermo Rigondeaux, who is himself so skillful that it takes a fighter of Lomachenko's caliber to finally challenge him. 

Wild stuff.

Direct download: 188_The_Wild_Boyz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:18pm EST

UFC 218 feels like a blast of fresh air after a few weeks of cards that, while generally solid, didn't exactly get the blood pumping. In the main event, former featherweight champion Jose Aldo steps in on short notice to rematch the man who took his belt, Max Holloway. Lightweight warriors Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje are set to find out who is the UFC's "most violent man." Heavyweight phenom Francis Ngannou gets a tough test in the form of Alistair Overeem, and Henry Cejudo looks to work his way into another flyweight title shot with a win over Sergio Pettis.

 

Direct download: 187_No_Jose_Please.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:41am EST

Michael Bisping may be 137 years old with only half of one good eye, but that won't stop him from taking on Kelvin Gastelum this Saturday--on short-notice, and just a few weeks after being knocked down and then strangled unconscious by Georges St-Pierre.

We also get into Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Sheymon Moraes, a fight between 2017's elite featherweight prospect and 2015's. Plus, a detailed breakdown of our favorite moments from last week's UFC Sydney, main-evented by Fabricio Werdum and Marcin Tybura.

Direct download: 186_Bisping_vs_Gastelum_Feel-Bad_Special.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:31am EST

"It borders on interesting" isn't the most compelling description of a fight card, but that's about how good UFC Sydney looks to us, despite a solid-enough main event in Werdum vs Tybura. Still, we highlight our favorite parts of the card, before reflecting on the outcomes of UFC Norfolk, an event which delivered a puzzling mix of drudgery and excitement. 

Dustin Poirier took a page out of the Rafael Dos Anjos playbook and smashed Pretty Tony Pettis in the main event. Raphael Assuncao reminded us that, yes, he is one of the best bantamweights on earth and a fascinating fighter worth watching. Matt Brown reconsidered retirement after catching Diego Sanchez with a savage elbow, reconstituting his human body into a pile of miscellaneous parts in the process. 

It was wild. So, you know. Listen to us talk about it.

Direct download: 185_Pretty_Cloney.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:48pm EST

UFC 217 was absolutely fantastic. There was plenty weird about it. Odd officiating, mental lapses on the parts of experienced fighters, and a whole lot of bizarre numerical coincidences in the three title fights. More than anything, however, it was an event at which all three of the defending champions lost their belts--the first time the UFC has ever seen so much divisional change in so little time. 

On this week's Heavy Hands, we take a look at Georges St-Pierre's remarkable comeback win over Michael Bisping, TJ Dillashaw's triumph over hated rival Cody Garbrandt, and Rose Namajunas' mind-blowing, first-round knockout of dominant champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Yes, we cover other fights (and a few set for next week's card, as well), but this week, it's all about the belts. 

Direct download: 184_UFC_217_WAS_GREAT.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:28am EST

Garbrandt vs Dillashaw: a grudge match for the championship of the UFC's strongest division. Jedrzejczyk vs Namajunas: the strawweight division's best fighter defends her belt against its most dangerous. Oh, and the return of Georges St-Pierre, who, despite the uncertain nature of his comeback, remains the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

At least that's what Connor and Pat think, and that is why this week's episode is dedicated to the three title fights topping the upcoming UFC 217.

Direct download: 183_UFC_217_Preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:17am EST

Lyoto Machida makes his return to the Octagon this weekend. After a two-year PED suspension (and a particularly unfair one, at that) the Dragon looks to recapture his classic form against Derek Brunson, who hopes to make Machida his 14th first-round win. Connor and Pat break down the UFC Sao Paolo main event on this episode of Heavy Hands, before moving on to the decidedly more relevant co-main between old lion Demian Maia and young gun Colby Covington. And speaking of young guns, Darren Till absolutely scoused Donald Cerrone in his first ever UFC main event at last week's UFC Gdansk. We take stock of his dramatic upset victory, and highlight our favorite moments from the card.

Direct download: 182_Machida_vs_Brunson__Till_KOs_Cerrone.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:45pm EST

This week on Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat are discussing the scheduled bout between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, the main event of UFC Gdansk. Okay, so it isn't the greatest card in UFC history. But it's on in the afternoon! And it's on Fightpass! And, as we hope you'll agree after hearing us out, Cerrone vs Till is not only an interesting matchup, but an important one for the lagging welterweight division. We cap off our UFC Gdansk preview by answering some great questions from our subscribers. Enjoy!

Direct download: 181_Cerrone_vs_Till_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:10pm EST

Tony Ferguson claimed the lightweight interim title. Demetrious Johnson defended the flyweight crown for the 11th time. Lando Vannata and Bobby Green went to war. From top to bottom, UFC 216 was a stupendous night of MMA action, and Connor and Pat break it all down in this episode of Heavy Hands. 

Direct download: 180_ferguson_lee.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Tony Ferguson just may be the best lightweight in the world, and while his much-anticipated fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov has yet to take place, young gun Kevin Lee offers an interesting test, particularly on the ground. On this week's Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat break down the UFC 216 main event, before also previewing a few of the other top fights, namely Johnson vs Borg, Duquesnoy vs Stamann, and Dariush vs Dunham. It looks like a solid night of fights, and we had a blast breaking 'em down. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 179_UFC_216_Preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:35am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

On this week’s Heavy Hands, your hosts look ahead to UFC International Fight Week. The main card of UFC 213 is absolutely stacked with mouthwatering matchups, and with the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 25 taking place just one night before, the weekend boasts too much talent to be covered by just one episode.

Fortunately, we are forward-thinkers and careful planners. Okay, well, Pat is. In any case, this week’s show features in-depth breakdowns of the interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker, the lightweight return of former champion Anthony Pettis against Jim Miller, and the UFC debut of WSOF champion (and bloodthirsty maniac) Justin Gaethje, who takes on the lightning quick Michael Johnson.

Direct download: 165_Romero_vs_Whittaker_and_More.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:47am EST

Holly Holm finally got herself back on the winning track last weekend, with an emphatic kayo victory over stalwart contender Bethe Correia. On this episode of Heavy Hands, we give our thoughts on Holm’s victory, and some of the other meaningful victories from UFC Singapore. After that, it’s on to Andre Ward, who got a strange and controversial knockout in a fight with Sergey Kovalev, itself a rematch of a first fight which also ended in controversy. Hear our thoughts on Ward’s performance, and the stoppage. A preview of the upcoming bout between lightweight contenders Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee closes out the show.

Direct download: 164_Holm_Ward_and_Chiesa.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:19am EST

With Max Holloway's win, we have reason to believe that Jose Aldo's long reign as the greatest featherweight in the world has finally, emphatically, and officially come to an end. While the Brazilian legend certainly still has more to offer the sport of MMA, now is as good a time as any for Connor and Pat to look back at the incredible career of this featherweight great.

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_13_teaser.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:28am EST

All that is gold does not glitter, and while I’m still not certain that UFC Auckland was gold, it certainly delivered more action than most in the MMA community expected (including us). This week on Heavy Hands, your hosts are breaking down the most worthwhile bits of action, from Alexander Volkanovski’s contender-making win over a very tough and crafty Mizuto Hirota, to Mark Hunt’s intelligent victory over powerhouse Derrick Lewis.

After that, it’s on to UFC Singapore, main evented by Holly Holm and Bethe Correia. This stands to be a more competitive fight than you might think, and with former lightweight champion Raphael Dos Anjos also making his welterweight debut on the main card, UFC Singapore has the makings of another under-the-radar action card.

Finally, questions from our lovely listeners! We talk about the worst opinions in both casual and hardcore MMA fandom, the metagame of fight preparation, and fighters who seem to break all the rules without consequence.

Direct download: 163_all_that_is_gold_does_not_glitter.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:51am EST

It wasn’t easy to watch for us die-hard Jose Aldo fans, but it’s about time to buckle in and begin breaking down the birth of the Blessed Era. Sorry--grief makes me alliterate.

On this week’s Heavy Hands, your hosts are getting into the fascinating nitty-gritty of UFC 212. What went wrong for Aldo? How did Holloway adapt and go from a bad first round to a dominant third? Where does Aldo go from here, and, now that he’s beaten the greatest featherweight of all time, who the heck can stop Max Holloway?

In addition to the main event, we also analyze Claudia Gadelha’s first-round submission of Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the wild-yet-tactical victory of Paulo Borrachinha over Oluwalae Bamgbose, and the eight-limbed chess match between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes.

Oh, and apparently there is another UFC event next weekend, I guess. Huh.

 

Direct download: 162_The_Blessed_Era_Begins.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:01pm EST

UFC 212 isn't a great card, but it has a great main event. Max Holloway has spent the last three years and 10 fights (all of them victories) working his way toward the UFC featherweight title. And if we're talking about greatness, the man standing in his way is the greatest featherweight in MMA history, Jose Aldo. On this episode of Heavy Hands, we give our thoughts on the matchup, and hem and haw for a good long while before venturing to make our predictions. 

After that, it's on to the co-main event matchup between top strawweight contenders Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, as well as the UFC debut of WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes, who takes on elite gatekeeper Raphael Assuncao. Oh, and don't think we would miss the opportunity to talk about Alexander Gustafsson's dominant and violent win over Glover Teixeira from last weekend's UFC Stockholm. 

Direct download: 161_Aldo_vs_Holloway_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:42pm EST

With UFC 211 behind us, we look to the future on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. Recently the UFC has picked up a number of interesting prospects and contenders. WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is a hard-nosed, hard-hitting brawler who doesn't know the meaning of the words "boring fight." WSOF bantamweight champ Marlon Moraes is a supremely technical kickboxer who has begun transforming his talent for picking opponents apart into a talent for finishing them. And Dagestani knockout artist Zabit Magomedsharipov is a gigantic featherweight who looks ready to take the next step.

We take a hard look at all of these fighters, and speculate on how far they might go now that they have been welcomed into the UFC fold. In this week's final segment, we address a topic requested by one of our patrons: why is striking defense so much worse in MMA than in boxing, and how can it be improved?

Direct download: 160_New_Kids_on_the_UFC_Block.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:00am EST

At UFC 211, many thought that the two defending champions--Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jedrzejczyk--had a tough test on their hands. Junior Dos Santos had beaten Miocic once before, and Jessica Andrade seemed poised to follow up on the (admittedly limited) success of Jedrzejczyk's last two opponents. Instead, the champs defended their belts with aplomb. For Miocic, it was his fourth first-round knockout in a row. For Jedrzejczyk, it was the most complete performance of her MMA career. 

On this episode of Heavy Hands, we analyze the two title defenses and revisit the other meaningful scraps on this titanic card, including Demian Maia's close win over Jorge Masvidal, Frankie Edgar's domination of Yair Rodriguez, and the thrilling war between Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez that ended too soon--in a No Contest. 

Direct download: 159_ufc_211_in_review.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:08pm EST

The card of the year is almost upon us. Touch my hand; I'm shaking.

Junior Dos Santos defeated Stipe Miocic in 2014, but that was before Miocic became UFC heavyweight champion, and before Dos Santos was sent tumbling to the canvas by Alistair Overeem. Miocic has grown into his role as champ, and Dos Santos has made serious strides to fine-tune his dangerous boxing game. On this edition of Heavy Hands, we break down this rerun of a classic heavyweight fight, and give our predictions for the contest.

But this is UFC 211, so you know that’s not all. In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Jessica Andrade, who just might be her most dangerous opponent yet. Can Jedrzejczyk overcome the power and volume of the Brazilian, or will The Pile Driver take the title away from WMMA’s most dominant champ? As with the main event, we give this scrap the full-segment treatment it deserves. Spoilers: one of our picks pay surprise you.

But, uh . . . this is UFC 211. So yeah, the fun ain’t over. Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis will open the main card with a fascinating fight, the winner of whom will very likely earn a shot at Demetrious Johnson’s title. For Cejudo, it would be a chance at redemption, and if the crazy aggression he brought to bear against Joseph Benavidez is any indication, he is ready for another shot at the belt. The little brother of Anthony Pettis has been quietly compiling an impressive win streak, however, and Cejudo’s name would be the one he needs to prove that championship talent runs in the family.

Direct download: 158_ufc_211_big_show.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:35am EST

Okay, so we didn't get you three bonus episodes last month. We're really sorry. But this month, we're going to do our best. And to start May off right, we thought we'd regale you with an interesting discussion that popped up during our analysis of Joshua vs Klitschko. That was a great fight, in part because it was long enough for the drama to play out--for the momentum to shift back and forth several times. MMA needs more of that. Forget championships, and forget main events: the sport would benefit from more five-round fights in general. As for boxing, well... they can't all be Joshua-Klitschko. We give our thoughts on the proliferation of long boxing matches in this era of too many divisions and too many belts. 

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_10_teaser.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:08am EST

UFC 211 is so damn good that we have to spread it out over two—no, three, if you count our upcoming bonus episode—different episodes. This week, we’re looking at just two of the three fights on the main card with immediate title implications. If Yair Rodriguez gets past Frankie Edgar, a shot at the winner of Jose Aldo vs Max Holloway will probably be in order. And if Demian Maia beats Jorge Masvidal, not even an obviously hesitant UFC will be able to deny him a chance at Tyron Woodley’s welterweight belt. Both are compelling, competitive fights, and gosh darn it do we have a hard time picking them.

But that’s not all. This edition of Heavy Hands is capped off by a look back at last weekend’s heavyweight boxing showcase, a thrilling battle between star-in-the-making Anthony Joshua, and Wladimir Klitschko, who ruled the heavyweight division alone for the last decade. The fight was insanely good, with both men showing off their skills and their guts, and neither managing to take over decisively until Joshua knocked Klitschko out in the 11th round. A true classic of modern heavyweight boxing, and we invite you to share our excitement.

Direct download: 157_211_and_anthony_joshua.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:45am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 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

Derrick Lewis is a treasure. He's genuine. He's funny. He turns people into a fine mist when he hits them. Oh, and he needs a bathroom. 

On this week's Heavy Hands, we're breaking down Lewis' tremendous, hard-fought victory over a rejuvenated Travis Browne at UFC Halifax, and then delve into the rest of the highlights from a surprisingly entertaining night of fights. Johny Hendricks got his groove back. Gavin Tucker went from unknown to fan-favorite in a matter of fifteen minutes. Santiago Ponzinibbio and Nordine Taleb had the perfect fight, a pleasing blend of technique, intelligence, and good old fashioned grit.

And if you thought it was impossible to have a heated argument about Elias Theodorou's win over Cezar Ferreira, objectively the least interesting fight on the card, you were dead wrong. Call it a waste of time; I've decided to call it #MiddleGate. And you'll have to tune in to hear the fun, and share our mutual exasperation.

At the end of the show, we delve into a topic suggested by one of our generous patrons. Tournaments--they don't happen all that much anymore, at least not on our side of the pond, and they rarely occur over the span of a single night. But perhaps the tournament (and its edgier cousin, the one-night tournament) should make a comeback. If they do, we have a few ideas regarding which current day fighters would excel within the format, and why.

Do you want a topic on the show? How about a simple question? Or maybe you're just interested in the two secretive bonus episodes we release every month? Or perhaps you just want to hear the cherubic smiles on our faces, knowing that your contributions helped put them there? If so, check us out on Patreon, where you can peruse all of these rewards and check out some of our exclusive content. 

Direct download: 147_halifax_smorgasbord.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:14am EST

It wasn't so long ago that Holly Holm was the women's bantamweight champion of the world, and now the long-time boxing champ could very well be on the cusp of a three-fight losing streak as she prepares to take on dangerous Muay Thai stylist Germaine de Randamie for the UFC women's featherweight title--an honor that admittedly feels pretty empty now that Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino is out of the title picture for a while. 

We're breaking UFC 208 all the way down on this week's Heavy Hands, including the strange-but-actually-pretty-awesome co-main feature between Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson. There's also Jared Cannonier, who may have a few surprises in store for Glover Teixeira, the toughest opponent he's fought to date, and welterweight prospect Randy Brown, undeniably the most successful discovery from Dana White's show "Lookin' for a Fight." 

PLUS (I know, there's a lot of things to talk about) we get into the nitty gritty of the Korean Zombie's thrilling comeback, and a few of the other bouts from the highly enjoyable UFC Fight Night 104. As noted last week, we fight fans are being spoiled with great fight after great fight so far in 2017, and the near future is looking good. 

Direct download: 145_holm_de_randamie_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:21pm EST

Fights, fights, fights. Sometimes the UFC hits you with so many bouts you can't keep your thoughts from spinning out of control. Fight overload, and you find yourself wishing for just a little break. At least, that's what happens when you talk about fights for a living. Other times they keep you waiting, and the weeks start to feel like years. 

And then other times, they strike a perfect balance. Every now and then the UFC will put together a string of cards that you don't HAVE to see, but which you will positively enjoy if you do. We appear to be in the midst of just such a period right now. Last week was UFC on Fox 23, and Valentina Shevchenko secured her shot at the bantamweight title--and revenge--both of which she could find in a rematch with champion Amanda Nunes. At the same time, Julianna Pena raised a few questions about the direction of her career, with a little help from head coach (?) Rick Little. Also, Jorge Masvidal knocked Donald Cerrone's block off. We talk about all of that and more. 

At the other end of the show, our focus is on next week's UFC card, and especially the long-awaited return of Chan Sung Jung, The Korean Zombie. Have three years of recovery (and compulsory military service) allowed the Zombie to reach his final form, or will ring rust leave him helpless to stop the onslaught of Dennis Bermudez? The answer probably lies somewhere between these two extremes, but then that's why you listen to this show. It's all about the finer points of face-punching, and boy is there a lot of face-punching to discuss. 

All of that and more on this episode of Heavy Hands. 

Direct download: 144_korean_zombie_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:52am EST

UFC on Fox 23 is flying just slightly under the radar, but diehard MMA fans learned long ago not to judge a book by its cover. Sure, there are not a lot of names bedazzling the preliminary portion of this card. And sure, Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena are hardly stars. From top to bottom, though, this is an extremely well-matched card, replete with competitive and meaningful fights. 

At the top Valentina Shevchenko will battle Julianna Pena for a shot at Amanda Nunes' women's bantamweight title. Shevchenko lost to Nunes just last year, but it was a close fight--the kind where one or two more rounds would have almost certainly allowed Valentina to seize victory. And her last fight was a very convincing win over former Holly Holm. Despite these achievements, Shevchenko is a fighter with a finnicky style, and Julianna Pena should provide an entertaining test of her ability to deal with pressure. 

And from there on out the episode turns into another messy (but delicious) edition of the Fight Smorgasbord. Donald Cerrone, Jorge Masvidal, Aljamain Sterling, Raphael Assuncao, Jason Knight, Alex Caceres, Alexandre Pantoja--yeah, all of those guys are fighting this weekend. We're pretty excited about it. 

 

Direct download: 143_shevchenko_pena.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:01pm EST

Remember when it felt like BJ Penn was probably going to win his next fight? Us, too. It was a magical time, when “just scrapping” was a viable way to find wins in the UFC. A time when talented rich kids could float breezily through a schedule of fights that would kill a normal man. A time when BJ Penn was king.

We have a simpler way of describing this mythical era, and the language involved is bound to offend friends, relatives, and fans alike, as well as Baby Jay himself. We call it “over six years ago.”

Yep. The age of Penn has come and gone, but here we are, with The Prodigy himself raring for another comeback, and this time against one of the most dangerous young prospects in the UFC, Yair Rodriguez. On this week’s Heavy Hands, we discuss the methodologies of Penn and Rodriguez (they’re not as different as you might think), and reflect on Penn’s legacy as a martial artist.

But that’s not all. We’re also breaking down the way that Joe Lauzon so artfully manages to both live and die by the sword (or submission, as the case may be), offering our reasons why you shouldn’t yet give up on Sergio Pettis, and answering listener questions.

Direct download: 141_penn_rodriguez.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:51am EST

At UFC 207, Ronda Rousey flashed in an out of existence like a Higgs boson, her comeback undone by the particle collider of Amanda Nunes' fists. Cody Garbrandt unveiled hitherto unseen discipline and skill, not only handing Dominick Cruz his first loss in 10 years, but outboxing and outfoxing him in the process. And TJ Dillashaw made a strong case for a shot at Garbrandt's new title, using his well-rounded game to transform John Lineker, dangerous power puncher, into John Lineker, broken man. 

If that purple prose is any indication, we could go on about these three fights forever, and that's just about what we did on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. We break down Rousey's second consecutive loss, and the path which brought her to this point. We talk about Amanda Nunes' future. We analyze the possibility of a Garbrandt-Dillashaw title fight.  We even discuss our own ignorance and try to understand why we were so shocked to see Cody Garbrandt's final form.

All of that and more on this week's Heavy Hands. Enjoy!

Direct download: 140_ufc_207_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:11am EST

Christmas has come and gone, but it's Easter for Ronda Rousey, as the former champion finally makes her return after just over a year away from the Octagon. Much has changed since Rousey lost her bantamweight strap. It seems we barely had time to discuss a potential rematch with Holly Holm, the first woman to beat Rousey, before Miesha Tate became the first mixed martial artist to beat Holm. Nor would Tate face the biggest name in women's MMA, as she too would lose the title after a few months, leaving it around the waist of Amanda Nunes.

Not only do we get Nunes vs Rousey, but Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt as well. Cruz has been sterling since his long absence due to a litany of injuries, winning back and then defending the title that he never really lost. The bantamweight champ seems intent on staying active, too, as this will be his third fight in 2016, even if that makes it just his fourth fight in the last five years altogether. Does Cody Garbrandt have more than just a puncher's chance? If not, the winner of TJ Dillashaw vs John Lineker will surely be eager for a crack at Cruz's belt.

Three big fights, three in-depth breakdowns. These are some of the episodes we love the most, and we hope you enjoy the show. 

Direct download: 139_ufc_207.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:06pm EST

The UFC catches a lot of flak for their handling of prospects--and fighter development in general. Whether throwing a newly signed novice to the wolves or refusing to let shopworn contenders take even a momentary step down in competition, the Octagon has garnered a reputation as a stage where fighters are told to either sink or swim--no exceptions.

It is hard to blame matchmaking for this, though. Paige VanZant and Sage Northcutt are, in a way, cut from the same cloth. Both athletes look more like Disney Channel stars than fistfighters, and the UFC has doubled down on that incongruous appeal, often to the frustration of their hardcore fanbase. Both VanZant and Northcutt are legitimate prospects, however, and the UFC has consistently matched both pretty well. So when VanZant and Northcutt show few signs of improvement from one fight to the next--and even seem to regress in some areas--they have no one to blame but themselves. Or their parents. Or their camps. 

Point is, the UFC is not to blame for what happened at UFC on Fox 22, when both VanZant and Northcutt were beaten. Now really is time for the pretty blonde prospects to sink or swim. And on this week's Heavy Hands, we're talking about the techniques and practices that could either keep them afloat, or act as the cinder blocks around their ankles.

 

Direct download: 138_shade_northcutt.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:19am EST

UFC 206 was so good, you know we had to dedicate a solid chunk of this week's show to it. This week on Heavy Hands, Max Holloway's brilliant style is dissected, as are his chances in potential future matchups with Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor. As for Anthony Pettis, who was stopped for the first time by Holloway, we get into the reasons for his continuing decline, and discuss which matchups and methods could get him back on track as he prepares to return to the lightweight division.

Cub Swanson and Doo Ho Choi staged a classic, back-and-forth war, stealing the show from a number of other excellent fights. We break down Swanson's special swagger and the changes Choi will need to make to avoid a repeat beating. Donald Cerrone and Matt Brown, Kelvin Gastelum and Lando Vannata--this is the show for you if you're still stuck on that UFC 206 high. 

As for the final segment of the show, we look forward to fan favorite Paige VanZant's second main event appearance and the testing of Mickey Gall by Sage Northcutt, all set to take place next weekend.

Direct download: 137_holloway_and_vanzant.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:55pm EST

Jose Aldo is the featherweight champion once again. With former champion Conor McGregor being stripped and/or "relinquishing" the belt, it is officially the weirdest title change since Josh Barnett and Randy Couture back in 2002. But what is a championship of questionable validity without an even more questionable interim championship? 

Now, if I'm being honest, this cynical tone does not truly reflect my feelings for this fight. Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis are two of the most consistently entertaining fighters in the UFC today, and the mere prospect of either man facing Jose Aldo next year is tantalizing. That they also happen to match up so well with one another is just more reason to celebrate. The politics might be weird, but the fights are still good, and that's what matters. 

We're not only breaking down Holloway-Pettis on this week's Heavy Hands, but also looking ahead to Donald Cerrone's welterweight clash with Matt Brown. In addition to the previews, we look back at Demetrious Johnson vs Tim Elliott and Joseph Benavidez vs Henry Cejudo, two excellent fights and two strong ads for the UFC flyweight division.

Direct download: 136_ufc_206.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:35am EST

Demetrious Johnson is fighting a particular challenger this weekend, but we can't talk about that just yet. Instead, we get to look at the flyweight champion's place in the hierarchy of MMA greats, and discuss potential future fights that we would like to see. 

As for fights we can talk about on this episode, Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo are set to throw down, almost certainly with a shot at Johnson's belt on the line. Benavidez is one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC at this point, and his veteran savvy makes him a tough out for Cejudo, but if Henry took the right things away from his lopsided loss to the champion earlier this year, he has a chance to redeem himself.

Finally, how could we miss the chance to talk about the crazy thing that Vasyl Lomachenko did last weekend. The guy is an amazing boxer; we all knew that already. But Nicholas Walters was supposed to at least make him work for the win. Instead Lomachenko effortlessly outclassed the elite puncher before forcing him to quit on the stool after just 7 rounds. Yeah, we had to talk about that.

Direct download: 135_lomachenko.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:07pm EST

Sometimes in the fight game you just come across a plate heaping with delicious face-punching. A smorgasbord of combat, if you will. Such is the case on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. We talk about the impressive performances of some of the UFC contenders who competed last weekend: our constant companion Thomas Almeida, our sleeper favorite Krzysztof Jotko, Stevie Ray (now the new Ross Pearson), and welterweight insurgent Kamaru Usman.

Then it's on to future affairs, namely the middleweight showdown between fringe contenders Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson, a matchup which should vault one of those men into serious title contention.

Finally, a recap of the epic battle between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. These two pound-for-pound kings fought hard, forcing one another to adjust constantly, and proving that they are both living legends of the squared circle. The result was controversial--in fact your two hosts each scored the bout differently, but the fight gave fans of fisticuffs reasons to celebrate, and on today's show we do just that.

 

Direct download: 134_smorgasbord.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:32am EST

It happened, and it was glorious. Now is the time to bathe in the afterglow of UFC 205, and I can think of no better way to do that than to break down some fights!

At the top of the docket is, of course, Conor McGregor. In becoming the first two-division champion in UFC history, McGregor has truly established himself as the stuff of legends. He absolutely walloped Eddie Alvarez, and in the process set up for himself a murderer's row of hungry contenders. We break down in brief the idea of MGregor versus Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, and Jose Aldo--four of the most likely challengers for one of the Irishman's belts. 

Conor McGregor was not the only man to turn in an entertaining performance at UFC 205, however, and we spend some time talking about a few of our other favorites. Namely, Tyron Woodley, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and Yoel Romero. 

Enjoy the show, folks!

Direct download: 132_ufc_205_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:05am EST

The time is upon us. Americans, we survived the election. Non-Americans, we made it through a terrible, debilitating three-week UFC drought. Tony Ferguson's remarkable win over Rafael Dos Anjos was just the appetizer. This, UFC 205, is the main course of all main courses. 

And at the top of it all, Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez. The first champion versus champion fight since 2009, and Conor McGregor's chance to truly enter into the pantheon of MMA greats. On this week's Heavy Hands, we are breaking down the main event exhaustively. What strategies might work for either fighter? What did we learn from their recent fights? And, of course, who do we expect to win? 

After that, it's on to the co-main event, an intriguing matchup between newly crowned welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and the oddball contender favored to beat him, Stephen Thompson. Thompson may look like he belongs in a pair of shiny gi pants rather than Reebok board shorts, but he has proven himself against a litany of top fighters--that includes knocking out the invincible Johny Hendricks, and dismantling the cerebral Rory MacDonald. 

And finally, Kelvin Gastelum vs Donald Cerrone. It will be Gastelum's toughest test, and arguably Cerrone's as well. We discuss whether Cowboy's impressive welterweight run is doomed to fail, or whether he can overcome the odds yet again to defeat a naturally larger, more powerful opponent. 

My goodness, is it gonna be good! 

Direct download: 131_mcgregor_alvarez.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:20am EST

You know UFC 205 has too much good stuff to be covered by just one show, so we're previewing a few of the tentpole event's biggest fights on this week's show, and then covering the rest next week. This week, we talk Joanna Jedrzejczyk's strawweight title defense against fellow Pole Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Every Jedrzejczyk fight is an event to look forward to, and this time, matched with a relentless volume puncher with killer clinch skills, should be a barnburner. 

Our other UFC 205 fight is a meaningful battle between top lightweight contenders, namely undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson, a fast and mobile striker. Nurmagomedov has never faced such a fighter, and Johnson may just have the style to beat the man no one else has.

UFC 205 isn't the only exciting event on the horizon, however, and we also devote time to UFC Mexico's big main event, a thrilling matchup between former champion Rafael Dos Anjos and maniacal up- and-comer Tony Ferguson. In addition to that slobberknocker, we talk about the UFC debut of Invicta star Alexa Grasso, a talented striker and one of the most promising prospects in the stacked strawweight division. 

There is nothing better than breaking down such a collection of fantastic fights, and we hope you enjoy the show!

Direct download: 130_jedrzejczyk_and_rda.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:22am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST