Heavy Hands (UFC)

This week on Heavy Hands, we're talking about UFC Rochester, a card with a mixed lineup that delivered nothing but consistent action, and more than a few surprising upsets. After that, it's on to the Heavy Bag. Here are our topics:

  • RDA finally has enough experience to defeat a slightly unpolished wrestler
  • Having survived the horrors of the Hyrkanian fighting pits, Ian Heinisch has no fear of muscly BJJ guys
  • Give Charles Oliveira a step up in competition! Either that, or let him fight Nik Lentz over and over for the next ten years. We'll watch either
  • Heavy Bag questions: what makes a fighter "UFC level?" what other analysts do we like? how valuable is body toughening for MMA? 
Direct download: 264_redux.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

You didn't pray for Jose, did you? Any of you. If you had, he would have won last weekend. Whereas now... well, now all of you are dead to us. Anyway, this week's topics include:

  • Can RDA finally defeat a big, strong wrestler?
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs Ian Heinisch
  • Vicente Luque vs Neil Magny DERRICK KRANTZ
  • Was Namajunas headed for a loss even before Andrade KO'd her?
  • How Alex Volkanovski outsmarted Jose Aldo on the feet, and the revenge we have planned for him
Direct download: 263_YOU_DIDNT_PRAY_FOR_JOSE_DID_YOU.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

Rose Namajunas has two wins over the greatest women's strawweight of all time. Now we're about to find out whether she's a fitting replacement. This week on Heavy Hands, we're talking about:

  • Has Rose Namajunas gotten good enough to overcome the physicality and aggression of Jessica Andrade?
  • Jose Aldo continues his quest to wipe out all the other featherweight contenders, this time against Alex Volkanovski. Pray for our boy
  • Silva vs Cannonier, Trinaldo vs Ferreira
  • How Donald Cerrone beat the rage out of Al Iaquinta
  • Elias Theodorou vs Derek Brunson: an absolute masterpiece of a bad fight
  • And Burgos vs Swanson, too
Direct download: 262_Pray_for_Jose.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:16pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we have about a billion fights to talk to you about, and we're having a good time discussing each and every one. Next weekend, Al Iaquinta and Cowboy Cerrone throw down, whereas last weekend saw some fascinating action in both the UFC and Bellator cages. Our topics:

  • Does Iaquinta have the footwork to stay in Cerrone's face?
  • How does Derek Brunson manage to be terrified of Elias Theodorou?
  • Shane Burgos and Cub Swanson--a repeat of Swanson's fight with Doo Ho Choi?
  • Jack Hermansson fought a perfect fight, and that's great but we feel bad for Jacare
  • Rory MacDonald's frustrating loss to a perfectly clean Jon Fitch
  • Cory Sandhagen may not have deserved the victory over John Lineker, but he fougth a damn good fight
Direct download: 261_Albert_vs_Donald.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:53pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we're still in emotional recovery from UFC 236, but the almighty schedule marches on. Russia last week, Florida this week. Aside from Greg Hardy's vile presence, though, it's really hard to complain about this upcoming main card. Today's topics include:

  • Does Jack Hermansson have the subtlety to beat an aging Jacare, or will aggression be enough?
  • Is Cowboy Oliveira the latest bruiser to bury Perry?
  • What does bantamweight's Carlos Condit have for John Lineker that Rob Font didn't?
  • Has Ion Cutelaba grown enough to beat crusty old man Glover?
  • Overeem! Tsarukyan! Shevchenko! Oleksiejczuk! So many consonants and so little time
Direct download: 260_Pinhead_Mackenzie.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:29pm EDT

We were only really watching UFC 236 for the two fights at the top of the card, and now that we're four days removed, we can still hardly believe what we saw. This week on Heavy Hands, we discuss:

  • Why did Dustin Poirier end up being such a tough foe for Max Holloway?
  • Does Max have a future at 155?
  • Kelvin Gastelum's valiant effort, and the lessons he hopefully learned from Adesanya
  • Khalil Rountree's career-best performance, and Eryk Anders' worst
  • Belal "Remember the Name" Muhammad--our dude does it again
  • Alistair Overeem vs Aleksey Oleinik: yes, this fight is happening
Direct download: 259_All_About_Oleinik.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:08pm EDT

The main and co-main event of UFC 236 are so compelling, it feels downright cheap to think of the winner of either bout being rewarded with a UFC interim title. Might as well give 'em a UFC hotdog brander, while you're at it. Anyway, we're talking about all the good stuff on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. 

  • Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier--who's improved more over the last seven years?
  • Does Kelvin Gastelum have the technical depth to trouble Israel Adesanya on the feet?
  • OSP vs Nikki Thrillz: if there is a God, Von Preux
  • Jalin Turner vs Matt Frevola--meaningless fun?
  • Curtis Millender vs Belal Muhammad (we hope you remembered the name)
Direct download: 258_Holloway_vs_Poirier_2.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

We have a UFC-less weekend ahead of us for what feels like the first time in an age, and that means finally answering your Heavy Bag questions. But before we can enjoy the nonviolence, we have to break down Justin Gaethje's huge KO of Edson Barboza last weekend. 

Topics: 

  • Why was Justin Gaethje an underdog, again?
  • Phil explains his irrational hatred of Josh Emmett
  • Sodiq Yusuff beating Sheymon Moraes in just his 7th pro fight makes his Lloyd Irvin affiliation all the more disappointing. He's really good, guys
  • KEVIN HOLLAND
  • What is "anti-technique," and is there such a thing as "anti-style"?
  • Why is striking defense so consistently poor in MMA, and how can it be trained more efficiently?
  • How do we pick up so many details when we watch fights?

 

Direct download: 257_VACATION_ALL_I_EVER_WANTED.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

  • How can Edson Barboza survive a terrible style matchup against Justin Gaethje?
  • What does Michelle Waterson have for Karolina Kowalkiewicz?
  • It's a real shame Sodiq Yusuff is a Lloyd Irvin guy, because he looks really good
  • What Anthony Pettis did well last weekend, and why he's still fundamentally the same guy
  • Justin Willis' flat feet, and other reasons that he is not Francis Ngannou
  • Maycee Barber's newfound grit
Direct download: 256_Night_of_the_Shattered_Femurs.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we've got a boatload of brilliant fight analysis for you. The UFC schedule continues, but we are thoroughly enjoying the start of the new UFC/ESPN era. 

Topics include:

  • Are Darren Till and Jorge Masivdal set to have another boring welterweight fight?
  • Does Leon Edwards have the well-rounded skillset to nullify Gunnar Nelson's deadly specialties?
  • Volkan Oezdemir is gonna boop Dominick Reyes. Isn't he.
  • Why was Junior Dos Santos so uncharacteristically reckless against Derrick Lewis?
  • Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos--grade A action fighter if the opponent is well-rounded; silent killer if they aren't
  • Price vs Means, Dariush vs Dober, and Rocco Martin vs Moraes
Direct download: 254_Welterweight_Wango_Tango.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, there are far too many fights, in the best way possible. We're in the midst of a glut of exciting UFC cards, and if that means the episodes get a little long, well... hopefully you're the kind of weirdo who likes that. We discuss:

  • Jon Jones' easy walk over Anthony Smith
  • Kamaru Usman's brilliant performance, and how Tyron Woodley's gambit finally failed to pay off
  • Is Derrick Lewis another easy opponent for late-career JDS?
  • Getting excited about how similar Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos vs Curtis Millender looks to Ponz vs Taleb (an instant classic)
  • Yes, we talk about Herb Dean's controversial premature stoppage of Lawler vs Askren
  • And, somehow, more
Direct download: 253_Too_Many_Fights_2019.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:19am EDT

2019 feels like it's been off to a strong start for fans of face-punching, and UFC 235 is one of the best cards of the year so far. This week on Heavy Hands, we're breaking down six of the top fights.

  • Jon Jones needs to eat, and Anthony Smith is just crazy enough to get eaten
  • Can Kamaru Usman keep the pressure on Tyron Woodley without getting flatlined?
  • How good does Ben Askren need to be to take advantage of Robbie Lawler's lifelong hatred of boring wrestlers?
  • Cody Garbrandt takes a big risk returning against Pedro Munhoz
  • Misha Cirkunov vs Johnny Walker, just to remind you what the REST of light heavyweight looks like
Direct download: 252_Feeding_Jones.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:41pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we're breaking down the most light heavyweight of matchups, by which we mean a fight between an old white guy and a middleweight. That's right, Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos are fighting in Prague, and we're just sad that one of 'em has to lose. 

Topics this week include:

- Does Jan Blachowicz have enough in common with the likes of Gegard Mousasi to outsmart Marreta?

- How will Petr Yan deal with John Dodson, his craftiest (and most frustrating) opponent to date?

- Damir Hadzovic vs Polo Reyes: your Luque-Barberena of the week

- Last week's very brief main event, Ngannou vs Velasquez, and Connor's abiding shame for having picked Cain to win

- Brilliant performances in challenging matchups: the gameplans of Paul Felder, Andre Fili, and Aljamain Sterling

Direct download: 251_HEROES_COLLIDE.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

You know how last week's card was shockingly bad for a pay-per-view? Well this next one looks shockingly excellent for something happening on cable TV. This week on Heavy Hands, we're breaking down six of the biggest and most exciting matchups.

Topics include:

  • Is Cain Velasquez simply too broken down to make good on the obvious stylistic advantage he has over Francis Ngannou?
  • Is Paul Felder's best chance against James Vick to take him down?
  • Cortney Casey's sluggish-strawweight-Condit stylings against the inconsistent peppering of Cynthia Calvillo
  • Kron Gracie has earned two very credible wins so far, but can anything have prepared him for the directionless madness of Alex Caceres?
  • Does Barberena have the horsepower to come back from a Vicente Luque beating in the first round?
  • Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling: bantamweight fucking rules
Direct download: 250_Free_Willie_Velasquez.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:10pm EDT

The UFC returns to Australia with UFC 234 and, well... it's not quite as good as their last show down under, is it? Nonetheless, the main and co-main events feature a squadron of must-see fighters, and we still have Assuncao vs Moraes to recap, as well. This week, on Heavy Hands, we talk about...

  • Why is Kelvin Gastelum so frustrating for fight nerds like us?
  • Is Israel Adesanya the next Anderson Silva, and will the answer to that question have any bearing on how badly he batters the old Spider?
  • Marlon Moraes' new slate of knockout wins
  • Connor's shame at having picked against Jose Aldo, and his joy at seeing the featherweight GOAT get another landmark win
  • Charles Oliveira, Demian Maia, and Johnny Walker
Direct download: 249_Whittaker_vs_Gastelum.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we're looking forward to the (quite stacked) main card of UFC: Assuncao vs Moraes 2, and also looking back at Bellator: Fedor vs Bader

  • Does Raphael Assuncao have the fire to beat Marlon Moraes in another closely contested fight?
  • Is Renato Moicano simply too big for an aging Jose Aldo?
  • Maia vs Good, Oliveira vs Teymur, Walker vs Ledet
  • Ryan Bader vs the mouldering corpse of Fedor Emelianenko
  • Aaron Pico: what happens if you throw a blue chip talent against tough opposition from the very beginning of his career? 

Support Heavy Hands, and gain access to bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474

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Or on Spotify!

 

Direct download: 248_Bad_Looks_for_Connors_Faves.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

UFC: Cejudo vs Dillashaw marked the promotion's first event on ESPN+, which is another thing you're supposed to buy to follow this sport. It was one hell of a good card, and it ended with an unexpected--but somewhat anticlimactic--bang. On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we're breaking it all down. 

Topics include:

  • How come TJ Dillashaw got murked like that, and did the weight cut have anything to do with it (probably, yes)
  • Has Henry Cejudo's win done anything to help save the UFC's flyweight division?
  • Old man strength in action: breaking down Donald Cerrone, Joe Benavidez, and Glover Teixeira's crafty performances
  • Geoff Neal, and other names you should get used to hearing
  • You still have to remember Belal Muhammad's name, though
Direct download: 247_Coming_up_Dillashort.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:46pm EDT

After a nice, long break, the UFC returns with the first card of their new deal with ESPN. As was the case in the early Fox days, they're breaking out the big guns for this one, delivering a card that looks all the better for the breather we got beforehand. 

This week on Heavy Hands, topics include:

- What problems does TJ Dillashaw's unique (and uniquely limited) style pose to Cejudo?

- Is the UFC deliberately trying to match Gregor Gillespie up against the tallest lightweights possible, and is James Vick available?

- Has Dustin Ortiz improved enough to beat an all-time-great in Joe B?

- Is Donald Cerrone about to pass the torch, or is he a sneakily bad matchup for Alexander Hernandez?

And more. Too much more. Somebody stop us.

Direct download: 246_The_Last_Superfight.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:51am EDT

UFC 232 has come and gone, but we are far from done thinking about it. Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes asserted themselves as two of MMA's most dominant fighters, and all the way down the card, wars were waged, contenders were made, and prospects were proving themselves. 

This week on Heavy Hands, we're breaking it all down in-depth. Topics include:

  • How Jones' improvements as a boxer made Gustafsson far easier prey this time around, and how his style continues to develop and improve
  • Amanda Nunes is scary
  • But also, what the hell was Cyborg thinking
  • How Alexander Volkanovski's sharp jab and intelligent pressure wore Chad Mendes down quickly
  • Petr Yan's sensational-yet-simple combination punching
  • Ryan Hall dooms Team Tristar to another generation of ill-advised Imanari roll attempts

...and more!

Direct download: 244_Jones_masterpiece_Nunes_slaughter.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Fights are happening soon.

Up to now, UFC 232 has been a shambles. After yet another failed PED test for erstwhile light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, the UFC, and the commissions which are supposed to regulate them, conspired to move the card from Vegas to LA on a week's notice, not even bothering to tell most of the fighters on the undercard about the expensive change. 

Of course, the fights are still happening, so we set (most) of our complaining aside and look at the matchups, as such. And--let's be real--UFC 232 is one hell of a good card. Just be sure to blame Jon Jones for this episode being late.

Topics this week include:

  • How close was the first fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, really?
  • Is greatness still within the Mauler's reach, or is a full, proper camp enough for Bones to overcome his size?
  • Cris Cyborg's underrated technique, and Amanda Nunes' bantamweight physicality
  • Is Alexander Volkanovski ready for Chad Mendes, and if not, would he ever be?
Direct download: 243_Blame_Jon_Jones_for_the_episode_being_late.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:09pm EDT

The last UFC card to appear on big Fox came and went, and it left some of us scratching our heads. This week on Heavy Hands, we're breaking down Kevin Lee vs Al Iaquinta, and answering some solid questions from our supporters.

Topics include:

  • What exactly was going through Kevin Lee's mind when he chose to spend so much of the fight striking, and how much credit does Iaquinta deserve for getting him to fight that way?
  • Helpful, violent reminder: Edson Barboza loses to big wrestlers,  beats slow strikers who hang out at long range
  • Sergio Pettis' perma-problems, and Rob Font's lovely jab
  • Whatever happened to low kicks and Dutch kickboxing combos in MMA?
  • What are the best examples of how to use gameplanning to defuse a pressure fighter? What about an out-fighter, a brawler, etc?
  • And more
Direct download: 242_lee_iaquinta.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we're looking back at UFC 231. Keep your eyes peeled for a preview of next weekend's Lee vs Iaquinta on our Patreon. 

Topics on this episode include:

- Max Holloway's dramatic beatdown of Brian Ortega--how he confused and outclassed T-City for the better part of four rounds

- Valentina Shevchenko beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Phil needs at least 15 minutes to gloat

- Gunnar Nelson continues to befuddle, dropping the first round badly only to get an uncharacteristic (and disgustingly gory) comeback win over Cowboy Oliveira

- Thiago Santos. THIAGO SANTOS. 

- THIAAAAGOOOO SAAANTOOOOOS

Direct download: 241_THIAAAGOOO_SAAANTOOOOOOS.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:46am EDT

It's time. IT IS TIME. UFC 231 is upon us, and that means two of the most intriguing title fights we've had in some time--and only one of them is a "superfight," and such a good one that no one has even bothered mentioning it. 

This week on Heavy Hands:

- How fully has Max Holloway recovered, really, and can he still be a stylistic thorn in T-City's side?

- What would it take for Joanna Jedrzejczyk to beat Valentina Shevchenko, who bested her three times in Muay Thai?

- Cowboy Oliveira and Gunnar Nelson: what the hell is going on

- Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos: will middleweights continue to take over the light heavyweight division?

- Claudia Gadelha vs Nina Ansaroff: a gimme for the grappler, or perfect timing for the up-and-comer?

Direct download: 240_Bless_this_Mess.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

With UFC Beijing behind us, and a dual-card weekend right on the horizon, we have a lot to choose from, this week. Then again, when the UFC's event schedule gets this crazy, you have to pick and choose. Fortunately, we'll have another bonus episode coming out soon to preview a few of the upcoming undercard bouts that we didn't have time for.

On this week's episode of Heavy Hands:

  • Rafael dos Anjos pretty much always loses to aggressive wrestlers--but are there enough holes in Kamaru Usman's game to make the difference?
  • It's hard to trust Junior Dos Santos these days, but is Tai Tuivasa capable of testing his embedded weaknesses, or just his chin?

  • Jake Matthews is going through his fourth puberty, and he looks pretty scary, but fellow weight-gainer Tony Martin could be a sharp enough puncher to take him out

  •  

     Bryan Caraway is fun to hate and fun to watch--but Pedro Munhoz looks like a terrible matchup for him

  • Francis Ngannou returned to form at UFC Beijing--but what does that mean for his future?
  • Discussing the impressive, exciting wins of Overeem, Song Yadong, Li Jingliang, and Zhang Weili
Direct download: 239_Too_Many_Fights_again.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

UFC Buenos Aires wasn't a bad card, by any means. And UFC Beijing will doubtless have some very good fights on it. But let's be honest: we've all seen better lineups, and more interesting results. Here we are, friends, back in the shit.

Nonetheless, there was some good stuff to discuss on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. We had a good time, even if we weren't particularly surprised by anything. Topics include:

- The wreckless (or punitive) matchmaking that has Francis Ngannou rematching Curtis Blaydes while on a two-fight skid, and the many improvements Blaydes has made since their first meeting

- Song Yadong, super-athletic Chinese prospect, and the Contender Series loser who seems to stand a good chance of beating him

- Neil Magny's fruitless fight for survival, and the simple techniques that allowed Santiago Ponzinibbio to dominate him

- Ricardo Lamas. He's Actually Good, guys

- Johnny Walker, the latest violent weirdo to make his mark in the UFC

- Chito Vera--literally the best fighter on earth

- Should the UFC simply combine their light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions?

Direct download: 238_No_Surprises.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:44pm EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

"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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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