Tue, 29 September 2015
UFC 192 is, across the board, the most well-matched card of 2015. So far, the bettors and bookies have no idea what to make of it, as the entire event seems riddled with live dogs, questionable favorites, and otherwise close matchups.
Among those is the main event, which sees UFC light heavyweight title holder Daniel Cormier put his belt on the line against former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson. Both Gustafsson and Cormier have proven their worth in competitive bouts against former champion Jon Jones, though most remember Gustafsson's as being just a little more competitive than Cormier's. Gustafsson has also proven himself to be one of the finest anti-wrestlers in the division, a skillset which serves to back up his crisp outside boxing game. So why is Cormier nearly a 4-to-1 favorite in some books?
In addition to our full breakdown of that matchup, Patrick and I have other picks that may surprise you, and we devote time to the most promising bouts on the card, including Alan Jouban vs Albert Tumenov, Joseph Benavidez vs Ali Bagautinov, Rose Namajunas vs Angela Hill, and Yair Rodriguez vs Dan Hooker.
Wed, 9 September 2015
Demetrious Johnson is undeniably one of the best to ever do it. The UFC's first and only flyweight champion recently outdid himself in a rematch with John Dodson. The man who had previously proven to be the most threatening challenger to Johnson's throne was summarily beaten in every phase. Johnson out-clinched, out-wrestled, and out-struck Dodson for twenty five minutes, making him look like an amateur rather than the man who had knocked Johnson down three times in their first fight.
And yet no one cares. Is it his size? Is it his dispassionate, technical mastery? Is it his generally agreeable personality? We ask these questions and more, and try to get at the heart of Johnson's brilliant fighting style in the process.
Then, it's on to the upsets. Both Pat and I were very unsuccessful with our predictions for this card, and no result was more surprising than the first-round knockout of Francisco Rivera by John Lineker, who proved himself a brawler worth fearing. Finally, we talk Felder vs Pearson, and the concept of layered offense--and specifically how Felder didn't have it.
Tue, 1 September 2015
This week on Heavy Hands we're relishing the fight buffet that is UFC 191. From the start of the televised prelims onward, this is a fight card rife with either relevance or entertainment value, and in many cases both.
I know, I know . . . half of you don't care about Demetrious Johnson because you only like fighters who can ride all the roller coasters at the amusement park, but if I had to pick just one fight from his impressive flyweight title run to appeal to average fight fans, it would be his first fight with John Dodson. Dodson floored Mighty Mouse several times, and the champion recovered, adjusted, and ended the fight battering Dodson with brutal knees and short punches in the clinch. If Dodson can build on his previous success, we might just be in for a stunning upset, and if not, then just remember what Demetrious Johnson did the last time he rematched an opponent: GIF.
Then, along with some exciting light heavyweight action, we have two old school heavyweights duking it out on the undercard in Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski. But most importantly, FRANCISCO RIVERA VERSUS JOHN LINEKER. As it turns out, John Lineker's many failures to make the flyweight limit were merely the result of the gentle hand of fate guiding him toward his destiny, and now he's set to face one of the most entertaining knockout artists at 135 pounds.
And we're breaking down all of this, and more on this episode. Tune in, and enjoy the show.
Tue, 28 July 2015
Ronda Rousey is starting to seem unbeatable, and nobody really seems to think that Bethe Correia will be the first woman to change that.
So today, we're focusing our attention on the woman who could beat Rousey--even if she doesn't necessarily exist yet. What style will it take to defuse the swarming, clinching, Judo-throwing approach of Rousey? And are there any fighters on the planet who fit the bill?
After that, we talk about the UFC's other bantamweight champ, TJ Dillashaw, who put on a scintillating performance in his second title defense against Renan Barao at UFC on Fox 17. Oh, and we urge you to lighten up on the man he beat as well.
Fri, 17 July 2015
Pat and I aren't sure who exactly is clamoring for a rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao, but we're certainly excited to see "Ill Dill" back in action.
After thrashing Barao en route to a fifth round KO to win the title, Dillashaw has quickly established himself as one of the smoothest, most technical strikers in the sport of MMA. Barao, likewise, is one of the best fighters on earth and certainly one of the best in the division, but neither Pat nor I expect him to overcome the stylistic hurdles of this matchup any better than he did last time. A born out-fighter, Barao does not react well to pressure, and his tendency to plant his feet and throw as his opponent moves around him is a recipe for disaster against the fleet-footed, angular Dillashaw.
We also find a little time to talk about Paul Felder and Edson Barboza, who fight further down on the card in a matchup of thrilling strikers. Will Felder's steady pressure and well-timed counters win the day, or can Barboza keep the fight at range and work in the short sequences of powerful punches and kicks that he throws so well? We're not sure, and that's what makes this bout so excellent!
Enjoy the show, folks.
Wed, 15 July 2015
Altogether, the main card of UFC 189 may have been the best collection of five fights we've ever seen. It was certainly up there. And capping off all the fantastic action were two incredible title fights--well, one title fight and one "title" fight.
Co-host Pat Wyman and I sat down to give this one an enthusiastic in-depth breakdown. How did Conor McGregor really look against Chad Mendes, and what did his performance teach us about his potential? One of us thinks he no longer has much of a shot against Aldo, and one of us thinks just the opposite. And we're both pretty sure he learned to grapple by studying 2005-era Wanderlei Silva.
Of course, we had to devote a healthy portion of the show to the instant classic welterweight title fight between (STILL) champion Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald, who proved himself to be an unbelievably game challenger. It was a tactical masterpiece, with both fighters struggling to out-adjust the other. It was also a visceral gut-checking kind of fight, that at times was hard to watch. Pat and I agree that Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald are two of the most intelligent, savvy men in all of MMA, and it's not often we get to see two such masters match up. Bravo to both men.
And we save a little time to talk Thomas Almeida to wrap things up.
It was a fantastic night of fights, and an absolute pleasure to break down here. We hope you enjoy the show.
Sat, 6 June 2015
If you've listened to Heavy Hands before, you know that Pat and myself haven't always been particularly fond of the technical prowess of Jackson-Winkeljohn fighters. We both agree, however, that Carlos Condit is among the finest fighters to have ever come out of Albuquerque's most prestigious MMA academy--and, in fact, he's one of the best in the world as a whole.
After discussing why Mike Winkeljohn's unique style might be so perfectly suited to Condit's strengths, we move on to Mirsad Bektic, one of UFC Goiania's other standouts, and discuss the nature of prospects in MMA.
Wed, 15 April 2015
It's another episode of Heavy Hands, and another great fight card to break down. This week Connor and Pat are looking into the best fights from UFC on Fox 15, including Lyoto Machida vs Luke Rockhold, Cub Swanson vs Max Holloway, and Beneil Dariush vs Jim Miller.
After a brief foray into the Heavy Bag to talk about gameplans (and fighters who claim not to use them), your hosts carry that topic into the fight discussions, coming up with on-the-spot strategies for the three big matchups named above. How does Machida beat Rockhold? How can Holloway thwart Swanson? And is it possible that Beneil Dariush can squeeze the life out of submission-master Jim Miller?
All of that and more on this episode of Heavy Hands.
Wed, 1 April 2015
Patrick and Connor have got a treat for you today--one of those rare episodes where they get the chance to just talk about two of their favorite fighters. Today's episode is all about Chad Mendes and Al Iaquinta, both of whom have made dramatic improvements in the striking realm over the past year.
And wouldn't you know, both of those men are fighting this Saturday--Mendes faces the always dangerous Ricardo Lamas, whose limitations are second only to his threats, and Iaquinta faces fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal. Both men fight atop the UFC's card in Fairfax, Virginia this April, the 4th.
It's some good old fashioned analysis, so sit down, grab a drink, and enjoy.
Wed, 18 March 2015
Upsets are a marvelous thing. In fact, you could say that unexpected upsets are what keep combat sports interesting. Particularly upsets of the kind that we witnessed in the main and co-main events of UFC 185, in which the favored fighters not only suffered defeat, but were proven to be vastly, utterly inferior to their underdog opponents.
Anthony Pettis was expected to be the Anderson Silva of this era, but Rafael Dos Anjos is no Chael Sonnen. The Brazilian fighter and Rafael Cordeiro product took Pettis to the woodshed for five rounds, eating plenty of shots but landing more of his own, and scoring takedowns that, for once, Pettis couldn't deter with his dangerous guard. In fact, Dos Anjos sliced right through that guard with ease.
In the co-main, Polish kickboxer Joanna Jedrzejczyk beat strawweight champion Carla Esparza in even more convincing fashion, capping off a week of talking with nine minutes of very impressive walking. Jedrzejczyk, who we've decided to call "Lady Golovkin" to save ourselves the embarassment of mispronouncing her name, beat Esparza to a pulp and seemed to undo all of the improvements made to Esparza's striking in just a matter of minutes, turning her fight with the former champion into nothing but target practice.
Our episode kicks off with a question from a fan about the nature of upsets, which almost always seem predictable in retrospect, and the discussion flows from there. Enjoy the show, folks.