Heavy Hands (ufc)

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