Heavy Hands (ufc)

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

Matchmaking is a difficult job, so let this week's episode of Heavy Hands stand as a celebration of good matchmaking. Sure. UFC Fortaleza's main event felt like a bit of a letdown--Vitor Belfort was essentially fed to Kelvin Gastelum, name value and all, and the fight played out just as expected. And UFC London's main event is similarly uninspiring, with a well-matched but lowkey scrap between Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson taking pole position.

The undercards, though...

Last weekend's undercard was full of entertaining battles, and next week's promises more of the same. We are discussing the main events on this show, but we're also paying special attention to the flying knee knockout of Edson Barboza, and the valiant defense put up by Shogun Rua. Then it's on to London, where Alan Jouban and Gunnar Nelson are set for a classic war of styles, Arnold Allen and Makwan Amirkhani will seek to prove whose star is brighter, and Joe Duffy and Tom Breese attempt to regain momentum and put the name "Tristar Gym" back on everybody's lips. 

Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard have been doing an excellent job in Joe Silva's absence, and this week's show celebrates that. It's a fight smorgasbord, people, so come ready to tuck in.

Direct download: 150_fortaleza_london_smorgasbord.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:20pm EDT

Well, they can't all be winners. In their first fight there were hints that Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson might not be the kind of rivalry we wanted. They were rarely willing to collaborate in that first bout, and only the concrete threat of Woodley's power--and Thompson's ability to withstand it--turned the slow scrap into a nail-biting affair. We wondered last week what adjustments both men would make to seal the deal this time around--as it turns out, they both moved away from the measured action of the first fight and into the measured inaction of this one. Woodley-Thompson I was among the best fights of 2016; Woodley-Thompson II will go down as one of the worst title fights ever (though certainly not the worst). 

We're breaking it all down on this week's Heavy Hands, and fortunately talking about happier subjects too. Like David Teymur's victory over Lando Vannata, both tactical and thrilling. Or "Dadbod" Dan Kelly's win over Rashad Evans, odd and inspiring. Or how about Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, two more boxers receiving 2017 as the year of the meaningful matchup. 

It was a good weekend for fight fans, and without it Woodley-Thompson II would not be so fun to gripe about. Silver linings, I guess. But hey, we're not too interested in dwelling on the past, and we also give our thoughts on two of the best fights scheduled for next weekend's UFC event in Fortaleza, Vitor Belfort vs Kelvin Gastelum, and Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush. 

Direct download: 149_recapping_the_shitshow.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:39am EDT

UFC 209 is this week, and the bulk of this week's Heavy Hands is dedicated to the fantastic main and co-main events of that card. First up we've got the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson, who fought to a nail-biting draw at UFC 205. We discuss the adjustments Thompson could have made since the first battle, and the secret genius of Woodley's unassuming style.

After that it's on to Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson, or, as we call it, the best lightweight fight possible today. The combined record of these men is 46-3, and while Dagestan's Nurmagomedov can brag that none of the three losses are his, Tony Ferguson is undeniably the toughest and strangest matchup of his career. Will Ferguson's boxing and submission wrestling prevail, or will Nurmagomedov test his chin after dragging him to the ground? Or... wait, could Ferguson's chin survive and then he outlasts Nurmagomedov down the stretch? Or maybe Khabib's stamina really is as good as it has seemed, and this fight will see him hitting takedowns with greater and greater ease over the course of the bout... 

Whatever happens, it will be an amazing fight.

Finally, our episode wraps with a segment requested by one of our patrons, in which we discuss the differences between the MMA and boxing clinches--and yes, that means getting into Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather, too.

Direct download: 148_ufc_209.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:18am EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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