Tue, 17 November 2015
Holly Holm wasn't supposed to beat Ronda Rousey. She wasn't even supposed to survive for more than a round or two. Expectations didn't stop her from putting on the performance of a lifetime, however, and her training and preparation seemed absolutely flawless.
On the other end of the bout, Ronda Rousey had an unbelievable amount of trouble with Holly Holm. The loss highlighted some of the flaws in her game, particularly in her boxing. Rousey has trained her hands diligently at Glendale Fight Club under coach Edmond Tarverdyan, but there is reason to doubt the effectiveness of this training. On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we talk about the changes Rousey will need to make in order to prevent a repeat of this result when she rematches Holm--and a change of camp just might be at the top of that list.
After that, it's on to the co-main event, in which strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk showed off her adaptability against an unexpectedly tough challenger, despite breaking her right hand early in the fight.
Tue, 10 November 2015
Ronda Rousey achieved the status of a "not if, but how" fighter years ago. No longer do we wonder whether or not she will beat the next opponent in front of her; we merely ask how she'll get the finish, and how long it will take. And though she has yet to rematch Claudia Gedelha, to whom she arguably lost, strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is starting to take on a similar aura.
So on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we're talking about stylistic matchups, and trying to figure out just what, if anything, Holly Holm and Valerie Letourneau have to offer the queens of MMA.
After that it's a recap of last weekend's two standout fighters, Thomas Almeida and Rashid Magomedov. One earned yet another knockout, but did so in impressively intelligent fashion; the other earned yet another decision, but did so with the same fascinating surgical precision as always. Both seem destined for the top tens of their respective divisions.
Wed, 4 November 2015
UFC Sao Paolo is chock full of fantastic matchups between prospects and the veterans who love to thwart them. On this week's episode of Heavy Hands we're talking about the process of becoming a prospect, and where we expect these standout fighters to go next.
First there's Rashid Magomedov, a Master of Sport in both boxing and Russian hand-to-hand combat, who combines his precise hands with a stellar kicking game and excellent distance management. Magomedov, a finished product who has yet to break through, faces off against Gilbert Burns, a true prospect with massive potential but only three and a half years of pro MMA experience.
We also discuss Thomas Almeida, Corey Anderson, and the other young athletes that make UFC Sao Paolo such a fantastic card from top to bottom.
Wed, 28 October 2015
Today on Heavy Hands we're discussing southpaws.
Last weekend's fights gave us a number of open stance (southpaw vs orthodox) fights, and most of them highlighted just how challenging it can be for an orthodox fighter to strategize for a southpaw. Darren Till vs Nicolas Dalby, Tom Breese vs Cathal Pendred, and Terence Crawford vs Dierry Jean all demonstrated some of the essential challenges of open stance fighting, while inspiring us to discuss some unconventional ways to defuse the unique challenges offered by a southpaw opponent (or an orthodox opponent, if you're a lefty).
Today's episode also marks the launch of Heavy Hands on Patreon, a site that allows listeners to fund the show in exchange for rewards. Please take a moment and a few dollars to help support the podcast. We're also interested in hearing your suggestions for rewards that you would like to see!
Wed, 21 October 2015
This week on Heavy Hands we're celebrating the one-year anniversary of the illustrious Mr. Patrick Wyman joining the show, and there's only one way to do that: talking about fights!
More specifically, we're doing something we always enjoy, which is talking about underappreciated fighters and up-and-comers. Joseph Duffy is the man of the hour this week, and we admire the depth of his game, which includes not only a slick submission grappling base, but some of the very best boxing in the stacked lightweight division. Oh, and we do a little griping about the state of boxing in MMA, too.
After that it's on to Nicolas Dalby vs Darren Till, one of the most fascinating matchups on this weekend's UFC: Dublin card, and then Golovkin vs Lemieux and Gonzalez vs Viloria. I eat a little crow and admit that Gennady Golovkin turned into a much more impressive performance than I ever could have expected, and we praise Brian Viloria for a game effort against the very best boxer on the planet.
Wed, 14 October 2015
If you're looking for action, then look no further. This weekend may be devoid of UFC fights, but that's only to make room for the most tantalizing lineup of the entire boxing year. HBO's October 17th pay-per-view card features fan-favorite Gennady Golovkin vs David Lemieux, while the co-feature sees flyweight king (and #1 pound-for-pound) Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez taking on Brian Viloria.
Altogether, these four fighters boast a 79% knockout rate. If we remove the hard-hitting but somewhat conservative Brian Viloria from the equation, that number rises to 88%. In other words, knockouts and knockdowns seem very, very likely.
For Golovkin, Lemieux represents the first real puncher he's faced since breaking through as a middleweight star. Lemieux may, in fact, be the single most powerful puncher at middleweight, though he lacks the depth of skill that Golovkin possesses. Still, at just 26 years old, Lemieux is improving with every fight, and it will be interesting to see Golovkin against a man who may actually be able to force him backward.
As for Gonzalez, he's really just passing time while waiting for either a rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada, whose incredible boxing skills I broke down here, or a fight with breakout super flyweight champ Naoya Inoue. Gonzalez is a must see fighter, heavy handed with excellent defense and superb combination punching, and though he'll almost certainly beat Viloria, the Hawaiian veteran has enough craft and pop to make the contest interesting.
We break down both of these fights in-depth, discussing not only the meaning of each bout for the fighters involved, but the strategies and techniques we expect to see in both.
Wed, 7 October 2015
There are a lot of things to unpack following UFC 192, as we knew there would be. A card so loaded with meaningful matchups unsurprisingly had its share of meaningful results, and on this week's episode of Heavy Hands we discuss the most interesting ones.
The title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson was stupendous and troubling in the way that all truly great fights are. While Gustafsson defied those who counted him out as we predicted he would, he may also have confirmed some of our fears about his mental state following a crushing knockout defeat at the hands of Anthony Johnson last year. Daniel Cormier, on the other hand, dealt with Gustafsson's size better than we ever expected, and proved himself to be the very best at light heavyweight--except for Jon Jones, now hungrily waiting in the wings.
In the co-feature, Ryan Bader put the pieces together. After a difficult evolution as a striker, including the loss of a coach that had only begun to make marked improvements to Ryan's boxing skills, the light heavyweight division's least-remembered man finally got the marquee win he has lacked for so long, using beautiful timing to disrupt the rhythm of Rashad Evans en route to a lopsided decision win over the returning veteran.
And Albert Tumenov . . . my God, Albert Tumenov did some nasty things to Alan Jouban on the undercard. Is he the best boxer at welterweight? Only time will tell, but we have our thoughts. All of that and more on this episode of Heavy Hands.
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.
Tue, 22 September 2015
On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, Patrick Wyman and I are breaking down one of combat sport's most confounding styles: the brawler.
Already on this show we've looked at some of the classic boxing archetypes that exist across the board in fighting sports, including boxer-punchers, out-fighters, pressure fighters, and more. Understanding the mindsets that go into these styles is always a tricky thing, but they are all relatively well defined. Not so with the oddball of the group, the brawler.
Brawlers come in many shapes and sizes, but they are universally defined by their willingness to take damage to dish out damage. Whether this is the result of poor discipline, extreme self-confidence, or even a pathological desire to do others maximum physical harm we're not quite sure, but we look through some of history's most legendary brawlers in an attempt to get at the mentality that makes the archetype tick.
We talk Justin Gaethje and Rocky Marciano, Manny Pacquiao and Chan Sung Jung. Can a brawler be the best in the world? That depends on your definition, but our conclusions might surprise you.
Wed, 16 September 2015
In the aftermath of the latest hearing of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, we're celebrating a career that very commission may have just ended. Facing a five-year suspension from mixed martial arts competition, it's possible that Nick Diaz could never be seen in the Octagon again. And that's a shame.
We're looking back at some of Diaz's best performances and celebrating the innovative aspects of a style that has often been derided or ignored altogether. Diaz's pace, his volume striking, his clinch fighting--all of these make him an important figure in the history of MMA.
After that it's on to Bellator Dynamite, a combination MMA and kickboxing event that features an excellent light heavyweight tournament. Alongside ex-UFC fighter Phil Davis and King Mo Lawal, Emanuel Newton stands as the most interesting man in the tournament, as well as one of the most interesting men in the entire division. We try to understand the absolute weirdness of Newton's style, an approach that shouldn't work but does, over and over again.
We're not sure how he'll do in the tournament, but we'll be tuning in to find out, because Emanuel Newton's is a weirdness worth watching.