Heavy Hands
39 - The Small Steps of Gennady Golovkin & Michael Johnson

Today your hosts are obsessed with the small, subtle things that make high level combat so beautiful. Small steps, tiny shifts in rhythm. These are the things that separate the great from the merely good. 

Gennady Golovkin fights Martin Murray this Saturday on HBO, and whil few are expecting Murray to get the win, there is the distinct possibility that he will prove tough enough to take the fight into the late rounds which, for technique geeks, is a good thing. More fight time means more opportunities to study how Golovkin inches his way in and out of range, and from side to side, keeping himself balanced and poised for the knockout blow. Pat and Connor spend some time drooling over this aspect of the Kazakh's game. 

Then, this Sunday, Michael Johnson will use many of the same principles, toying with angles and rhythm to shoot long, straight punches at Edson Barboza who, while a very exciting fighter, lacks the technical finesse and depth of athletic talent possessed by his opponent. 

It's a good weekend for fight fans, and hopefully this episode of Heavy Hands gets you all the more excited. 

Direct download: 39_golovkin_and_johnson.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 8:21pm EDT

38 - Rhythm Is Gonna Get You

Rhythm.

What is it? How does it apply to fighting? Do you have to be born with it, or can it be learned? Why did Connor choose a Gloria Estefan song as the title for this episode?

All of these questions and more are answered on this latest installment of Heavy Hands. Your hosts discuss the importance of rhythm in combat sports, why fighters need it, and how it can be manipulated and used against an opponent. Nieky Holzken and Ben Henderson feature as masters of difficult timing.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 38_rrrrhythm.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

37 - Silva vs Diaz, Al Iaquinta, Listener Mailbag

So, Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz happened, and it was... different than we expected it to be. Of course, it was still a great fight, but the tactical battle between the two men may teach us a lot about where they go from here, how they can perform in future fights, and just how cool it is to see high level fighters from different weight classes putting it on the line against one another.

(also Anderson popped for steroids after the fight)

But hey! What about that Al Iaquinta? Pat thinks he can become a top five lightweight given time. Your hosts break down his combination-punching style, and talk about his potential.

And to open up the show, it's time for some listener mail. You sent the questions in, and we answered 'em.

Direct download: 37_silva_diaz_post_fight.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

Both Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz are coming off pairs of losses. Silva's defeats came at the hands (and shins) of Chris Weidman, a series of brutal finishes, the second of which left the former champ with a broken leg and a long recovery ahead of him. Diaz's losses came in a competitive decision to Carlos Condit, and a considerably less competitive decision to then-champion Georges St-Pierre.

Both men have been out for a long time, but now they return, and they're facing off. A fight that would have seemed impossible just two years ago is happening, and Pat and Connor couldn't be more excited.

Your hosts break down, in-depth, the styles of both competitors, and then compare notes to analyze the interesting way in which their styles match up. It's a tough fight to predict, and there's no concrete favorite, but we hope that this fight is as tantalizing to you as it is to us.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 36_silva_vs_diaz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:06pm EDT

Last week Pat and Connor discussed Conor McGregor as an aggressive counter puncher. This week we're talking Conor McGregor as a bonafide knockout artist and dangerous opponent for featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

Then there's next weekend's UFC main event, a number one contender's bout between top light heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. Your hosts break down the styles of the two men (hint: aggressive counter punching makes a return appearance), and give their predictions for the bout.

Finally, Deontay Wilder became the first American heavyweight boxing titlist since 2007 by beating Bermane Stiverne last weekend. Also, his style gives us some clues about how Gustafsson could beat Johnson this Saturday night. That deserves some discussion too, don't you think?

Direct download: 35_gustafsson_johnson.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

Conor McGregor is fighting this Sunday. His opponent, some guy named Dennis Silver, hasn't gotten a lot of love, but that's not exactly surprising, or even wrong. McGregor is an incredibly talented mixed martial artist and, interestingly, likely one of the hardest hitters at featherweight. As McGregor prepares to face what will likely be his last opponent before Jose Aldo, Patrick Wyman and Connor Ruebusch break down the subtleties of his style.

His left high kick. His wide left. And, interestingly, his tremendous power, which has gone largely unheralded despite his very high knockout ratio.

Next, your intrepid hosts discuss step-knees and Donald Cerrone--who just happens to like said knees an awful lot. Cerrone faces Ben Henderson for the third time in this weekend's co-main event.

Finally, a few minutes are devoted to the recently announced Johny Hendricks vs Matt Brown, a dream-fight that's sure to have fans of in-fighting everywhere salivating, and excusing themselves from fancy dinners while they take a few seconds to collect themselves.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 34_mcgregor_and_cerrone.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier don't like each other. They're both excellent wrestlers. And, most importantly, two of the best mixed martial artists in the world. Jon Jones may, in fact, be the very best.

All of those factors combined to make their January 3rd title clash a fight to remember, and Pat and Connor are here to break it all down. 

In-fighting is the topic of the day, as Jones and Cormier spent the vast majority of their bout battling it out toe-to-toe, in the clinch, against the cage, and just generally close enough to kiss--or elbow each other in the mug, as it transpired. Your hosts break down the various aspects of in-fighting, as well as the mean-spiritedness it takes for Jones to do it as well as he does.

Direct download: 33_jon_jones_and_infighting.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:12am EDT

Over the weekend we had a lot of meaningful MMA bouts and, more importantly, some really fun ones as well. In addition to the five round heavyweight war between former champion Junior Dos Santos and new fan-favorite Stipe Miocic, Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas fought to decide who would be the UFC's inaugural women's strawweight champion. Rafael Dos Anjos also put an entertaining beating on the enigmatic Nate Diaz.

What stood out in all of these bouts was footwork--the good and the bad, and so Pat and Connor decided to break down footwork in all its forms. What is footwork, exactly, and how do different fighters use it differently?

It's a good old fashioned technique breakdown, and you're invited. Enjoy!

Direct download: 31_footwork_dos_santos_namajunas_rda.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

The controversy surrounding UFC 181 can't go without some discussion, so that's the first topic on the table for Connor and Pat on today's episode of Heavy Hands.

After that, however, it's time to talk international fight styles. There are a number of regional schools in both boxing and wrestling, and today your hosts break them down. In addition, there are the three branches of "Muay Thai" that should be familiar to fans of MMA: the Dutch style, the Brazilian style, and of course the Thai style. What makes them different? From where do the different approaches to the same art stem, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

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

Direct download: 30_Regional_Fight_styles.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

When it comes to breaking down a fight, who better to ask than a world-renowned film junkie and MMA trainer who has prepared fighters for both of the competitors? That's why Connor and Pat asked Firas Zahabi, head of the world class Tristar Gym and trainer of such men as Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald, to analyze the main event of UFC 181, a welterweight title clash between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.

Zahabi cornered Rory MacDonald against Robbie Lawler last year, a fight which Lawler ultimately won, sealing his claim to a shot at the belt. Before that, Zahabi prepared then-champion Georges St-Pierre for now-champion Johny Hendricks, a bout that would prove to be GSP's toughest, and final title defense.

Firas breaks down both men for Pat and Connor on today's episode, and then your hosts discuss in detail their own thoughts on UFC  181, including both Hendricks-Lawler II, and the co-main event, a lightweight title fight between Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez.

Direct download: 29_Zahabi_and_UFC_181.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 10:28am EDT