Heavy Hands

Bloody Elbow’s Connor Ruebusch and boxing historian Kyle McLachlan talk about the 10 greatest boxers of all time, and place Floyd Mayweather in fistorical context.

Future episodes of this show will be available through the Heavy Hands Patreon. $3 a month grants access to 2+ monthly episodes plus feature series like this: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474

Direct download: 6_Fighters_greater_than_Mayweather.mp3
Category:Boxing -- posted at: 5:46pm EST

This week’s episode of Heavy Hands is all about big things on the horizon—except in this case, all of those big things are people, and most of them weigh less than the average gymnast.

That’s right, the main event of UFC 215 is on our radar, in which Demetrious Johnson is scheduled to make the record-breaking 11th defense of his UFC flyweight title against unheralded contender Ray Borg. In the co-main event, women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes will rematch Valentina Shevchenko in defense of her belt.

But the real star of this weekend’s lineup is not UFC 215, but HBO’s Superfly triple-header. Roman Gonzalez, until recently the #1 pound-for-pound fighter of many pundits, rematches the man who tarnished his undefeated record, Thai powerhouse Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Both men have a kayo rate of 81 percent, which sounds impressive until you consider the power of Naoya Inoue. The Japanese “Monster” is set to defend his WBO super flyweight belt, which the 24 year-old won in just his eighth pro fight, over two years ago. Finally, Juan Francisco Estrada, who gave headliner Roman Gonzalez one of his toughest ever fights, will take on another tough Gonzalez opponent in Carlos Cuadras.

The best mixed martial artist in the world and a championship grudge match at UFC 215. Three of the best boxers on earth, any of whom could give any of the others a memorable fight. It looks like a good weekend for combat sports fans, and we break it all down in our trademark style. Enjoy the show, friends.

Direct download: 175_ufc_215_and_SUPERFLY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm EST

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fought. It finally happened, and now it's finally over. Now, with the spectacle finished, we can comfortably discuss the fight as it played out. And fortunately for us here at Heavy Hands, the bout was a good deal more interesting than it had to be. We analyze Mayweather's limited-but-effective pressure game, the improvements and failings of McGregor's "MMA boxing," and the lessons we hope to see him take back to the UFC cage.

After that, it's on to a short preview of UFC Rotterdam, a mixed bag of a card that nonetheless contains a few very interesting fights. We analyze in brief and give our predictions. 

Take a breath. Have a glass of iced tea. Enjoy the peace and quiet for a moment. Then, enjoy the show!

Direct download: 174_A_New_World.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 4:30am EST

As the sun is blotted out in the sky, we await the be-all end-all of money fights, the Alpha and the Omega. Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor is finally upon us, and on this episode we finally take the time to talk about it on a technical level. How will Conor's MMA striking play off of Mayweather's boxing? What makes Mayweather such a daunting challenge, and how crazy would it actually be if McGregor won?

Of course, there is only so much close reading one can give a fight with so many X-factors (and seemingly so few regular factors to consider), so we brought on Chapo Trap House's Felix Biederman to discuss the nature of the fight game, the politics of combat sports, and the usefulness of martial arts in an increasingly violent political landscape. 

Direct download: 173_May-Mac_and_Felix_Biederman.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 2:05pm EST

Greg Jackson. Firas Zahabi. Rafael Cordeiro. Mike Brown. Matt Hume. Henri Hooft. If you are a fan of MMA, you are almost certainly familiar with at least one of these names, and quite possible the whole group. These are a few of the sport's elite trainers, and the fighters they produce exemplify their unique understandings of combat. By watching Jon Jones, you understand something about the mind of Greg Jackson. Firas Zahabi seems to speak through the punches and kicks of Rory MacDonald. And every guy Rafael Cordeiro trains turns into a human buzzsaw.

On this episode of Heavy Hands, we rate these teams (as best as we can from the outside) and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses relative to one another. After that, we name our most dangerous unranked fighters in the UFC, the overlooked warriors who haunt the shadows of the top ten. 

Direct download: 172_MMA_Camp_Power_Rankings.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:13pm EST

This weekend, Sergio Pettis gave fans hope. The younger brother of former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis earned the biggest win of his career, a clear and very impressive victory over Brandon Moreno. Pettis showed off his striking skill--both pressuring and countering--and carried himself with a level of comfort we had yet to see from him in the cage. We may have a serious contender on our hands, people. 

Then it's on to Vasyl Lomachenko--and speaking of hope, we discuss Lomachenko's opponents, who rarely seem to have any. Miguel Marriaga is not the most skillful adversary to date, but he fights well and hits hard, with 21 of 25 wins by knockout. And yet when round one began and Lomachenko met Marriaga in center ring, the puncher wanted nothing to do with "Hi-Tech's" hands. 

And at the end of today's show, we answer some questions from the Heavy Bag. Thanks patrons!

Direct download: 171_Pettis_and_Lomachenko.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:31am EST

This is a teaser for a full episode which can be found on the Heavy Hands Patreon page (link: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474 ). We release two or more of these bonus episodes every month--including interviews, fight breakdowns, and special feature series--and for just $3 a month you can hear it all. Thanks for the support, folks.

Direct download: bonus_16_teaser.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 4:26am EST

It happened. After a long and troubled hiatus from the sport of mixed martial arts, Jon Jones finally returned at UFC 214. No sport has ever missed an athlete more than MMA missed Jones these last two years—the one man perfectly suited for its unique and exacting demands. In regaining his title, Jones dethroned Daniel Cormier, and further cemented his status as one of the greatest fighters of all time.

On this week’s episode of Heavy Hands, we break down the fascinating back-and-forth that was this fight. We discuss Jones’ brilliant strategic mind, his firm grasp of initiative and mental warfare. Of course, for us, his win is bittersweet—because it is also Daniel Cormier’s loss. But while wrestling with the tragic aspect of this fight, we also get a chance to discuss the brilliant tactics which Cormier had prepared for his arch-rival. Everyone learns something on this very special episode of Heavy Hands (cue heartwarming sitcom music).

But that’s not all! Oh no. UFC 214 was loaded with exciting and meaningful fights, and we get into nearly all of them. The championship wins of Tyron Woodley and Cris Cyborg. The triumphant return of Robbie Lawler, and the still-surprising adroitness of Donald Cerrone at welterweight. The continued, unlikely run of Volkan Oezdemir, now knocking at Jones’ door (while Jones looks toward Brock Lesnar and the heavyweight division). Lamas, Sterling, Ortega, Katter—it’s all here, folks. It was a great card, and it led to a lot of great discussion. We hope you enjoy it.

Direct download: 170_Jones_Returns.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:55am EST

UFC 214 is right around the corner, and this week’s episode is all about the main event, a long-awaited rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. This time DC’s name comes first on the poster, and he will enter the cage second, with the belt (metaphorically) around his waist. Nonetheless, Jones never did lost that belt in a fight, and most are expecting him to make a triumphant return to his throne. On this week’s Heavy Hands, we break the fight down every way we know how, getting into the adjustments Cormier might make this time around, the confounding nature of the style matchup, and even Jones’ unimpressive win over Ovince Saint-Preux, his only Octagon appearance in the last two-and-a-half years.

And if that analysis happens to turn into a brief but heated argument about the difference between “close” and “competitive,” well then that’s just a little treat for you, our listeners. Come for the breakdowns, stay for the aggressive musings of the man some podcast hosts are calling “Passionate Pat.”

In addition to Cormier-Jones 2, we also get into a bout which was (thanks to the blood god, praised be his name) rescheduled for this date after it failed to happen at UFC 213. Robbie Lawler vs Donald Cerrone. It sounds amazing, and we are very excited for it. After that, it’s onto Manuwa-Oezdemir, Lamas-Knight, and Sterling-Barao.

Direct download: 169_Cormier_vs_Jones_2_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:53am EST

On this week's Heavy Hands, Patrick Wyman and Connor Ruebusch delve into two of the big matchups scheduled for UFC 214. Plus! Previews of Weidman-Gastelum and Rivera-Almeida, and a breakdown of Santiago Ponzinibbio's recent win.

Direct download: 168_Woodley_Cyborg_and_Gastelum.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:53pm EST