Heavy Hands (UFC)

Sometimes in the fight game you just come across a plate heaping with delicious face-punching. A smorgasbord of combat, if you will. Such is the case on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. We talk about the impressive performances of some of the UFC contenders who competed last weekend: our constant companion Thomas Almeida, our sleeper favorite Krzysztof Jotko, Stevie Ray (now the new Ross Pearson), and welterweight insurgent Kamaru Usman.

Then it's on to future affairs, namely the middleweight showdown between fringe contenders Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson, a matchup which should vault one of those men into serious title contention.

Finally, a recap of the epic battle between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. These two pound-for-pound kings fought hard, forcing one another to adjust constantly, and proving that they are both living legends of the squared circle. The result was controversial--in fact your two hosts each scored the bout differently, but the fight gave fans of fisticuffs reasons to celebrate, and on today's show we do just that.

 

Direct download: 134_smorgasbord.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:32am EDT

It happened, and it was glorious. Now is the time to bathe in the afterglow of UFC 205, and I can think of no better way to do that than to break down some fights!

At the top of the docket is, of course, Conor McGregor. In becoming the first two-division champion in UFC history, McGregor has truly established himself as the stuff of legends. He absolutely walloped Eddie Alvarez, and in the process set up for himself a murderer's row of hungry contenders. We break down in brief the idea of MGregor versus Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, and Jose Aldo--four of the most likely challengers for one of the Irishman's belts. 

Conor McGregor was not the only man to turn in an entertaining performance at UFC 205, however, and we spend some time talking about a few of our other favorites. Namely, Tyron Woodley, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and Yoel Romero. 

Enjoy the show, folks!

Direct download: 132_ufc_205_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:05am EDT

The time is upon us. Americans, we survived the election. Non-Americans, we made it through a terrible, debilitating three-week UFC drought. Tony Ferguson's remarkable win over Rafael Dos Anjos was just the appetizer. This, UFC 205, is the main course of all main courses. 

And at the top of it all, Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez. The first champion versus champion fight since 2009, and Conor McGregor's chance to truly enter into the pantheon of MMA greats. On this week's Heavy Hands, we are breaking down the main event exhaustively. What strategies might work for either fighter? What did we learn from their recent fights? And, of course, who do we expect to win? 

After that, it's on to the co-main event, an intriguing matchup between newly crowned welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and the oddball contender favored to beat him, Stephen Thompson. Thompson may look like he belongs in a pair of shiny gi pants rather than Reebok board shorts, but he has proven himself against a litany of top fighters--that includes knocking out the invincible Johny Hendricks, and dismantling the cerebral Rory MacDonald. 

And finally, Kelvin Gastelum vs Donald Cerrone. It will be Gastelum's toughest test, and arguably Cerrone's as well. We discuss whether Cowboy's impressive welterweight run is doomed to fail, or whether he can overcome the odds yet again to defeat a naturally larger, more powerful opponent. 

My goodness, is it gonna be good! 

Direct download: 131_mcgregor_alvarez.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:20am EDT

You know UFC 205 has too much good stuff to be covered by just one show, so we're previewing a few of the tentpole event's biggest fights on this week's show, and then covering the rest next week. This week, we talk Joanna Jedrzejczyk's strawweight title defense against fellow Pole Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Every Jedrzejczyk fight is an event to look forward to, and this time, matched with a relentless volume puncher with killer clinch skills, should be a barnburner. 

Our other UFC 205 fight is a meaningful battle between top lightweight contenders, namely undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson, a fast and mobile striker. Nurmagomedov has never faced such a fighter, and Johnson may just have the style to beat the man no one else has.

UFC 205 isn't the only exciting event on the horizon, however, and we also devote time to UFC Mexico's big main event, a thrilling matchup between former champion Rafael Dos Anjos and maniacal up- and-comer Tony Ferguson. In addition to that slobberknocker, we talk about the UFC debut of Invicta star Alexa Grasso, a talented striker and one of the most promising prospects in the stacked strawweight division. 

There is nothing better than breaking down such a collection of fantastic fights, and we hope you enjoy the show!

Direct download: 130_jedrzejczyk_and_rda.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:22am EDT

Prior to October 8th, 2016, it was said by a certain MMA writer that Dan Henderson had put on his last great performance against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, five depressing years ago. Well, that guy's name is Connor Ruebusch (he hosts a really cool show you should check out) and he was wrong. As it turns out, Hendo had one last titanic effort left in him yet, and he let it out at UFC 204, in a fight for the UFC middleweight championship.

Michael Bisping deserved the win, most of us can agree. But at 46 years old, well past good expectations, Dan Henderson came damn close to ending his career with a belt, and reminded us in the process why we have been amazed by him for so long. On today's episode of Heavy Hands (that's what that show is called!) we're breaking down Henderson's transformations over the years, from grinder to bruiser to swarmer to counter puncher. We're also looking at the career evolutions of men like Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi, who also clashed at UFC 204. 

And to close things out, a little celebration of the skills and talents of Aaron Pryor, probably the second best boxer ever to come out of Cincinnati after Ezzard Charles--though Freddie Miller deserves his credit, too. Pryor passed away on October 9th. He was a week shy of his 61st birthdary.

Direct download: 127_hendo_and_pryor.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:07am EDT

Fighters like Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping are the future of fighting. Not that Henderson has a good chance of winning the belt, nor Bisping of keeping it--but they are a pair of old dudes. That's kind of like looking into the future, right?

Funnily enough, Michael Bisping now is probably at the place in his career at which Dan Henderson started knocking fools out--including Michael Bisping. Henderson, meanwhile, has continued to age and, in many ways, deteriorate. On this episode of Heavy Hands, we talk age and experience, and the divergent paths of athleticism and skill. MMA is no sport for old men, but for a special few, the benefits of time and training are too great to be written off completely. We doubt even a hip-replacement could take away Dan Henderson's lethal right hand.

To cap things off, we review the bantamweight clash between John Lineker and John Dodson from last week, which exceeded expectations and tickled us all. 

Direct download: 126_bisping_hendo.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:51am EDT

Some of us expected Lina Lansberg to give Cristiane Justino a little something to work with. Some of us expected a bit of a back-and-forth before Cyborg notched another inevitable win. Some of us thought that, maybe at least for the first few minutes, Cyborg wouldn't be literally grinning while having her way with Lansberg in the clinch.

Some of us were wrong. 

On today's Heavy Hands, we take a look at the impressive skills and talents of Cyborg Justino, 2-0 in the UFC and undefeated since 2005. In addition, we undertake a mental search for the woman who can finally beat her, whether she truly exists or not. Ronda Rousey? Holly Holm? Miesha Tate? Who will be the Buster Douglass to Cyborg's Tyson?

After that, enjoy a preview of the top two fights scheduled to take place at UFC Portland. We break down the bantamweight clash between former flyweights John Lineker and John Dodson, and Will Brooks vs Alex Oliveira, before using Hacran Dias vs Andre Fili as a jumping-off point to talk about the role of discipline and caution in mixed martial arts. 

Direct download: 125_lineker_dodson.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:11am EDT

On today's episode of Heavy Hands, we're trying something new: talking about recent and upcoming MMA fights. Novel idea. 

So to kick things off, we're breaking down the heavyweight title clash between Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem, which was both surprising and predictable, and a whole lot of fun. Jimmie Rivera put on a stellar performance of his own at UFC 203, and so did Jessica Andrade, so we're breaking down those fights as well. 

Then, it's on to next weekend's fight night card, main evented by Dustin Poirier and Michael Johnson, and featuring a whole host of interesting undercard fights. 

To close out the show, we're talking styles in MMA, in a segment inspired by one of our dedicated listeners. What are styles in MMA, who are the best representatives of each, and how did some of them manage to overcome innately difficult style matchups?

Direct download: 123_johnson_poirier_and_styles_vs_styles.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

Disagreement is not something to be feared, but rather embraced. Our differences are what make us human. They don't separate us; they bring us together. 

And that is why Patrick Wyman is still on this show despite being totally wrong about Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem. 

In fairness, it isn't an easy fight to call. Miocic is relatively new to this game--especially compared to Overeem, the heavyweight division's most experienced veteran--but he is durable, and well-rounded, and dangerous. Still, I think Overeem is a tough matchup for his first title defense, especially given the recent changes his style has undergone. We hash it out on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, gently making our cases for each of these two elite heavyweights. 

There is time also for the co-main event, a rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne, as well as Urijah Faber's bantamweight showdown with top prospect Jimmie Rivera. Is Faber finally reaching the end of his road, or will he shut the gates in Rivera's face as he has so many others? Joanne Calderwood vs Jessica Andrade has us feeling all giddy, too, and we cap things off by answering listener questions at the end of the show.

All in all, this episode has everything you've come to expect from Heavy Hands. Fight breakdowns, silly banter, fan interaction. 

And Pat being wrong. That too.

Direct download: 122_miocic_overeem.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:19am EDT

A lot of us expected Demian Maia to win, but very few expected that. The former middleweight, whose shot at Anderson Silva's title was both bizarre and disappointing, has more than redeemed himself as a welterweight, now capping a six-fight win streak with a submission of longtime contender Carlos Condit. It took him less than two minutes to secure the rear naked choke and force the tap. 

We're celebrating the skills of Demian Maia on this week's Heavy Hands, and taking a look at the rest of the card to boot. What did Anthony Pettis' featherweight debut say about his future as a fighter and contender? How did Paige VanZant look against Bec Rawlings? We're also previewing UFC Hamburg's main event, a heavyweight clash between former champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett, before answering a few of your questions at the end of the show.

Direct download: 121_condit_maia_arlovski_barnett.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

Conor McGregor may have just proven that he is an all-time great. Nate Diaz is simply a bad style matchup for him. No matter what anyone tells you about Diaz's many losses, or his lack of athleticism, or his predictable attack--he remains a tough fight for McGregor. A tall southpaw out-fighter, against a southpaw who feeds primarily on orthodox opponents, most of which are smaller, and most of which cannot compete with him at long range. Plus, Diaz might have the hardest head in the lightweight division, an added benefit against one of the sport's most dangerous power punchers. 

So to beat Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor had to change. He had to train new skills, but he also had to train a new mindset. He had to think of Diaz differently than he had any other opponent, and challenge his own tendencies in order to outsmart his natural advantages. 

We're breaking all of this down on today's episode of Heavy Hands, plus discussing what changes the two would have to make for a rubber match, analyzing Anthony Johnson's vicious KO of Glover Teixeira, and having a little fun with Cody Garbrandt, trash talker extraordinaire.

Direct download: 120_mcgregor_diaz_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:56am EDT

At last, the time is near. 

What began as a fairly run-of-the-mill short-notice fight for featherweight champion Conor McGregor now threatens to become one of the best series in the history of the sport. Nate Diaz beat the featherweight king--at welterweight, oddly enough--and now they're rematching. Same weight, same city--nothing has changed other than the fact that this time Nate Diaz has a full camp behind him, and McGregor (hopefully) has some idea of what not to do. I would have added the fact that now Diaz knows for certain he can win, but he claims he was "not surprised" by the first result anyway, so . . . 

We're giving it an in-depth breakdown on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, discussing the mental and physical barriers for both combatants, looking back at the first fight, and giving each opponent a gameplan for the next one. It's not done after Diaz-McGregor 2, of course, because there are three other fights on this card that really demanded our attention. We wrap up the show by discussing Anthony Johnson vs Glover Teixeira, Rick Story vs Donald Cerrone, and Cody Garbrandt vs Takeya Mizugaki. 

Direct download: 119_mcgregor_diaz_2.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:45pm EDT

It's not the strongest Fox card the UFC has ever put together, no it is not, but UFC on Fox 20 does have a few meaningful matchups to save it from irrelevance. 

At the top of that list is the women's bantamweight showcase between former champion Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko, whose last fight was a close defeat to the current champion, Amanda Nunes.

Direct download: 115_holm_shevchenko.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:23am EDT

The weekend of UFC 200 was meant to be a weekend of superlatives, and with 72 of the best fighters on the planet competing over the course of three days, there were plenty of remarkable performances. In the spirit of UFC Fight Week, this week's episode of Heavy Hands is all about superlatives. We name our picks for the best fight, best performance, and best finish of the weekend. 

We also touch on some of the drama and controversy surrounding the event. Was Frankie Edgar robbed? Did Daniel Cormier stall his way to victory over Anderson Silva? 

The answers to these questions are obviously know, but you need to hear the full rant to really get the gist of it. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 114_ufc_200_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:17am EDT

Direct download: 113_ufc_200.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:28am EDT

Episode number two of our Heavy Hands UFC Fight Week extravaganza (patent pending) delves into the Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, main evented by a fantastic rematch between strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha, two women who, even in a talent-rich division, stand in a league of their own. But UFC 200 is the big one we're all looking forward to, and to that end we're also discussing the OTHER fantastic rematch of the weekend--no, not Cormier-Jones II nor TJ Dillashaw vs Raphael Assuncao II, but former featherweight champ Jose Aldo's second fight with former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar.

In discussing these fights, we talk about the integral role that punishment plays in successful takedown defense, and explore the vicious gamesmanship that sets fighters like Jedrzejczyk and Aldo apart--while acknowledging that both fighters find themselves matched with a pair of ruthless opponents. 

Doo Ho Choi and Will Brooks get a bit of shine at the end of the episode, and why not? Brooks, a former Bellator champ, makes his highly-anticipated UFC debut against savvy vet Ross Pearson. Choi, the Korean Superboy, is set to clobber Thiago Tavares, but should the young fighter make a mistake, the well-rounded skills of the Brazilian will be there to punish him. 

Direct download: 112_jedrzejczyk_and_aldo.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT

Your intrepid hosts Connor Ruebusch and Dr. Patrick Wyman are immensely excited about the advent of UFC Fight Week, and as a result we bring you the first of three episodes dedicated to the incredible action scheduled to take place on these three back-to-back-to-back cards, all culminating in UFC 200. 

Speaking of UFC 200, we spend a healthy portion of this week's episode discussing the UFC return of former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in a segment we like to call Punch/Counterpunch. Patrick makes his case for a Lesnar win, and Connor refutes him with the (obvious) truth that no man, not even Brock Lesnar, can afford to take a "Super Samoan" meteor on the chin. 

But before that, we break down the lightweight title fight between champion Rafael Dos Anjos and Eddie Alvarez scheduled to take place on July 4th. Rounding out the show is a little analysis of two of the other highlights of that card, Joe Duffy vs Mitch Clarke and Anthony Birchak vs Dileno Lopes. Fun stuff, and just about too much of it to break down, but we do our best!

Direct download: 111_rda_alvarez.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:39am EDT

Few expected Stephen Thompson to make it this far. From losing an attritive battle to an as-yet-unheralded Matt Brown to knocking out the former welterweight champion of the world in a matter of minutes, "Wonderboy" has made great strides as a mixed martial artist and proven at every step of the way that he is a threat to the title.

But that's Rory MacDonald's thing, man. 

Still only 26 years old, Rory MacDonald, a.k.a. The Canadian Psycho, a.k.a. Ares, a.k.a. The Red King, a.k.a. The Serial Nerderer, has been touted as the welterweight division's next big thing since his UFC debut back in 2010. He has compiled an 8-3 record since against elite competition, and was mere moments from winning the title in July of last year--before running into fifth-round Robbie Lawler. 

Now the two shall meet in what is inarguably one of the best battles possible in the division, and we're here to break it all down on this episode of Heavy Hands! After the Rory-Wonderboy talk, we also cover former lightweight Donald Cerrone's welterweight bout with former middleweight Patrick Cote, Valerie Letourneau's flyweight matchup with Joanne Calderwood, and just about everything else of interest on the undercard of UFC Ottawa. We're looking forward to it, so come on, listen in, and share in our dorky enthusiasm!

Direct download: 109_macdonald_thompson.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:45am EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we're feeling mighty surprised. Some of the surprises are fantastically fun, like Michael Bisping shocking the world and stopping Luke Rockhold in the first round, not only securing the first bonafide knockout of his entire UFC career, but winning the middleweight title in his very first title shot, to boot. I guess that one's only fantastically fun if you're not Luke Rockhold--or Daniel Cormier, to think of it. He looked pretty bummed at the result.

Other surprises are less fun and more downright depressing. As you may have guessed from the title, I'm speaking of the death of Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers and cultural icons to ever walk the earth. After breaking down Bisping's win, as well as that of Dominick Cruz and several other notables on the UFC 199 undercard, we take a few moments to celebrate the life of Muhammad Ali in the best way we know: by talking about his fights. Skilled and intelligent, Ali brought a level of craft and cleverness to the boxing ring that is rarely seen among the ranks of the heavyweights, and he did it against the very best docket of heavyweight opponents the world has ever seen. 

Direct download: 108_bisping_and_ali.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:24am EDT

At UFC 199, Luke Rockhold and Dominick Cruz will defend their titles--middleweight and bantamweight, respectively. Both title fights are rematches, with both of the original fights won by the men who currently wear the belts. On today's episode of Heavy Hands, we're examining the nature of that seeming inevitability, and comparing the styles and techniques of the fighters in question. Things even get a little heated when your hosts disagree on the extent to which physicality plays a role in the success of Luke Rockhold. Kind of. It actually gets pretty hard to tell what the argument is about?

Sometimes these things happen in MMA.

After that, it's on to the UFC 199 undercard, and a quick recap of the surprising results of UFC Fight Night 88: Garbrandt vs Almeida, which took place May 29th.

Direct download: 107_ufc_199.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:51am EDT

There are few times when the end of a fight makes me laugh. Often I will gasp, throw my hands in the air, jump around like a fool, or even slump into my seat in numb disbelief--but laughing is usually off the table. 

Such was not the case when Fabricio Werdum stumbled face-first into the right hand of Stipe Miocic and succinctly crumpled to the ground. It's not because I wanted to see Werdum lose. On the contrary, I was looking forward to a successful defense of the belt. No, it's because the five seconds leading up to the KO were just so strange. The fight's end felt like a Wes Anderson action scene, absurdly playing out in the wide angle while I stared, flabbergasted by the champion's tactics. 

So that's our topic today. We delve into the possible reasons for Werdum's fall, and give credit to Stipe Miocic for having the right counter for a curiously reckless heavyweight champ. Then it's on to Barberena-Alves, Nogueira-Cummins, and Cyborb, Cyborg, Cyborg. It was a fantastic--if bizarre--event, and we've got a fantastic breakdown for you on this episode of Heavy Hands.

Direct download: 105_ufc_198_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:42am EDT

UFC Rotterdam is right around the corner, and Heavy Hands is back to discuss all of the best fights. By which we mean Antonio Silva vs Stefan Struve, Nikita Krylov vs Francimar Barroso, and . . . okay, okay. Just kidding. 

We're actually talking about Alistair Overeem vs Andrei Arlovski, Kyoji Horiguchi vs Neil Seery, and (our personal favorite) Albert Tumenov vs Gunnar Nelson. Hard hitters abound, and we're keen to break 'em all down.

Then it's on to a topic suggested by a generous and enigmatic man known only as "Ricky," who asked us to discuss "slick" fighters. This is a term well-known in the boxing world, and we get into the nitty-gritty of the term's history, and the history of the style it describes. We discuss the traits that make a fighter "slick," and ponder which MMA fighters meet the criteria. We run through our list of names and try to figure out whether slick fighters are a product of the sport of boxing, or if MMA really is down with the slickness. 

Direct download: 102_rotterdam_and_slicksters.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:18am EDT

At UFC 197, the two best fighters in the world entered the Octagon. For Jon Jones, it was a long-awaited return, if not necessarily the return to form many had expected. For Demetrious Johnson, it was a routine title defense against an interesting new challenger, and it ended up being the fifth (and second fastest) finish in "Mighty Mouse's" championship career. Who deserves to be called the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet? We try to hash it out. 

After that, it's on to Edson Barboza and Anthony Pettis. Oh, what a fight! Even after both Pat and I picked Barboza to win, it was still a little strange to see Anthony Pettis beaten so soundly in a kickboxing match. In addition to breaking down what made Barboza so effective, we ponder what led Anthony Pettis to this point, and where his future could lie after suffering three defeats in a row.

Oh, and we spend the last segment of the show arguing about Yair Rodriguez. Fun!

Direct download: 101_jones_johnson_and_barboza.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:36am EDT

It's episode 100 (emoji) of Heavy Hands, and in honor of the occasion we're doing what we do best: breaking down the best that MMA has to offer. 

And what a coincidence, because the consensus numbers one and two mixed martial artists on the planet are both fighting this weekend. For Jon Jones, the former light heavyweight champion, it's a baby step on the way to an inevitable rematch with Daniel Cormier. For Demetrious Johnson, on the other hand, it's a fight with Henry Cejudo, the best possible challenger in the flyweight division, and perhaps the one best equipped to stymie the champion's greatest strengths. 

And it wouldn't be an episode of Heavy Hands if we didn't get all squirmy thinking about some elite MMA striking. Fortunately, Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza are fighting. Let that sink in. Absorb it. Anthony Pettis versus Edson Barboza. We analyze the incredible matchup of two of MMA's greatest kickboxers, and even save a little time at the end to talk about Robert Whittaker, who also fights this weekend. 

Things are good in the world of MMA, and we are happy to be breaking it down week after week. Most of all, we're thankful to you, our listeners. It's been an honor to watch our audience grow and an absolute pleasure to hear from all of you. Help us celebrate our 100th episode by sharing the show with your friends, and if you're so inclined give our Patreon page a look as well. We appreciate your support. 

Here's to a hundred more.

Direct download: 100_jones_and_mighty_mouse.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

It's been two years since Khabib Nurmagomedov last competed in the Octagon, but "The Eagle" makes his long-awaited return at UFC Tampa, and the hosts of Heavy Hands couldn't be happier. 

Joining us in our elation is MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas, the man behind such beloved series as Promotional Malpractice and Technique Talk. With Luke, the discussion includes Nurmagomedov's incredible transitional fighting, his awkward-but-effective striking style, and the superpower that is his cardio. 

After that it's on to the rest of UFC Tampa, which boasts a surprisingly solid undercard. Your hosts break down the improvements made by Rose Namajunas, and whether they will be enough to reverse the result of her first fight with fellow super-prospect Tecia Torres. We talk Dober vs Makhachev, the perfect comeback fight after Makhachev's devastating loss to Adriano Martins. Cezar Ferreira and Oluwale Bamgbose are fighting too. Yep. 

And then it's the return of Punch/Counterpunch, wherein your hosts go to bat for two opposing fighters, debating the outcome of the fight. It's a 4 oz glover's quarrel wherein Connor tells Pat why his fighter is Buschwhacked, and Pat asks, "Why, man?" The subject of this debate: Randy Brown vs Michael Graves.

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

 

Direct download: 99_luke_thomas_khabib.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

With UFC Brisbane less than a week away . . . we realized we weren't very interested. Yeah, there are a few really solid matchups there, but the card doesn't exactly get the blood pumping at first glance. I mean, it's fine I guess. 

So this week's Heavy Hands is a rare, non-schedule episode! Free from the strictures of the brutal UFC calendar, we tackle the topic of training camps, coaches, and sparring partners. There are a lot of different approaches to training in MMA, and even more in boxing. Are sparring partners more important than coaches, or can a good trainer beat all? Is MMA best seen as a team sport, or should camps be built around the fighters? Does iron truly sharpen iron? And what is a training camp, anyway? 

Unable to resist, of course, we give you the rundown on our favorite matchups from UFC Brisbane at the end of the show. Short and sweet, you know. 

Direct download: 95_who_do_you_train_with.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

WARNING: Explicit content, motherf*ckers!

The analysis on this week's Heavy Hands is as in-depth as ever, but an air of giddiness suffuses everything. Because NATE DIAZ DID IT. We just can't believe what we saw, and we take great pleasure in breaking down every aspect of the shocking upset, including Diaz's excellent jab, his underrate footwork, and the masterful jiu-jitsu with which he ended the fight. 

Of course, we have to ask what's next for Conor McGregor. Has he wandered too far down the puncher's path, or is this fight a saving grace for him? Is it possible that McGregor will prove to be a front-runner for the rest of his career, or is experience the cure? 

To wrap things up we discuss Miesha Tate's own upset win, breaking down the choke with which she put Holly Holm to sleep in the fifth round of her bantamweight title fight. A few questions from our wonderful listeners, and that's the show. 

STOCKTON. 

Direct download: 94_nate_diaz_stockton_wut.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

No one is happy that Rafael Dos Anjos was forced to withdraw from UFC 196, but Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz is about as fascinating a replacement fight as you could ask for.

Not only is Diaz the first opponent of McGregor's career to top the Irishman's height and reach, but his technical approach to boxing makes him an interesting test for "The Notorious," who hasn't engaged in a tactical striking battle since the first round of his fight with Max Holloway in 2013.

That's not the only tantalizing matchup on the card, of course. UFC 196 also boasts the first title defense of Holly Holm following her stunning knockout of Ronda Rousey in November of last year. Contending for the belt is veteran bantamweight Miesha Tate. "Cupcake" wasn't happy at the time, but it seems like Holm getting the Rousey fight was the best thing that could have happened to her; now Miesha gets to throw herself at an opponent who has never faced such a dogged, resilient, and crafty mixed martial artist.

After breaking all of that down in detail, it's on to a review of last weekend's instant classic between Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping. 2016 got off to a rough start, but now we find ourselves surrounded by excellent MMA. Who could ask for more?

Direct download: 93_mcgregor_diaz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

It might be the last chance for legends at UFC London. Anderson Silva is three years removed from his place on the middleweight throne. Since losing his title to Chris Weidman he has suffered one horrific injury, and had one competitive fight with Nick Diaz, an admittedly game career welterweight. He has likely learned by now that he is no longer the same man who ruled this division with impunity for so many years. 

Michael Bisping, on the other hand, might be losing a step as well. The UFC's biggest British star since . . . well, it seems like forever, Bisping has a reputation for endless cardio, which is why it was so surprising to see him slowing down and panting between rounds in his last fight. 

Nothing lasts forever, but this could be our only chance to see two of the middleweight division's mainstays compete with one another, after years of missed opportunities. On this week's Heavy Hands, we break down the individual skillsets of these two great fighters, and analyze the matchup between them. 

Direct download: 92_silva_bisping.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:02pm EDT

Kimbo Slice vs Dada 5000 doesn't look like a good matchup. In a lot of ways, it isn't. But there is something compelling about it. A pro fight between two men whose collected experience comes almost entirely from backyard brawls is certainly unique. And both men seem to perfectly encapsulate just what separates a pro fighter from the average man, while at the same time embodying the gulf between regular pro fighters and truly elite combat athletes.

Our tagline for the bout: "It is what it is, but it's not as bad as you think." You can thank us later, Mr. Coker.

After the Fight of the Century, it's on to this weekend's injury-riddled UFC event, headlined by a pair of "Cowboys." Alex Oliveira doesn't have the name recognition of Donald Cerrone, but he is absolutely a fascinating prospect, and could very well be cut out for a top ten slot should he continue to fight in the welterweight division. And nearing his 33rd birthday, Cerrone makes his own welterweight move, forcing us to question just how much he will need to rely on experience to get an expected win this weekend.

Marlon Moraes, Cody Garbrandt, Dennis Bermudez . . . there are plenty of interesting fighters stepping into the cage this weekend, and we give 'em all the Heavy Hands treatment. 

Direct download: 91_kimbo_vs_dada.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:56am EDT

Stephen Thompson was always going to be a dangerous matchup for Johny Hendricks, but who could have imagined that he would so utterly dominate the former UFC welterweight champion?

Distance management was the key to Wonderboy's victory on Saturday, and that's the topic of our show today. We talk about how Thompson used his keen control of the distance to keep Hendricks at bay, keep himself off the fence, and ultimately walk "Bigg Rigg" into a series of devastating counters.

The larger question is whether Thompson, with his striking-based American Kenpo style, is an outlier, or a forerunner of a new breed of welterweights. In the post-GSP era, we discuss how the division may be on the cusp of a striking breakthrough. 

Direct download: 90_wonderboy_wins.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:19am EDT

Lots of things to break down this week! 

First off, Ryan Bader witnessed the epic implosion of his dearest hopes and dreams when Anthony "Rumble" Johnson finished him in the first ground. As soon as they're done peeling "Darth" off the canvas, he'll have a lot more refining and hard work to do yet before he gets a shot at the division's title. 

Next, it's on to "Super" Sage Northcutt, who found his kryptonite in the form of young journeyman Bryan Barberena. Barberena was durable, unflappable, and able to force Sage into the kind of prolonged exchanges in which he can't just athlete his way to victory. We get into the reasons behind Northcutt's loss, and the ways he can improve in the future. Following through on his plan to train at Tristar MMA would be a great start.

We wrap up the topical analysis Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson, a fantastic welterweight fight between two bafflingly underrated fighters, before answering a few questions from you, our lovely listeners. 

 

Direct download: 89_hendricks_wonderboy.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:51am EDT

You may not like Anthony Johnson. You may not care about Ryan Bader. When you really look at it, though, the matchup between them is extremely compelling. 

Bader is the unremarkable personality who never stops improving. He faces Johnson on the heels of the three best wins of his career, all over top 10 light heavyweights. Johnson is an interesting--some might say "repulsive"--personality, but he is better known for his ridiculous knockout power. He is also known for being a front-runner who loses when fights don't go as planned. 

So when the two meet, we will have what Pat terms a "two true outcome" fight. Does Bader turn "Rumble" into "Crumble," or does he run headlong into a new ceiling and suffer yet another spectacular finish? Only time will tell. 

In the latter half of the show, we talk prospect development a la "Super" Sage Northcutt, and technical leg-kicking a la Tarec Saffiedine. Plus, the mid-tier middleweight oddness of Rafael Natal vs Kevin Casey. Check it out. 

Direct download: 88_mp3.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:51pm EDT

Controversial decisions are the stock and trade of close fights between elite fighters. When two top level athletes go head to head, a close contest is the best thing you could possibly hope for--and yet half of us are left unsatisfied when the decision is announced. 

In an effort to combat this unfortunate truth. we aren't discussing the scoring of Dillashaw vs Cruz on this episode of Heavy Hands. In fact, we complain more about Pettis-Alvarez than we do the main event. Instead, we vie to appreciate this fight for what it was: an incredible display of technical skill, toughness, and pure fighting talent. 

The ups and downs, the adjustments, the defensive virtuosity--all of that and more is on the table this week, plus a breakdown of Pettis-Alvarez and a few frustrated words about a sad situation involving fighter-cum-analyst Kenny Florian. Check it out.

Direct download: 87_dillashaw_cruz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:36am EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, we're delving into one of the most anticipated matchups of the last two years. It was a surprise when TJ Dillashaw smashed Renan Barao to become the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, but since then his place at the top of the pecking order has been fully accepted. Accepted that is, by everyone but Dominick Cruz, one of the few ex-champions in UFC history never to have lost his belt in the Octagon. Returning from yet another injury layoff, Cruz will attempt to remind us just why he was such a dominant champion five years ago, while Dillashaw will vie to represent the new breed with style and grace. 

Goodness, it's a great matchup. 

After breaking that down, we move on to the co-main event battle between former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, and former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, another fantastic fight between elite strikers. 

The man to beat Anthony Pettis in yet another stunning upset was Rafael Dos Anjos, and we wrap up the show discussing him and fighters like him. Daniel Cormier, Demetrious Johnson, Conor McGregor . . . Pressure fighters seem to be swarming the upper echelons of this sport, and we ponder their tremendous effectiveness before sifting through the rankings of each division in search of the styles to defeat them. 

 

Direct download: 86_dillashaw_cruz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

Yeah, yeah, the judges' decision was unsatisfying to many, but let us not forget what really matters: Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit was absolutely insane, a back-and-forth fight that culminated in one of the craziest rounds any of us has ever seen. Lawler put on a vintage performance--maybe a little too vintage in some ways--and Condit fought masterfully. We break it all down on today's episode of Heavy Hands. 

After that, it's on to the night's other highlights. Namely, Dustin Poirier exceeded expectations, as did his entire fight with Irish Joe Duffy. Poirier's wrestling and MMA-integrated grappling has come along in leaps and bounds, and it brought him to victory against an extremely tough, if somewhat untested, opponent. Albert Tumenov and Lorenz Larkin put on a tremendous fight as well, with both men exceeding and defying expectations. 

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

Direct download: 85_ufc_195_recap.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:55am EDT

Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit are both fascinating fighters, and their UFC 195 clash could very well end up being one of the greatest fights in welterweight history. Both Condit and Lawler welcome the blood and the guts of combat with open arms; and yet both are intelligent, crafty fighters with undeniable skill. Their fight will be a contest of adaptation, and we spend the bulk of this week's episode sussing out the different ways in which these two great warriors adapt. 

In scouting this fight, we also examine what we consider the best and worst qualities of each fighter. After that it's on to Lorenz Larkin vs Albert Tumenov (don't mind the sound of drool hitting the mic) and the fortunately rescheduled Dustin Poirier vs Joe Duffy, both phenomenal action fights. 

The show wraps up with a few questions from our listeners.

Direct download: 84_lawler_condit.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:59pm EDT

Rafael Dos Anjos got it done against Donald Cerrone, and it only took about a minute, cementing him as the rightful lightweight champion and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. In addition to the stunning killer instinct Dos Anjos displayed, we break down Alistair Overeem's slick win over Junior Dos Santos, and Nate Diaz's triumphant return to form against tough-luck would-be contender Michael Johnson. 

But enough about what just happened. UFC on Fox 17 was the last UFC event of 2015, and it was a year full of great fights and shocking upsets. Next week we'll be looking ahead to UFC 195, but on this episode we remember the year in mixed martial arts, and name our picks for the best of 2015. Best fighter, best fight, best upset--these and more are discussed in detail on the latest Heavy Hands. 

 

Direct download: 83_2015_awards.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:39am EDT

Greatest fight in featherweight history! One of the most skilled fighters to ever step foot in the ring or cage defends his title against the most dangerous contender he's ever--what's that? It's over already? Oh. 

Huh.

It took Conor McGregor a mere 13 seconds to lay 10-time champion Jose Aldo out flat on the canvas and emphatically declare himself the best featherweight in the world. On this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we ask how much we can really take away from such a quick and one-sided victory, get a little sentimental about the potential end of Jose Aldo's career, and break down the tactics--well, tactic that McGregor used to get the KO. 

After that it's on to Luke Rockhold, who put a beatdown on middleweight champion Chris Weidman, and Frankie Edgar, who made us look like fools for doubting him--again

Finally, we give our predictions for next week's lightweight title fight between newly crowned champion Rafael Dos Anjos and fan favorite Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Should be a good one!

Direct download: 82_conor_mcgregor_new_champ.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:35am EDT

Jose Aldo is fighting Conor McGregor in the biggest fight in UFC featherweight history. What more is there to say? 

Well, a lot actually. And on this week's episode of Heavy Hands, we try our very best to say all of it. With so many variables at play, our main goal is to come up with a gameplan for each of the two combatants. We lay out three keys for Aldo to defend his belt, as well as three keys for McGregor to take it for himself. How does Aldo deal with McGregor's pressure and volume? How does McGregor deal with Aldo's variety, experience, and defense? And who wins? 

We discuss all of this in detail, as well as giving our analysis and predictions for Frankie Edgar vs Chad Mendes and Max Holloway vs Jeremy Stephens, two other extremely relevant featherweight fights taking place the same weekend. 

Direct download: 81_aldo_mcgregor.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:37pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands we're looking forward to the imminent UFC extravaganza, with three events taking place three days in a row, from December 10th through December 12th. There are too many great matchups to discuss on this episode, so we're saving a few (including Aldo vs McGregor) for next week and reserving the bulk of this week's show for the middleweight title tilt between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold, who is almost certainly the young champion's toughest challenge to date.

It's maybe the most technical, well-rounded matchup in middleweight history, and it's a doozy to predict as a result, but we do our best! After that, it's the number one contender's fight between Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, and Yoel "The Preacher of Pain/The Cardinal of Carnage/The Vicar of Violence/The Pontiff of Punishment" Romero, two of the sport's most explosive old men. 

Wrapping things up, we give the quick skinny on Paige VanZant vs Rose Namajunas, Aljamain Sterling vs Johnny Eduardo, and Edson Barboza vs Tony Ferguson. Who says there's too much of a good thing? Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 80_rockhold_weidman.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:52am EDT

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. 

Direct download: 78_how_holly_holm_beat_ronda_rousey.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:07pm EDT

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. 

Direct download: 77_rousey_holm.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

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. 

Direct download: 76_sao_paolo.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

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. 

Direct download: 74_duffy.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:13am EDT

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.

Direct download: 72_ufc_192.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:06am EDT

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. 

Direct download: 71_ufc_192.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:10pm EDT

Demetrious Johnson is undeniably one of the best to ever do it. The UFC's first and only flyweight champion recently outdid himself in a rematch with John Dodson. The man who had previously proven to be the most threatening challenger to Johnson's throne was summarily beaten in every phase. Johnson out-clinched, out-wrestled, and out-struck Dodson for twenty five minutes, making him look like an amateur rather than the man who had knocked Johnson down three times in their first fight. 

And yet no one cares. Is it his size? Is it his dispassionate, technical mastery? Is it his generally agreeable personality? We ask these questions and more, and try to get at the heart of Johnson's brilliant fighting style in the process. 

Then, it's on to the upsets. Both Pat and I were very unsuccessful with our predictions for this card, and no result was more surprising than the first-round knockout of Francisco Rivera by John Lineker, who proved himself a brawler worth fearing. Finally, we talk Felder vs Pearson, and the concept of layered offense--and specifically how Felder didn't have it. 

Direct download: 68_why_not_mighty_mouse.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands we're relishing the fight buffet that is UFC 191. From the start of the televised prelims onward, this is a fight card rife with either relevance or entertainment value, and in many cases both.

I know, I know . . . half of you don't care about Demetrious Johnson because you only like fighters who can ride all the roller coasters at the amusement park, but if I had to pick just one fight from his impressive flyweight title run to appeal to average fight fans, it would be his first fight with John Dodson. Dodson floored Mighty Mouse several times, and the champion recovered, adjusted, and ended the fight battering Dodson with brutal knees and short punches in the clinch. If Dodson can build on his previous success, we might just be in for a stunning upset, and if not, then just remember what Demetrious Johnson did the last time he rematched an opponent: GIF.

Then, along with some exciting light heavyweight action, we have two old school heavyweights duking it out on the undercard in Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski. But most importantly, FRANCISCO RIVERA VERSUS JOHN LINEKER. As it turns out, John Lineker's many failures to make the flyweight limit were merely the result of the gentle hand of fate guiding him toward his destiny, and now he's set to face one of the most entertaining knockout artists at 135 pounds. 

And we're breaking down all of this, and more on this episode. Tune in, and enjoy the show.

Direct download: 67_ufc_191.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT

Ronda Rousey is starting to seem unbeatable, and nobody really seems to think that Bethe Correia will be the first woman to change that. 

So today, we're focusing our attention on the woman who could beat Rousey--even if she doesn't necessarily  exist yet. What style will it take to defuse the swarming, clinching, Judo-throwing approach of Rousey? And are there any fighters on the planet who fit the bill?

After that, we talk about the UFC's other bantamweight champ, TJ Dillashaw, who put on a scintillating performance in his second title defense against Renan Barao at UFC on Fox 17. Oh, and we urge you to lighten up on the man he beat as well.

Direct download: 62_rousey_dillashaw.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:44pm EDT

Pat and I aren't sure who exactly is clamoring for a rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao, but we're certainly excited to see "Ill Dill" back in action. 

After thrashing Barao en route to a fifth round KO to win the title, Dillashaw has quickly established himself as one of the smoothest, most technical strikers in the sport of MMA. Barao, likewise, is one of the best fighters on earth and certainly one of the best in the division, but neither Pat nor I expect him to overcome the stylistic hurdles of this matchup any better than he did last time. A born out-fighter, Barao does not react well to pressure, and his tendency to plant his feet and throw as his opponent moves around him is a recipe for disaster against the fleet-footed, angular Dillashaw.

We also find a little time to talk about Paul Felder and Edson Barboza, who fight further down on the card in a matchup of thrilling strikers. Will Felder's steady pressure and well-timed counters win the day, or can Barboza keep the fight at range and work in the short sequences of powerful punches and kicks that he throws so well? We're not sure, and that's what makes this bout so excellent!

Enjoy the show, folks.

Direct download: 61_dillashaw.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

Altogether, the main card of UFC 189 may have been the best collection of five fights we've ever seen. It was certainly up there. And capping off all the fantastic action were two incredible title fights--well, one title fight and one "title" fight. 

Co-host Pat Wyman and I sat down to give this one an enthusiastic in-depth breakdown. How did Conor McGregor really look against Chad Mendes, and what did his performance teach us about his potential? One of us thinks he no longer has much of a shot against Aldo, and one of us thinks just the opposite. And we're both pretty sure he learned to grapple by studying 2005-era Wanderlei Silva.

Of course, we had to devote a healthy portion of the show to the instant classic welterweight title fight between (STILL) champion Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald, who proved himself to be an unbelievably game challenger. It was a tactical masterpiece, with both fighters struggling to out-adjust the other. It was also a visceral gut-checking kind of fight, that at times was hard to watch. Pat and I agree that Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald are two of the most intelligent, savvy men in all of MMA, and it's not often we get to see two such masters match up. Bravo to both men.

And we save a little time to talk Thomas Almeida to wrap things up.

It was a fantastic night of fights, and an absolute pleasure to break down here. We hope you enjoy the show.

Direct download: 60_ufc_189.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:08am EDT

If you've listened to Heavy Hands before, you know that Pat and myself haven't always been particularly fond of the technical prowess of Jackson-Winkeljohn fighters. We both agree, however, that Carlos Condit is among the finest fighters to have ever come out of Albuquerque's most prestigious MMA academy--and, in fact, he's one of the best in the world as a whole.

After discussing why Mike Winkeljohn's unique style might be so perfectly suited to Condit's strengths, we move on to Mirsad Bektic, one of UFC Goiania's other standouts, and discuss the nature of prospects in MMA.

Direct download: 54_condit_and_bektic.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:18pm EDT

It's another episode of Heavy Hands, and another great fight card to break down. This week Connor and Pat are looking into the best fights from UFC on Fox 15, including Lyoto Machida vs Luke Rockhold, Cub Swanson vs Max Holloway, and Beneil Dariush vs Jim Miller.

After a brief foray into the Heavy Bag to talk about gameplans (and fighters who claim not to use them), your hosts carry that topic into the fight discussions, coming up with on-the-spot strategies for the three big matchups named above. How does Machida beat Rockhold? How can Holloway thwart Swanson? And is it possible that Beneil Dariush can squeeze the life out of submission-master Jim Miller? 

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

Direct download: 47_machida_rockhold.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:33am EDT

Patrick and Connor have got a treat for you today--one of those rare episodes where they get the chance to just talk about two of their favorite fighters. Today's episode is all about Chad Mendes and Al Iaquinta, both of whom have made dramatic improvements in the striking realm over the past year.

And wouldn't you know, both of those men are fighting this Saturday--Mendes faces the always dangerous Ricardo Lamas, whose limitations are second only to his threats, and Iaquinta faces fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal. Both men fight atop the UFC's card in Fairfax, Virginia this April, the 4th. 

It's some good old fashioned analysis, so sit down, grab a drink, and enjoy.

Direct download: 45_mendes_lamas.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

43 - Upsetting: Rafael Dos Anjos & Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Upsets are a marvelous thing. In fact, you could say that unexpected upsets are what keep combat sports interesting. Particularly upsets of the kind that we witnessed in the main and co-main events of UFC 185, in which the favored fighters not only suffered defeat, but were proven to be vastly, utterly inferior to their underdog opponents. 

Anthony Pettis was expected to be the Anderson Silva of this era, but Rafael Dos Anjos is no Chael Sonnen. The Brazilian fighter and Rafael Cordeiro product took Pettis to the woodshed for five rounds, eating plenty of shots but landing more of his own, and scoring takedowns that, for once, Pettis couldn't deter with his dangerous guard. In fact, Dos Anjos sliced right through that guard with ease. 

In the co-main, Polish kickboxer Joanna Jedrzejczyk beat strawweight champion Carla Esparza in even more convincing fashion, capping off a week of talking with nine minutes of very impressive walking. Jedrzejczyk, who we've decided to call "Lady Golovkin" to save ourselves the embarassment of mispronouncing her name, beat Esparza to a pulp and seemed to undo all of the improvements made to Esparza's striking in just a matter of minutes, turning her fight with the former champion into nothing but target practice.

Our episode kicks off with a question from a fan about the nature of upsets, which almost always seem predictable in retrospect, and the discussion flows from there. Enjoy the show, folks.

Direct download: 43_rafael_dos_anjos.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:33am EDT

40 - The Transitional Brilliance of Ronda Rousey

MMA is all about transitions, and so is this episode of Heavy Hands. Including this excellent segue!

Ronda Rousey, the armbar queen of the UFC, is currently riding a two-knockout streak. It's not that she's abandoned her judo base, but rather that she's found a way to really make it work for MMA, which means setting up her throws with strikes, and vice versa. She faces Cat Zingano this weekend in the main event of UFC 184. 

Also featured on the card is Holly Holm, who racked up 33 career wins as a professional boxer. She faces Raquel Pennington in her UFC debut. Your hosts discuss her chances against the game Pennington, and what her style means for her should she meet champion Rousey down the road.

Direct download: 40_ronda_rousey.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:15am 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

It's a weekend full of fantastic fights, but you'll have to do a bit of channel changing to ensure consistent quality. First Connor and Pat break down the impromptu slugfest that is Hunt vs Werdum for the interim heavyweight title. That's the main event of UFC 180, which is co-headlined by Jake Ellenberger vs Kelvin Gastelum, an intriguing fight that should tell us once and for all if Ellenberger is done as a potential contender, and if Gastelum is the new man to watch at welterweight.

Over on Spike we've got a very interesting rematch between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks for the Bellator lightweight belt. Pat predicts this one will look like a more athletic Dustin Poirier (Brooks) against a less athletic Chad Mendes (Chandler), but at lightweight, which... sounds great to me! 

Also, one of the sport's best prospects in Justin Gaethje defends his WSOF lightweight belt against Melvin Guillard. Lots of great action, with some really interesting analysis to boot--just keep your remote handy.

Direct download: 26_-_UFC_180_and_Bellator_131.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

It's a weekend packed with UFC fights, and Pat and Connor have a unique way of looking at them. Today your hosts discuss the concept of "style." What is a fighting style? How does it impact an analysts perceptions of a fight, and how does it affect a fighter's performance against another athlete of a same or different style?

We focus this discussion on many fighters, but featured heavily are some of this weekend's most prominent competitors, including Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, John Lineker, and Ian McCall.

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

Direct download: 25_-_Styles_Make_Fights.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:33pm EDT

23 - Strategists vs Tacticians with Patrick Wyman

Pat Wyman of Sherdog.com joins Connor to co-host a discussion about the place of strategy and tactics in MMA. Which is better, a head coach who strategizes, or one who understands the moment-by-moment adjustments of a tactician?

And what about this weekend's impending matchup between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes? Aldo's coach, Andre Pederneiras, is a strategist, while Duane "Bang" Ludwig, the trainer of Mendes, is one of the best tacticians in the sport. Who will win in this battle of wits and wills?

Listen in to find out what Connor and Pat think!

Direct download: 23_-_Strategist_vs_Tactician.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:08pm EDT

What's this? A Heavy Hands episode actually being released on Thursday, as advertised? That's right, folks. This one's up early (on time), and you definitely don't want to miss it. This week I was joined by Jimmy Smith, color commentator for MMA and co-host of Discovery Channel's popular show Fight Quest. Oh, and he used to beat people up for a living, too. Did you know that Jimmy holds a win over Jason Chambers, the co-host of the History Channel's competing series Human Weapon? Jimmy doesn't think so, but I suspect that's why Discovery hired him.

Anyway, the bulk of the show is spent breaking down the main card of UFC 171, which features a whole bunch of exciting matchups, in particular the battle for the recently vacated welterweight throne between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler. Jimmy's analysis is excellent, as always.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 18-UFC_171_w_Jimmy_Smith.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:25pm EDT

Bloody Elbow's Zane Simon, known for his series Hindsight and the Old School MMA Review, joins Connor for an in-depth breakdown of UFC 169. We go through the fights that interested us most, in chronological order, and shout at MMA fans for not appreciating the genius of Jose Aldo. Shame on you!

Direct download: 14-Breaking_Down_UFC_169_with_Zane_Simon.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:48pm EDT

Heavy Hands is back with the first episode of 2014! We ring in the new year with a recap of the startling, shocking, and just a little disgusting events of UFC 168, which saw middleweight champ Chris Weidman retain his title by snapping all-time-great Anderson Silva's shin across his own.

Joining us is Cincinnati's own Juice Lee, an emcee of real quality and an avid fan of mixed martial arts. We hope you're looking forward to more weekly episodes of Heavy Hands throughout the rest of 2014; we certainly are!

Direct download: 10-UFC_168_Recap_feat._Juice_Lee.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 8:43pm EDT

Bloody Elbow's Dallas Winston joins Connor and Corey this week for an in-depth look at the most controversial UFC main event since, well... Gustafsson vs. Jones. Prepare for a long one, because you're in for about two hours of discussion on Johny Hendricks, Georges St-Pierre, and the many other fighters to grace the 167 card with impressive performances (split into three manageable segments, of course).

As always, let us know what you think, and enjoy!

Direct download: 7-UFC_167_feat._Dallas_Winston.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:47pm EDT

Episode six is finally here, and it's a big one because we're about to witness a big fight. That's right, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre rides again, and this time he aims to defend his belt in his eleventh consecutive title fight.

Your hosts get into the techniques that make GSP's relatively simple game so effective, even at the top of one of the toughest divisions in MMA. We also discuss the chances of challenger Johny Hendricks, but our hopes aren't high for the bearded one.

Enjoy!

Direct download: 6-Analyzing_GSP.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

It's just lonely ol' Connor this week, sitting in his underwear and rambling about the best fight to happen all year. Jon Jones just recently took a decision over Alexander Gustafsson, but not without getting his ass kicked. Connor breaks down the finer points of the fight, particularly the flaws exhibited by both opponents that made the decision such a close one. 

Then Connor gets into the nuances of defense, with a little help from Jack Dempsey, focusing on that one key element of effective defense: positioning.

It's lonely without Corey here, but at least there's awesome MMA to cover!

Direct download: 3-Jon_Jones__the_First_Line_of_Defense.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:17am EDT

It's finally here! The inaugural episode of Heavy Hands is ready for your enjoyment. In today's episode, Corey and I talk about the Machida-Davis fight, the problems that have stunted Overeem's UFC career, and the skills (and secret powers) that have put former perennial gatekeeper Matt Brown into the welterweight top ten.

A word of caution: it's a little rough. Keep in mind that this is our first attempt at podcasting. Ever. So if some things seem a little unstructured or a little confusing, give us the benefit of the doubt. I promise we'll be improving as we continue to record and watch fights. And the best thing you can do is give us your criticism, constructive or otherwise. Hit me up on this here website, or on Twitter @ConnorRuebusch, and let me know how we can improve for future episodes. Segment ideas, production notes, reasons why our voices annoy you--it's all welcome.

So thanks for listening, and here's to many future episodes! Enjoy the show.

Direct download: heavy_hands_1.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:49pm EDT