Heavy Hands

On this week's Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat look forward to a pair of fights that seem to guarantee action. Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler takes on former lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos at the top of this upcoming weekend's UFC card. A little further down on that card, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Mike Perry put their chins on the line in a battle of punchers that could very well surpass the main event.

After that, it's onto Brian Ortega, Vasyl Lomachenko, and more from last weekend. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 189_Violence_on_the_Horizon.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:22am EDT

UFC 218 delivered no shortage of magnificent, memorable, and very meaningful action. Max Holloway defeated featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo for the second time. Eddie Alvarez was the immovable object which finally brought Justin Gaethje's unstoppable force to a halt. Francis Ngannou pulled Alistair Overeem's soul out of his body and ate it on live TV.

But when it rains, it pours, and today's episode of Heavy Hands is packed with so much more. In addition to our detailed breakdown of the events of UFC 218, we look ahead to two fights set for UFC Fresno--the main event between Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega, and a battle of bantamweight contenders, Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling, on the undercard. THEN, we move on to discuss the upcoming boxing match between Vasyl Lomachenko, who many regard to be the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world today, and Guillermo Rigondeaux, who is himself so skillful that it takes a fighter of Lomachenko's caliber to finally challenge him. 

Wild stuff.

Direct download: 188_The_Wild_Boyz.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 7:18pm EDT

UFC 218 feels like a blast of fresh air after a few weeks of cards that, while generally solid, didn't exactly get the blood pumping. In the main event, former featherweight champion Jose Aldo steps in on short notice to rematch the man who took his belt, Max Holloway. Lightweight warriors Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje are set to find out who is the UFC's "most violent man." Heavyweight phenom Francis Ngannou gets a tough test in the form of Alistair Overeem, and Henry Cejudo looks to work his way into another flyweight title shot with a win over Sergio Pettis.

 

Direct download: 187_No_Jose_Please.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:41am EDT

Michael Bisping may be 137 years old with only half of one good eye, but that won't stop him from taking on Kelvin Gastelum this Saturday--on short-notice, and just a few weeks after being knocked down and then strangled unconscious by Georges St-Pierre.

We also get into Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Sheymon Moraes, a fight between 2017's elite featherweight prospect and 2015's. Plus, a detailed breakdown of our favorite moments from last week's UFC Sydney, main-evented by Fabricio Werdum and Marcin Tybura.

Direct download: 186_Bisping_vs_Gastelum_Feel-Bad_Special.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:31am EDT

"It borders on interesting" isn't the most compelling description of a fight card, but that's about how good UFC Sydney looks to us, despite a solid-enough main event in Werdum vs Tybura. Still, we highlight our favorite parts of the card, before reflecting on the outcomes of UFC Norfolk, an event which delivered a puzzling mix of drudgery and excitement. 

Dustin Poirier took a page out of the Rafael Dos Anjos playbook and smashed Pretty Tony Pettis in the main event. Raphael Assuncao reminded us that, yes, he is one of the best bantamweights on earth and a fascinating fighter worth watching. Matt Brown reconsidered retirement after catching Diego Sanchez with a savage elbow, reconstituting his human body into a pile of miscellaneous parts in the process. 

It was wild. So, you know. Listen to us talk about it.

Direct download: 185_Pretty_Cloney.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:48pm EDT

UFC 217 was absolutely fantastic. There was plenty weird about it. Odd officiating, mental lapses on the parts of experienced fighters, and a whole lot of bizarre numerical coincidences in the three title fights. More than anything, however, it was an event at which all three of the defending champions lost their belts--the first time the UFC has ever seen so much divisional change in so little time. 

On this week's Heavy Hands, we take a look at Georges St-Pierre's remarkable comeback win over Michael Bisping, TJ Dillashaw's triumph over hated rival Cody Garbrandt, and Rose Namajunas' mind-blowing, first-round knockout of dominant champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Yes, we cover other fights (and a few set for next week's card, as well), but this week, it's all about the belts. 

Direct download: 184_UFC_217_WAS_GREAT.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:28am EDT

Garbrandt vs Dillashaw: a grudge match for the championship of the UFC's strongest division. Jedrzejczyk vs Namajunas: the strawweight division's best fighter defends her belt against its most dangerous. Oh, and the return of Georges St-Pierre, who, despite the uncertain nature of his comeback, remains the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

At least that's what Connor and Pat think, and that is why this week's episode is dedicated to the three title fights topping the upcoming UFC 217.

Direct download: 183_UFC_217_Preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:17am EDT

Lyoto Machida makes his return to the Octagon this weekend. After a two-year PED suspension (and a particularly unfair one, at that) the Dragon looks to recapture his classic form against Derek Brunson, who hopes to make Machida his 14th first-round win. Connor and Pat break down the UFC Sao Paolo main event on this episode of Heavy Hands, before moving on to the decidedly more relevant co-main between old lion Demian Maia and young gun Colby Covington. And speaking of young guns, Darren Till absolutely scoused Donald Cerrone in his first ever UFC main event at last week's UFC Gdansk. We take stock of his dramatic upset victory, and highlight our favorite moments from the card.

Direct download: 182_Machida_vs_Brunson__Till_KOs_Cerrone.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:45pm EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat are discussing the scheduled bout between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, the main event of UFC Gdansk. Okay, so it isn't the greatest card in UFC history. But it's on in the afternoon! And it's on Fightpass! And, as we hope you'll agree after hearing us out, Cerrone vs Till is not only an interesting matchup, but an important one for the lagging welterweight division. We cap off our UFC Gdansk preview by answering some great questions from our subscribers. Enjoy!

Direct download: 181_Cerrone_vs_Till_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:10pm EDT

Tony Ferguson claimed the lightweight interim title. Demetrious Johnson defended the flyweight crown for the 11th time. Lando Vannata and Bobby Green went to war. From top to bottom, UFC 216 was a stupendous night of MMA action, and Connor and Pat break it all down in this episode of Heavy Hands. 

Direct download: 180_ferguson_lee.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Tony Ferguson just may be the best lightweight in the world, and while his much-anticipated fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov has yet to take place, young gun Kevin Lee offers an interesting test, particularly on the ground. On this week's Heavy Hands, Connor and Pat break down the UFC 216 main event, before also previewing a few of the other top fights, namely Johnson vs Borg, Duquesnoy vs Stamann, and Dariush vs Dunham. It looks like a solid night of fights, and we had a blast breaking 'em down. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 179_UFC_216_Preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

This week on Heavy Hands, Connor and Patrick sit down to discuss the aftermath of UFC Japan, un unremarkable card that ended up delivering some very memorable results. Ovince Saint Preux’s third Von Flue choke, Jessica Andrade’s statement-making win over top contender Claudia Gadelha, and kickboxer Gokhan Saki’s UFC debut. All of these make the docket before we spend the rest of the show discussing confidence and ringcraft, two essential components of combat that are nonetheless under-explored and misunderstood.

Direct download: 178_Japan_and_Confidence_and_Ringcraft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Fans of both boxing and MMA encountered some familiar frustrations on Saturday night. Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fought to a disputed draw, proving that no big fight in boxing can end without controversy. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, MMA fans witnessed Luke Rockhold following in the footsteps of his stylistic familiar Anthony Pettis, failing to show much in the way of development even after switching camps.

Still, we at Heavy Hands try to be optimistic, and there was a lot to like about this weekend. GGG-Canelo was one hell of a fight, and we celebrate that by breaking down some of the nuances, in addition to discussing the controversy of the scores. Rockhold’s terrifying ground-and-pound was certainly a welcome sight for fans of the former middleweight champ. Not only that, but the rest of UFC Pittsburgh was chock-full of highlights. Finally, a brief preview of a not-particularly-good card in UFC Japan. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 177_GGG-Canelo_post-fight_analysis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42am EDT

The docket is full this week, so prepare yourself for a jam-packed episode. Connor and Patrick look back at the controversial result in UFC 215's Nunes vs Shevchenko, and discuss other noteworthy aspects of the event, including the terrible punishment endured by Gavin Tucker, who took at least three minutes of sustained and thoroughly unnecessary punishment thanks to his corner and the referee in the bout, who might as well have spent the duration of the contest in the restroom for all the good he did Tucker. 

Anyway, after that, it's on to last weekend's Superfly boxing card, which featured the downfall of the great Roman Gonzalez, and--in contrast to the disgraceful events on the UFC undercard--some excellent, prudent cornering by Joe Delguyd. MMA fans may know Delguyd as trainer of UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former trainer of bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt. When working the corner of Antonio Nieves, Delguyd only allowed Nieves to absorb so much punishment from Naoya "The Monster" Inoue before stopping the bout. If you happen to see Joe on Twitter, please let him know that fight fans appreciate fighter safety.

Finally, we wrap our episode up with analysis and predictions for the upcoming superfight between Gennady "GGG" Golovkin and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, as well as the weekend's UFC card, featuring a middleweight bout between former UFC champion and former (two-weight) WSOF champion Dave Branch. 

Direct download: 176_UFC_215_and_GGG-Canelo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:28pm EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Two very different fights, both every bit as brilliant and beautiful as MMA can be. We break them both down (and more) on this week’s Heavy Hands. Justin Gaethje made his UFC debut in the main event of July 7th’s TUF 25 Finale, and while those of us who have watched him for years were worried about his chances, he did exactly what he always does. Michael Johnson had a speed advantage, and a better chin than just about anybody else Gaethje has fought. Gaethje took his best shots and knocked him out anyway, in a wild war that may not be topped for the rest of the year.

The next night, Robert Whittaker stepped into the Octagon to challenge Yoel Romero for the UFC interim title, and a guaranteed shot at Michael Bisping’s belt. A few months ago, the superhumanly explosive Romero, alongside jiu-jitsu ace Ronaldo Souza, was considered one of the two best middleweights in the world. Whittaker obliterated Souza back in April, and while the first two rounds of this fight were much tougher, Bobby Knuckles did it again. He outsmarted and outpaced Romero down the stretch in a display of striking skill and takedown defense that can only be called sublime. That he did all of this with a busted knee renders his accomplishment all the more remarkable.

It was not the greatest International Fight Week ever, and plenty of things went wrong in the lead-up. The two main events, however, will be remembered for a very long time. Instant classics, courtesy of Justin Gaethje and Robert Whittaker.

Direct download: 167_Gaethje_and_Whittaker.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:05pm EDT

Connor sits down for an in-depth, hour-long interview with UFC lightweight Jim Miller, a fan-favorite who still yearns to leave his mark on the sport of MMA. Miller talks about his motivation, his training methods, and what he plans to do to Anthony Pettis at UFC 213.

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two (or more) bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: Bonus_15_teaser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:44am EDT

At UFC 213, Amanda Nunes will have the opportunity to prove that she is the true queen of women’s bantamweight, the rightful heir to Ronda Rousey’s contested throne. But the task may not be easy. Valentina Shevchenko also has eyes for the throne, and she already survived an onslaught from Nunes when the two fought in 2014, before taking her to the brink of destruction in round three. On this episode of Heavy Hands, your hosts ponder the possibilities of this grudge match, and get into a bit of a verbal scrap in the process.

After that: serious, brow-furrowed analysis of the goofy rubber match between heavyweight legends Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem. Plus, a quick look at blue chip prospects Mark Diakiese and Curtis Blaydes, each of whom fights on the main card of Friday’s TUF 25 Finale and Saturday’s big pay-per-view, respectively. For your enjoyment, folks, an extra-large episode of erudite fight analysis.

Direct download: 166_nunes_vs_shevchenko_II.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:21am EDT

In this special bonus episode, Connor and Pat tangle with the existential questions that have haunted mankind for ages: who am I? why am I here? what is Bellator MMA going for, exactly, and how am I supposed to feel about it? Yes, Bellator 180 was just about the strangest event we've ever seen, and we spend the bulk of this bonus episode struggling to understand it, before recapping the highlights of UFC Oklahoma City.

Direct download: bonus_14_teaser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:52am EDT

On this week’s Heavy Hands, your hosts look ahead to UFC International Fight Week. The main card of UFC 213 is absolutely stacked with mouthwatering matchups, and with the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 25 taking place just one night before, the weekend boasts too much talent to be covered by just one episode.

Fortunately, we are forward-thinkers and careful planners. Okay, well, Pat is. In any case, this week’s show features in-depth breakdowns of the interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker, the lightweight return of former champion Anthony Pettis against Jim Miller, and the UFC debut of WSOF champion (and bloodthirsty maniac) Justin Gaethje, who takes on the lightning quick Michael Johnson.

Direct download: 165_Romero_vs_Whittaker_and_More.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:47am EDT

Holly Holm finally got herself back on the winning track last weekend, with an emphatic kayo victory over stalwart contender Bethe Correia. On this episode of Heavy Hands, we give our thoughts on Holm’s victory, and some of the other meaningful victories from UFC Singapore. After that, it’s on to Andre Ward, who got a strange and controversial knockout in a fight with Sergey Kovalev, itself a rematch of a first fight which also ended in controversy. Hear our thoughts on Ward’s performance, and the stoppage. A preview of the upcoming bout between lightweight contenders Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee closes out the show.

Direct download: 164_Holm_Ward_and_Chiesa.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:19am EDT

With Max Holloway's win, we have reason to believe that Jose Aldo's long reign as the greatest featherweight in the world has finally, emphatically, and officially come to an end. While the Brazilian legend certainly still has more to offer the sport of MMA, now is as good a time as any for Connor and Pat to look back at the incredible career of this featherweight great.

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two (or more) bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: bonus_13_teaser.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:28am EDT

All that is gold does not glitter, and while I’m still not certain that UFC Auckland was gold, it certainly delivered more action than most in the MMA community expected (including us). This week on Heavy Hands, your hosts are breaking down the most worthwhile bits of action, from Alexander Volkanovski’s contender-making win over a very tough and crafty Mizuto Hirota, to Mark Hunt’s intelligent victory over powerhouse Derrick Lewis.

After that, it’s on to UFC Singapore, main evented by Holly Holm and Bethe Correia. This stands to be a more competitive fight than you might think, and with former lightweight champion Raphael Dos Anjos also making his welterweight debut on the main card, UFC Singapore has the makings of another under-the-radar action card.

Finally, questions from our lovely listeners! We talk about the worst opinions in both casual and hardcore MMA fandom, the metagame of fight preparation, and fighters who seem to break all the rules without consequence.

Direct download: 163_all_that_is_gold_does_not_glitter.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:51am EDT

It wasn’t easy to watch for us die-hard Jose Aldo fans, but it’s about time to buckle in and begin breaking down the birth of the Blessed Era. Sorry--grief makes me alliterate.

On this week’s Heavy Hands, your hosts are getting into the fascinating nitty-gritty of UFC 212. What went wrong for Aldo? How did Holloway adapt and go from a bad first round to a dominant third? Where does Aldo go from here, and, now that he’s beaten the greatest featherweight of all time, who the heck can stop Max Holloway?

In addition to the main event, we also analyze Claudia Gadelha’s first-round submission of Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the wild-yet-tactical victory of Paulo Borrachinha over Oluwalae Bamgbose, and the eight-limbed chess match between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes.

Oh, and apparently there is another UFC event next weekend, I guess. Huh.

 

Direct download: 162_The_Blessed_Era_Begins.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:01pm EDT

UFC 212 isn't a great card, but it has a great main event. Max Holloway has spent the last three years and 10 fights (all of them victories) working his way toward the UFC featherweight title. And if we're talking about greatness, the man standing in his way is the greatest featherweight in MMA history, Jose Aldo. On this episode of Heavy Hands, we give our thoughts on the matchup, and hem and haw for a good long while before venturing to make our predictions. 

After that, it's on to the co-main event matchup between top strawweight contenders Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, as well as the UFC debut of WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes, who takes on elite gatekeeper Raphael Assuncao. Oh, and don't think we would miss the opportunity to talk about Alexander Gustafsson's dominant and violent win over Glover Teixeira from last weekend's UFC Stockholm. 

Direct download: 161_Aldo_vs_Holloway_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Connor and Pat preview the important light heavyweight fights scheduled to take place at UFC Stockholm. In the main event, Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira will battle to determine which man still deserves to call himself a title contender. In the co-main, Volkan Oezdemir and Misha Cirkunov will vie to announce themselves as the next big thing at 205. 

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two (or more) bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: bonus_12_teaser.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

With UFC 211 behind us, we look to the future on this week's episode of Heavy Hands. Recently the UFC has picked up a number of interesting prospects and contenders. WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is a hard-nosed, hard-hitting brawler who doesn't know the meaning of the words "boring fight." WSOF bantamweight champ Marlon Moraes is a supremely technical kickboxer who has begun transforming his talent for picking opponents apart into a talent for finishing them. And Dagestani knockout artist Zabit Magomedsharipov is a gigantic featherweight who looks ready to take the next step.

We take a hard look at all of these fighters, and speculate on how far they might go now that they have been welcomed into the UFC fold. In this week's final segment, we address a topic requested by one of our patrons: why is striking defense so much worse in MMA than in boxing, and how can it be improved?

Direct download: 160_New_Kids_on_the_UFC_Block.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

At UFC 211, many thought that the two defending champions--Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jedrzejczyk--had a tough test on their hands. Junior Dos Santos had beaten Miocic once before, and Jessica Andrade seemed poised to follow up on the (admittedly limited) success of Jedrzejczyk's last two opponents. Instead, the champs defended their belts with aplomb. For Miocic, it was his fourth first-round knockout in a row. For Jedrzejczyk, it was the most complete performance of her MMA career. 

On this episode of Heavy Hands, we analyze the two title defenses and revisit the other meaningful scraps on this titanic card, including Demian Maia's close win over Jorge Masvidal, Frankie Edgar's domination of Yair Rodriguez, and the thrilling war between Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez that ended too soon--in a No Contest. 

Direct download: 159_ufc_211_in_review.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:08pm EDT

The card of the year is almost upon us. Touch my hand; I'm shaking.

Junior Dos Santos defeated Stipe Miocic in 2014, but that was before Miocic became UFC heavyweight champion, and before Dos Santos was sent tumbling to the canvas by Alistair Overeem. Miocic has grown into his role as champ, and Dos Santos has made serious strides to fine-tune his dangerous boxing game. On this edition of Heavy Hands, we break down this rerun of a classic heavyweight fight, and give our predictions for the contest.

But this is UFC 211, so you know that’s not all. In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Jessica Andrade, who just might be her most dangerous opponent yet. Can Jedrzejczyk overcome the power and volume of the Brazilian, or will The Pile Driver take the title away from WMMA’s most dominant champ? As with the main event, we give this scrap the full-segment treatment it deserves. Spoilers: one of our picks pay surprise you.

But, uh . . . this is UFC 211. So yeah, the fun ain’t over. Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis will open the main card with a fascinating fight, the winner of whom will very likely earn a shot at Demetrious Johnson’s title. For Cejudo, it would be a chance at redemption, and if the crazy aggression he brought to bear against Joseph Benavidez is any indication, he is ready for another shot at the belt. The little brother of Anthony Pettis has been quietly compiling an impressive win streak, however, and Cejudo’s name would be the one he needs to prove that championship talent runs in the family.

Direct download: 158_ufc_211_big_show.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:35am EDT

On this new Heavy Hands feature, Bloody Elbow's Phil Mackenzie (@evilgregjackson) joins Connor (@BoxingBusch, in case you didn't know) to discuss the journeymen, weirdos, and up-and-comers-gone-astray of UFC 211. They call us... the Underdawgs.

We present this first episode of the Underdogs free to you. Future episodes will be available to $3 subscribers to the Heavy Hands Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474), along with all of our other bonus episodes.

Direct download: 1_ufc_211.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 6:54pm EDT

Your second bonus episode of May is a good excuse to keep talking about UFC 211. We told you this card was stacked, and the action doesn't stop at the bottom of the pay-per-view. We break down Krzysztof Jotko vs Dave Branch, Chas Skelly vs Jason Knight, and the scintillating featured prelim between former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and knockout artist Dustin Poirier. 

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two (or more) bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: bonus_11_teaser.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 2:31pm EDT

Okay, so we didn't get you three bonus episodes last month. We're really sorry. But this month, we're going to do our best. And to start May off right, we thought we'd regale you with an interesting discussion that popped up during our analysis of Joshua vs Klitschko. That was a great fight, in part because it was long enough for the drama to play out--for the momentum to shift back and forth several times. MMA needs more of that. Forget championships, and forget main events: the sport would benefit from more five-round fights in general. As for boxing, well... they can't all be Joshua-Klitschko. We give our thoughts on the proliferation of long boxing matches in this era of too many divisions and too many belts. 

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two (or more) bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: bonus_10_teaser.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 4:08am EDT

UFC 211 is so damn good that we have to spread it out over two—no, three, if you count our upcoming bonus episode—different episodes. This week, we’re looking at just two of the three fights on the main card with immediate title implications. If Yair Rodriguez gets past Frankie Edgar, a shot at the winner of Jose Aldo vs Max Holloway will probably be in order. And if Demian Maia beats Jorge Masvidal, not even an obviously hesitant UFC will be able to deny him a chance at Tyron Woodley’s welterweight belt. Both are compelling, competitive fights, and gosh darn it do we have a hard time picking them.

But that’s not all. This edition of Heavy Hands is capped off by a look back at last weekend’s heavyweight boxing showcase, a thrilling battle between star-in-the-making Anthony Joshua, and Wladimir Klitschko, who ruled the heavyweight division alone for the last decade. The fight was insanely good, with both men showing off their skills and their guts, and neither managing to take over decisively until Joshua knocked Klitschko out in the 11th round. A true classic of modern heavyweight boxing, and we invite you to share our excitement.

Direct download: 157_211_and_anthony_joshua.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:45am EDT

Good thing we gave Artem Lobov at least a little credit on last week's show, because The Russo-Irish Hammer really exceeded expectations in his much-maligned main event bout with top featherweight contender Cub Swanson. The two set the UFC record for significant strikes in a featherweight contest, and while Swanson nearly doubled Lobov's accuracy, the SBG fighter still managed to land 123 significant strikes over the course of the fight, more than anyone else Swanson has ever faced. Those sparring sessions with Conor McGregor must be paying off.

Not only do we break down Swanson-Lobov on this week's episode, but we get into the rest of UFC Nashville as well. It was a solid outing from the UFC despite a dearth of relevant matchups, and we analyze the likes of Mike Perry, Brandon Moreno, and Danielle Taylor (now officially one to watch at strawweight). Oh, and we give you just a little idea of what to expect from Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko at the end. Spoilers: Connor is a grumpy old man. 

Direct download: 156_artem_is_actually_pretty_good.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:50am EDT

Connor sat down to talk with UFC bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera this week for a written piece. But since we appreciate you subscribers so much, we've uploaded the audio as an extra bonus episode for the month. Hear Jimmie talk about his training methods, his relationship with Tiger Schulmann, his sparring session with TJ Dillashaw, and his future in the UFC.
 
To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two bonus episodes every month.
Direct download: bonus_9_teaser.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

Apparently Robert Whittaker doesn’t much like the nickname “Bobby Knuckles,” but honestly, we at Heavy Hands think he’s making a mistake. It fits, right? I am sure that Jacare Souza would agree. The longtime middleweight contender felt the Australian’s knuckles on several occasions, before Whittaker dropped him by laying his instep—the knuckles of the foot, of course—across the Brazilian’s cheek. It was a sizeable upset, but guess who saw it coming?

Okay, so we’re doing a little bragging on this week’s Heavy Hands. We don’t always get out picks right, and this week we nailed just about every fight we chose to talk about. From the ascension of Bobby Knuckles, to the 10th title defense of Demetrious Johnson. From Aljamain Sterling to Rose Namajunas to Tom Duquesnoy. Pat even predicted that Whittaker would stop Jacare in the second round! Give the man his props.

After a few very brief mentions of our masterful fight-picking, we analyze the fights themselves. And, uh . . . well, after we revisit last weekend’s card, which was almost certainly one of the best UFC on Fox cards ever aired, we talk about next weekend’s card. And it’s main event. Which . . . it’s Cub Swanson vs Artem Lobov, okay? Yes, it makes no sense as a main event, and it means nothing. It’s weirdness alone should compel you to watch, however, and I, for one, cannot pass up any opportunity to see “Killer” Cub do his thing.

Direct download: 155_bobby_knuckles.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:56am EDT

This week's bonus episode is all about Vasyl Lomachenko. "Hi-Tech" took on Jason Sosa last weekend, and despite the fact that Sosa is a very good fighter with a number of impressive wins, Lomachenko made him look like an absolute amateur. We're here to break it all down--the footwork, the combination punching, the ferocity. And you'll forgive us if we indulge in a little fanboyism as well. 

To hear the rest of this episode, head over to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2439474). Patrons who pledge $3 a month get access to two bonus episodes every month.

Direct download: bonus_8_teaser.mp3
Category:Bonus Episode Teasers -- posted at: 1:05am EDT

Well... UFC 210 was kinda weird, huh? On this week’s Heavy Hands, we revisit the oddness of Gegard Mousasi’s win over Chris Weidman via illegal legal knees, as well as the absolutely classic self-sabotage of Anthony Johnson, who decided to wrestle with Daniel Cormier before giving up his neck in trademark fashion. Oh, and about Will Brooks... well, you’ll have to listen to the show for our thoughts on that one.

Next week, however, sees the UFC putting on what just might be the best UFC on Fox card to date. Flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson takes on Wilson Reis for what will be his 10th title defense, and we look forward to watching the best fighter on the planet do his thing. We’re also looking into the tough break facing Jacare Souza as he takes on Robert Whittaker, because basically no one who actually deserves to fight for the middleweight title will get the chance in 2017. Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson are set to put on a thrilling strawweight battle, and Tom Duquesnoy, the crown prince of violence, makes his UFC debut on the prelims.

Direct download: 154_rumble_crumbled.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 1:03am EDT

At UFC 210, Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will meet in the Octagon for the second time. In their first encounter, Johnson managed to drop Cormier before the wrestling skill and sheer determination of his foe undid him. It is a pattern that has repeated itself throughout Johnson’s career, and it saw Daniel Cormier walk away with the belt around his waist. This week on Heavy Hands, we discuss the dynamics of the rematch. How might Johnson have adjusted his game, and will Cormier be able to repeat the greatest triumph of his career?

We also get into the co-main event, a battle between former middleweight champion Chris Weidman—who was knocked out in both of his last two fights—and Gegard Mousasi—who knocked the other guy out in his last three. Mousasi would appear to have inertia on his side, but Weidman would be the biggest win of his career, and he can bring the kind of pressure-based gameplan that has beaten Mousasi in the past. Plus, we get into the comeback of Will Brooks, and the scintillating matchup between prospects Kamaru Usman and Sean Strickland.

Direct download: 153_ufc_210_preview.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 2:39am EDT

We know that styles make fights, but do we know which styles make which fights? Well, your hosts have a a few ideas, but we need data to know for sure. So, this week on Heavy Hands, we are making our second round of picks for our Styles Make Fights series. At the end of 2016, we predicted several fights based on the styles of the combatants. Today, we recap those picks and make a few more. Our ultimate goal: to find out which styles beat which, and enable ourselves (and you) to make rock-solid predictions. 

But future fights aren't everything. This week, we also delve into the first loss of Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez's career. The top pound-for-pound boxer was bested by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in a close fight, and we discuss the clever tactics of both men. Gennady Golovkin came close to experiencing the same fate when he took on Daniel Jacobs on the same night, but managed to come away with a close win. We're breaking that down too. 

 

Direct download: 152_styles_make_fights_revisited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Though it probably won’t make it onto any year-end lists, UFC London ended up being a fun, well-rounded card. The wild scrambles between Arnold Allen and Makwan Amirkhani, the stunning dynamism of Marc Diakiese, the triumph of Jimi Manuwa at the top of the card, and the emotional retirement of Brad Pickett to lend everything else a little more meaning. It was fun, is what I’m saying.

And there, right in the midst of it, was Gunnar Nelson. Stoic and unreadable, the Icelandic teammate of Conor McGregor has given us fits for years. Since his UFC debut in 2012, Gunni has repeatedly demonstrated incredible dynamism atop a solid bedrock of world-class grappling. In all of that time, however, he has changed very little, and still prides himself on figuring opponents out in the cage, without the benefit of a gameplan. We take Nelson’s London win as an opportunity to remember just how good he is, but also to delve into our relationship to the fighter. What is his ceiling, and why does he so often frustrate our expectations?

Direct download: 151_ufc_london.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

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

The undercards, though...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whatever happens, it will be an amazing fight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holly Holm lost her third fight in a row. Anderson Silva earned his first win since 2012. Jim Miller garnered a draw card from one judge after his barnburner with Dustin Poirier.

Only... should any of that have actually happened? Going in, UFC 208 was looking like a fight card only a mother could love. After the final fight was concluded,  mom had a change of heart and disowned the event after all. Despite some interesting (if not altogether thrilling) fights throughout the card, it seems no one has talked about anything but its many controversies since. 

Did Holly Holm deserve the decision over Germaine de Randamie? Was Anderson Silva just faking his way to an unlikely win? And what about that classic scrap between Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller? On this week's Heavy Hands we not only delve into all of these questions, but offer you all the in-depth analysis of technique and strategy that you have come to expect from us. 

Whether you agree with our conclusions or not, our ultimate goal is to get you liking this episode more than you liked UFC 208. Shouldn't be too hard . . .

Direct download: 146_ufc_208_recap.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:35am EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Greg Jackson has accomplished the rare feat of making himself an MMA celebrity without ever stripping down and setting foot into the Octagon. He has become a star trainer, and not without a whole host of good reasons. For one, Jackson has been teaching mixed martial arts since 2000 at this point. He has played a crucial role in the careers of many champions and all-time greats, including Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Carlos Condit, Donald Cerrone, and more.

Throughout all of this, Jackson has garnered a reputation as one of the best strategists in the sport. They've called him a sport-killer and a hero, but no one can deny that Greg Jackson knows how to come up with a gameplan. On this week's Heavy Hands, Greg sits down with us to discuss his process. How does gameplanning differ from one fighter to the next, how does he know what to look for, and how does it all come together in the corner?

The back half of the show features a discussion of matchmaking in the UFC as it pertains to our surprisingly entertaining UFC Phoenix card. We break down Yair Rodriguez's dominant win over BJ Penn and Sergio Pettis' win over John Moraga through that lens.

Direct download: 142_rodriguez_penn_recap_vid.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 12:41pm EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas has come and gone, but it's Easter for Ronda Rousey, as the former champion finally makes her return after just over a year away from the Octagon. Much has changed since Rousey lost her bantamweight strap. It seems we barely had time to discuss a potential rematch with Holly Holm, the first woman to beat Rousey, before Miesha Tate became the first mixed martial artist to beat Holm. Nor would Tate face the biggest name in women's MMA, as she too would lose the title after a few months, leaving it around the waist of Amanda Nunes.

Not only do we get Nunes vs Rousey, but Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt as well. Cruz has been sterling since his long absence due to a litany of injuries, winning back and then defending the title that he never really lost. The bantamweight champ seems intent on staying active, too, as this will be his third fight in 2016, even if that makes it just his fourth fight in the last five years altogether. Does Cody Garbrandt have more than just a puncher's chance? If not, the winner of TJ Dillashaw vs John Lineker will surely be eager for a crack at Cruz's belt.

Three big fights, three in-depth breakdowns. These are some of the episodes we love the most, and we hope you enjoy the show. 

Direct download: 139_ufc_207.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:06pm EDT

The UFC catches a lot of flak for their handling of prospects--and fighter development in general. Whether throwing a newly signed novice to the wolves or refusing to let shopworn contenders take even a momentary step down in competition, the Octagon has garnered a reputation as a stage where fighters are told to either sink or swim--no exceptions.

It is hard to blame matchmaking for this, though. Paige VanZant and Sage Northcutt are, in a way, cut from the same cloth. Both athletes look more like Disney Channel stars than fistfighters, and the UFC has doubled down on that incongruous appeal, often to the frustration of their hardcore fanbase. Both VanZant and Northcutt are legitimate prospects, however, and the UFC has consistently matched both pretty well. So when VanZant and Northcutt show few signs of improvement from one fight to the next--and even seem to regress in some areas--they have no one to blame but themselves. Or their parents. Or their camps. 

Point is, the UFC is not to blame for what happened at UFC on Fox 22, when both VanZant and Northcutt were beaten. Now really is time for the pretty blonde prospects to sink or swim. And on this week's Heavy Hands, we're talking about the techniques and practices that could either keep them afloat, or act as the cinder blocks around their ankles.

 

Direct download: 138_shade_northcutt.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 5:19am EDT

UFC 206 was so good, you know we had to dedicate a solid chunk of this week's show to it. This week on Heavy Hands, Max Holloway's brilliant style is dissected, as are his chances in potential future matchups with Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor. As for Anthony Pettis, who was stopped for the first time by Holloway, we get into the reasons for his continuing decline, and discuss which matchups and methods could get him back on track as he prepares to return to the lightweight division.

Cub Swanson and Doo Ho Choi staged a classic, back-and-forth war, stealing the show from a number of other excellent fights. We break down Swanson's special swagger and the changes Choi will need to make to avoid a repeat beating. Donald Cerrone and Matt Brown, Kelvin Gastelum and Lando Vannata--this is the show for you if you're still stuck on that UFC 206 high. 

As for the final segment of the show, we look forward to fan favorite Paige VanZant's second main event appearance and the testing of Mickey Gall by Sage Northcutt, all set to take place next weekend.

Direct download: 137_holloway_and_vanzant.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 12:55pm EDT

Jose Aldo is the featherweight champion once again. With former champion Conor McGregor being stripped and/or "relinquishing" the belt, it is officially the weirdest title change since Josh Barnett and Randy Couture back in 2002. But what is a championship of questionable validity without an even more questionable interim championship? 

Now, if I'm being honest, this cynical tone does not truly reflect my feelings for this fight. Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis are two of the most consistently entertaining fighters in the UFC today, and the mere prospect of either man facing Jose Aldo next year is tantalizing. That they also happen to match up so well with one another is just more reason to celebrate. The politics might be weird, but the fights are still good, and that's what matters. 

We're not only breaking down Holloway-Pettis on this week's Heavy Hands, but also looking ahead to Donald Cerrone's welterweight clash with Matt Brown. In addition to the previews, we look back at Demetrious Johnson vs Tim Elliott and Joseph Benavidez vs Henry Cejudo, two excellent fights and two strong ads for the UFC flyweight division.

Direct download: 136_ufc_206.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 10:35am EDT

Demetrious Johnson is fighting a particular challenger this weekend, but we can't talk about that just yet. Instead, we get to look at the flyweight champion's place in the hierarchy of MMA greats, and discuss potential future fights that we would like to see. 

As for fights we can talk about on this episode, Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo are set to throw down, almost certainly with a shot at Johnson's belt on the line. Benavidez is one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC at this point, and his veteran savvy makes him a tough out for Cejudo, but if Henry took the right things away from his lopsided loss to the champion earlier this year, he has a chance to redeem himself.

Finally, how could we miss the chance to talk about the crazy thing that Vasyl Lomachenko did last weekend. The guy is an amazing boxer; we all knew that already. But Nicholas Walters was supposed to at least make him work for the win. Instead Lomachenko effortlessly outclassed the elite puncher before forcing him to quit on the stool after just 7 rounds. Yeah, we had to talk about that.

Direct download: 135_lomachenko.mp3
Category:UFC -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

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

Direct download: 133_henry_on_205.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 9:30pm 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

If there is one good thing about a lull between UFC events (and there are probably several), it is that it gives us fight analysts time to talk about other things. Exciting, fascinating things like the upcoming fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. I mean . . . what a fight. 

We spend the bulk of today's episode breaking this one down. Andre Ward makes good on his promise to establish himself as a top light heavyweight, and the veritable boxing genius seems well-suited to the task. We talk about Ward's intelligence both in and out of the ring, the calm, cerebral style that got him where he is today, and the fact that Sergey Kovalev is undeniably the most dangerous man Ward will have ever faced.

As for Kovalev, how will he cope with his most frustrating opponent to date, and can he prove that his transformation from brawler to boxer-puncher was really profound enough to beat a dyed-in-the-wool, classic American slickster? 

To cap off the episode, we spend a segment answering a question from one of our patrons. Namely, what one trait would we add to make various top five mixed martial artists into championship material? It's a good one, and we hope you enjoy it.

Direct download: 129_ward_kovalev.mp3
Category:Boxing -- posted at: 12:23am EDT

A while ago on Heavy Hands, we began a series called "Styles Make Fights." Original, I know. The idea of the series was to dissect what we saw as the five overarching styles of fighting: out-fighting, counter fighting, pressure fighting, boxer-punching, and brawling. Listeners liked it; we liked it. It was a lot of fun, and we've been hearing requests for the series to make some kind of comeback for a while now. 

Well, voila! 

In order to make a meaningful addition to our existing conclusions--whether that means bolstering them or changing them completely--we will be using those five style archetypes to categorize UFC fighters, and then predicting the outcomes of their fights based solely on the style matchup. So when we ask if Frankie Edgar will beat Jeremy Stephens, we're really asking whether an out-fighter beats a boxer-puncher. When we pick the winner of Yoel Romero vs Chris Weidman, we're really picking between boxer-puncher and pressure fighter. 

Not only does this give us a chance to identify flaws in the system--what about those fighters who don't fit neatly into any single style archetype?--but a chance to understand the usefulness of identifying styles in the first place. We'll continue the series in the future, and catch up on all the fights for which we make predictions. Until then, enjoy this latest episode of Heavy Hands. 

Direct download: 128_styles_make_fights_again.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 12:15am 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

Heavy Hands returns with another interview, this time with the bold, funny, and insightful Gilbert Burns, one of the most promising prospects in the UFC's lightweight division, and a veritable master of the armbar (he has won three of his four UFC bouts using that technique). Gilbert talked to us about . . .

- Training Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Nova Uniao
- Transitioning from submission grappling to MMA
- The benefits of having spent his entire MMA career with the Blackzilians team
- Learning striking from Henri Hooft, sparring hard
- Becoming a well-rounded fighter, rather than fighting like a BJJ specialist
- His teammate Michael Johnson's knockout victory over Dustin Poirier

One of my favorite highlights from our conversation came when Gilbert addressed fellow grappling ace Demian Maia, and his belief that the best victory is one which causes no harm to the opponent."Don't get me wrong," Burns said. "I have Demian as a friend. I love to watch this guy's fighting, but I don't agree with a couple of the things he says. Like, 'Oh, I just wanna finish the guy, don't wanna make damage, next day he can train . . .'

"No, bro. I wanna finish you . . . if I see your face there, my elbows gonna come."

After the interview, we preview the best bouts of the UFC's upcoming Brasilia card, including the main event clash between Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino and Lina Lansberg.

Direct download: 124_gilbert_burns.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 1:21am 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

This week on Heavy Hands, we're talking about stature. On this show, we have already dedicated numerous episodes to fighting style, and our main point was this: style is not a product of build, but of personality. It would be a mistake to base a fighter's approach entirely on his size and shape without taking into account the makeup of his mind. 

Even so, there are certain tactics that work well for long and tall fighters, and certain tactics that allow short fighters to counter them. On today's episode, we discuss these techniques in-depth, addressing how short men can fight from the outside as well as in the pocket, and analyzing the difference between short man's boxing, and short man's MMA.

Yair Rodriguez and David Teymur are also on the brain thanks to their impressive performances at UFC Salt Lake City, and we spend the first segment of the show breaking down their fights, and predicting where they go from here.

 

Direct download: 118_long_and_tall_vs_short_and_small.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 7:49am EDT

The gut doesn't lie. Tyron Woodley was the wrong kind of challenge for Robbie Lawler at this point in his career. The man who had been staggered in just about every fight for the last two years was knocked out by one of the welterweight division's hardest hitters, and perhaps that's not as surprising as it seemed at first. 

But we're not going to spend all our time reflecting on the fall of Ruthless Robbie. I mean, if we did, the show would just be an hour and twenty minutes of weeping, right? So instead, we're talking about distance management, and boxing for MMA. 

Face-punching is something both mixed martial artists and boxers can appreciate, but it is only recently that MMA fighters have begun to improve the other aspects of the sweet science: defense, footwork, and ringcraft. 

Over the course of this week's episode, we break down the differences between MMA boxing and traditional boxing, and relate the topic to some recent or upcoming fights. Could Rose Namajunas have benefitted from a little ringcraft against Karolina Kowalkiewicz? Will Yair Rodriguez's lack of mid-range striking skills hurt him against Alex Caceres? Listen in to get our perspective.

Direct download: 117_boxing_for_mma.mp3
Category:Technique Breakdown -- posted at: 9:58am EDT

Brian Stann was known as an action fighter during his professional MMA career, but since then he has settled into a role on the sidelines and established himself as one of the wisest voices in the game--and potentially the greatest living American. Just don't tell him that. 

He joins Heavy Hands this week to look back on UFC International Fight Week and UFC 200, and look forward to the matchups made possible by those events. Brian celebrates the battle between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha, and discusses the brilliance of Jose Aldo's victory over Frankie Edgar. As for Conor McGregor, who will likely rematch Aldo next, whether he wins or loses in his rematch to Nate Diaz, Brian gives his thoughts on McGregor's unique mental state. McGregor may possess unmatched mental fortitude, but how can he possibly improve on a 13-second KO? 

Listen in to hear the full intreview, plus a detailed breakdown of UFC 201's big fights, Robbie Lawler vs Tyron Woodley for the welterweight strap, and Rose Namajunas vs Karloina Kowalkiewicz. Our predictions may surprise you . . .

 

Direct download: 116_brian_stann.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 10:51pm 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

Dominick Cruz may have been the first UFC champion to stop by Heavy Hands, but Demetrious Johnson made sure he wasn't the last. It's a very competitive business vying to get on our show, you understand.

Seriously though, we were very honored to welcome arguably the greatest mixed martial artist on the planet today on Heavy Hands, and boy did we have so much to ask him. Johnson is well-known for his transitions, ably switching from one range to another or from one phase to another, and he talks about the unique relationship with trainers Matt Hume and Brad Kertson than enables that style. 

The pound-for-pound great also discusses his approach to gameplanning for each specific opponent, and the inimitable clinch game that led him to a dominant first-round victory over Olympic wrestler Henry Cejudo. 

After the interview, it's on to UFC Ottawa, and the implications of Stephen Thompson's victory over Rory MacDonald. We take a broad, strategic look at the fight and ask what MacDonald could have done better, while acknowledging just how brilliantly Stephen Thompson outclassed him. 

Direct download: 110_demetrious_johnson.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 9:13am 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

Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt are two of the most promising action fighters in one of the UFC's most promising action-fight divisions. Between them they have a near 90 percent finish ratio, with the vast majority of those finishes being knockouts. Both just 24 years old, "Tominhas" and "No Love" are undefeated--which only adds to the stakes in their main event matchup at UFC Fight Night 88. 

On this episode of Heavy Hands, we give Almeida vs Garbrandt the full, in-depth breakdown, and predict the outcome of the fight. But that's not all, no sir. Fight Night 88 is easily one of the most stacked cards of the year, with a lineup sure to delight any hardcore fight fan. We take our pick of the litter, and break down Aljamain Sterling vs Bryan Caraway, Renan Barao vs Jeremy Stephens, Tarec Saffiedine vs Rick Story, Jorge Masvidal vs Lorenze Larkin, Josh Burkman vs Paul Felder, and Chris Camozzi vs Vitor Miranda (middleweights!). 

Holy hell, what a collection of matchups! Join us for your weekly dose of fight discussion, and walk away a smarter (and slightly more bloodthirsty) version of yourself.

Direct download: 106_almeida_garbrandt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:14am 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

He's here, ladies and gentlemen. The Dominator, the Once and Current King, the UFC Bantamweight Champion of the World . . . Dominick Cruz joins us on this week's episode of Heavy Hands!

Dominick discusses the origins of his unique fighting style, and the immense foresight that goes into it. He also explains how working as an analyst has affected his fighting and vice versa, and describes the mental maturation that was required for him to shake off the injuries that haunted him for so many years while Renan Barao and TJ Dillashaw defended his belt.

After that it's on to UFC 198. We discuss the best fights, including an in-depth discussion of the heavyweight championship fight in the main event, between all-time great Fabricio Werdum and challenger Stipe Miocic. Note: unfortunately we recorded this before news of Anderson Silva's health issues broke, so there is a bit of Silva-Hall discussion near the end.

But you can forgive us for that, right? Dominick Cruz, people!

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: 104_dominick_cruz.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

Bonus episode!

That's right, we were so excited to bring you this episode of Heavy Hands that we just couldn't wait another week. Joining us for a pair of in-depth interviews are two of MMA's best trainers, both of whom brought their fighters to victory at UFC 197.

First up is Brandon Gibson, the striking coach for Jon Jones and numerous other Jackson-Winkeljohn fighters. He makes his return to Heavy Hands to discuss the changes in preparation Jones had to make when Ovince Saint Preux stepped in on just three weeks' notice in lieu of Daniel Cormier. Saint Preux was a dangerous and very different opponent for a fighter and team of trainers usually reliant on extensive preparation, but Jones' dominated the fight and won a one-sided unanimous decision.

Then we welcome Mark Henry to the show. In addition to training Edson Barboza for his career-best victory over Anthony Pettis at 197, Henry works with such elite fighters as Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez, and--a recent addition--former middleweight champion Chris Weidman. All three of these men are preparing for title shots in the near future, and Mark talks extensively about his training methods, which have made him one of the most successful teachers of striking in the sport today.

We hope you enjoy listening to these brilliant trainers as much as we did interviewing them!

Direct download: 103_mark_henry.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 6:47pm 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