Heavy Hands

Heavy Hands

United States

Heavy Hands is a combat sports podcast that focuses on technical analysis. If you're a fan of fighting sports and martial arts and you want to expand your understanding of the finer points of face-punching, then this show is for you.


129 - Can Sergey Kovalev outsmart Andre Ward?  

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.

128 - Styles Make Fights; Can they Predict them?  

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. 

127 - Hendo's Last Stand & Aaron Pryor Tribute  

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.

126 - Bisping vs Hendo: No Fight for Old Men  

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. 

125 - Can anyone beat Cyborg? + Lineker vs Dodson preview  

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. 

124 - Gilbert Burns on being a Complete Fighter, Cyborg-Lansberg preview  

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.

123 - Poirier vs Johnson, & the Best Stylists in MMA  

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?

122 - Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem preview  

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.

121- The Gentle Art of Demian Maia  

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.

120 - Breaking down Diaz vs McGregor 2  

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.

119 - Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor 2 in-depth analysis  

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. 

118 - Yair Rodriguez, How to fight a bigger opponent  

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.


117 - The Fall of Lawler, and Boxing for MMA  

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.

116 - Brian Stann breaks down UFC 200, Lawler vs Woodley pre-fight analysis  

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 . . .


115 - Holm vs Shevchenko, and Lando Vannata's Glorious UFC Debut  

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.

114 - UFC 200 Masterclass: Joanna, Aldo, & Alvarez post-fight analysis  

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!

112 - Jose Aldo & Joanna Jedrzejczyk's Next Level Sprawl & Brawl  

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. 

111 - Rafael Dos Anjos vs Eddie Alvarez, and Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt  

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!

110 - Demetrious Johnson talks gameplanning & beating dudes up in the clinch  

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. 

Video player is in betaClose