Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem entered UFC 156 as the biggest betting favorites on the main card. However, both fighters were stunned by heavy underdogs and looked terrible in the process.
Evans and Overeem trained for UFC 156 with the Blackzilians fight team in Florida. It was Evans’ second fight as a member of the Blackzilians and Overeem’s first.
UFC President Dana White told a group of MMA reporters, “The Blackzilians did not represent well today. It was a bad night for them.”
White’s observation was accurate. Evans came out flat-footed, lacking his typical head movement and constant level changes. He also completely abandoned his wrestling base, which has been one of his most effective weapons throughout his UFC career. As a result, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was able to pick Evans apart on the feet, landing repeated left hands to Evans’ chin without the fear of being taken down.
Likewise, Overeem came out very slowly and lacked the killer instinct he showed in his most recent fight against Brock Lesner. Overeem’s opponent, Antonio Silva, was able to wear him out during two sloppy rounds of grappling and clinch work. This led to a gassed Overeem getting brutally knocked out in the third round.
It is no coincidence that the two heaviest favorites fared so poorly Saturday night. Both fighters’ moves to the Blackzilian team seemed questionable. The Blackzilians have no elite heavyweights or light heavyweights for either fighter to train with. The lack of quality training partners was apparent in both fights, as neither fighter had the ability to make adjustments to their opponents’ game plans, and both fighters appeared to have below average conditioning.
On Overeem’s performance, a disappointed White stated, “He wasn’t throwing punches, he was running into the clinch and his hands were down. It was a weird fight. I don’t know what he thought, he looked terrible.”
White continued, “Both of them looked out of shape. They probably have to reevaluate some things in their camp.”
Again, White is spot-on. The Blackzilians desperately need to add quality training partners to their team. Only then, can Evans and Overeem return to title contention.