What’s next for Rashad Evans & Alistair Overeem?
UFC 156 from Las Vegas, Nevada saw Blackzilian Teammates ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem suffer defeat. With each man still near the tops of their careers, where do they go from here? Let’s break it down for each fighter.
Alistair Overeem faced Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silvia and was knocked out with punches in the third and final round, beating ‘The Reem’ at his own strength. Overeem had no respect for ‘Bigfoot’ and his stand up game and frequently left his hands low early on. The lack of respect really began after the match up was announced, and Overeem was simply blatant disrespect of Silvia. This obviously angered Antonio and fueled him through out his training and into the actual fight. After the knock out, ‘Bigfoot’ was still clearly enraged and had it been almost any other referee than Herb Dean- the massive Brazilian would have pounced on Overeem and beat him further.
This was to be the launching platform to set up current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez to defend his title against Overeem, which would do huge numbers. But now? One would think Alistair is at least two wins away from a title shot.
The best two fights for Overeem to get, win and propel himself back into contention: one could be versus the winner of Frank Mir vs Daniel Cormier. If ‘The Reem’ were to win that fight, he could challenge the winner of the Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Fabricio Werdum, the coaches of TUF Brazil 2. An alternate fight might be the winner of Mark Hunt vs Stefan Struve, both fighters on good win streaks , with the ability to make an exciting fight. These fights would be easier to schedule soon, to get him a title fight in early 2014. But is he still at the top of the heavyweight division? His physique changed drastically from his previous fights to this one, and he has been hounded with PED accusations that have never been proven. Overeem looked less defined, and less aggressive in this horrible KO loss. Attitude and training must change for the Dutch kickboxing star to rise again.
Rashad Evans faced Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and fought the former Pan Am boxing competitor to a three round decision loss. It was a close fight, but the endless boxing and Evan’s unsuccessful attempts at taking Nogueira down would not favor him in the fight. Rashad wasn’t everly hurt, but seemed at a disadvantage for the second and third rounds. It is his second consecutive loss, his previous was versus UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones last April. Did the long layoff affect Evans? Was he not motivated to fight the less famous Nogueira twin? We know he has stated that he would refuse to move to middleweight, where he might get a shot quickly at UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva- but I think it would be the turning point of his career, and see a resurgence to glory for the former TUF 2 Heavyweight winner.
Fights for Rashad at Middleweight would abound: Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman or Yushin Okami (and even the winner of Michael Bisping vs Alan Belcher)could each put him knocking on Anderson’s door. And that match up could be a headliner for any pay per view. If Evans were to make the cut to 185, I think that puts one of the biggest draws in the UFC right into title contention with one top 5 win.
Overeem and Evans will return to their Blackzilians camp, rest and regroup. There is still time and opportunity for each of these excellent fighters, but being on the winning track is surely a goal for each man. Will they bring UFC gold home to Florida and make the Blackzilians the home of Champions like Jackson’s, Blackhouse and the other elite training gyms? Only time will tell.