Alistair Overeem became a No. 1 contender in the UFC’s heavyweight division during his time at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M.
But after suffering back-to-back knockout losses at the hands of Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou in his last two outings, “The Reem” decided a change in scenery was necessary, so he relocated to Elevation Fight Team in Colorado. The 38-year-old Netherlands native credited his new camp for his success at UFC Fight Night 141, where he earned a first-round stoppage of Octagon newcomer Sergei Pavlovich.
”We changed the gym and, I don’t know, it was a really good chemistry with all the coaches and I just started to work and we put in a lot of hours,” Overeem said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I like the chemistry and I like all the things that they were working on. I felt growth, and I think this is crucial for mixed martial artist, always get better.
”I think in my old, former setting, that was lacking a little bit, so I feel very fortunate that I was able to still make the jump to make the change and learn again and become better.”
Overeem was able to land some knees in the clinch before taking Pavlovich down to the canvas. From there, the former Strikeforce champion battered his foe with powerful hammerfists and punches, eventually forcing a stoppage at the 4:21 mark of round one.
Overeem took notice of Ngannou’s emphatic victory against Blaydes in the evening’s headliner and says he is ready for a rematch against “The Predator.” Ngannou’s brutal first-round knockout of Overeem at UFC 218 ended up on highlight reels everywhere. Again, Overeem believes his champ in camp will prove beneficial should he get a second chance against Ngannou.
“I have a lot of respect for Francis Ngannou,” Overeem said. “But I’m very ready for a second fight.”
“I can promise you the second fight will be different from the first fight. I made changes to my camp and I feel very energized, very motivated. The second fight will be different from the first fight, I guarantee that.”