Vitor Belfort‘s storied career has been marked by frequent changes in teams and training camps, and his nomadic journey has now led him to the South Florida super-team known as the “Blackzilians.” According to a statement released by Belfort’s management team, Belfort will prepare for his surprise title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 152 (September 22nd, Toronto) alongside the Blackzilian team, with none other than Rashad Evans as his head coach. The team was previously led by Mike Van Arsdale, who parted ways with the camp late last month.
“This is the most important fight of my life, so the time is perfect to join [manager] Glenn Robinson and the Blackzilians and their world class training camp at JACO Hybrid Training Center in Delray Beach,” Belfort said in a press release. “I will have the best trainers and the top fighters in the sport including Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans helping me prepare for this title fight. I will run my whole training camp at JACO and will win the belt for my fans, family and the Blackzilians in South Florida.”
Belfort hasn’t competed since his submission win over (now) Blackzilian teammate Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in January. “The Phenom” went on to coach The Ultimate Fighter Brazil opposite Wanderlei Silva and the two were set to rematch this past summer before Belfort broke his hand in training and had to pull out.
As for Belfort’s new coach Rashad Evans, his last fight was a five-round unanimous decision loss to his nemesis Jon Jones last April. With Rashad directing his camp, Vitor may gain special insight into Jones’ abilities, and Evans will get another chance to beat Jones, though indirectly. In addition, Belfort will benefit from the level of talent at the Blackzilians camp, which also includes coach Mario Sperry — co-founder of Brazilian Top Team, where Belfort was briefly a member — kickboxing star Tyrone Spong, and a number of other UFC vets including Jorge Santiago and Melvin Guillard.
Unfortunately, the Blackzilians’ short history has been marked by more high-profile losses in the Octagon than victories — and judging by the comically lopsided betting odds, Vitor probably won’t be the one to buck that trend. Still, it’s hard to turn down Rashad Evans’s intimate knowledge of Jones, Sperry’s legendary coaching prowess, or Anthony Johnson’s weight-cutting expertise.