The Blackzillians, the south Florida training home of Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem, Anthony Johnson, Matt Mitrione and other top fighters, made a major move to improve their results. They hired Kenny Monday, an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, boxing coach Pedro Diaz, and Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist boxer, joined the team.
Monday won gold in 1988 and silver in 1992 as a freestyle wrestler. He had one MMA fight in 1997, but mostly has focused on working with wrestlers working towards the Olympics. Diaz has worked with Miguel Cotto in the past.
It's not surprising to see the Blackzilians make moves after they have suffered high profile losses. Overeem was knocked out by Antonio Silva at UFC 156 and Evans lost to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by decision on the same card. Thiago Silva had his November win over Stanislav Nedkov overturned because of a failed drug test. Michael Johnson lost to Myles Jury at UFC 155. Mitrione is riding a a two-fight losing streak into his bout this Saturday with Philip De Fries, though just one of those fights came under the Blackzillians' tutelage.
Melvin Guillard lost his last two fights, and then announced on Twitter that he was leaving the Blackzillians to head back to Greg Jackson's camp. Unfortunately, he wasn't welcomed back to his old team.
Evans is fighting Dan Henderson at UFC 161 in June, and Thiago Silva will fight Rafael Cavalcante at a UFC on Fuel card in June. Both fights will show if the new coaches have made a difference.