Coach: Rashad wasn’t working out right at Jackson’s

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Betrayal, as it turns out, is a pretty strong motivator — Rashad Evans has changed his whole approach to fight preparation. As such, when he steps in the cage against Tito Ortiz at UFC 133 in Philadelphia, we’ll be seeing a product of one-on-one, tailor-made training. It’s a departure from what Evans was doing at Jackson’s, where he trained happily as part of a collective.

“It’s almost like a little mom and pop restaurant that’s got the best food,” coach Mike Van Arsdale told ESPN.com of his Imperial Athletics gym in Boca Raton, FL. “That’s what we got going on down here, it’s a mom and pop. We’re small. We’re not big. We’re not some big name with all these UFC fighters.”

“Every person has different needs. I think Rashad at the time (of his first fight with Tito) was doing the same workout that the team was doing, which I think wasn’t the right prescription for his body type and what he needed to get ready for that particular fight. Instead of running, he probably should have been wrestling; instead of pounding with the legs, he probably should have been practicing some maneuvers with the standup.

“What happened was he got severe shin splints and an injury to his thigh. But, he kept quiet and fought anyway, without a camp. He might have had two good weeks and the rest of the time he sat around barely making it through practice.”

“We’re happy it’s Ortiz. Of course, we would like Phil Davis to still be there, but he’s not, so we had to take what we could get and Ortiz had the nerve and the confidence to put his name on the paper to fight Rashad, so I’m really happy that somebody stepped up to the plate and took the fight on short notice.”

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Rashad Evans fights Tito Ortiz at UFC 133  in Philadelphia on Aug. 6, live on pay per view.