Alistair Overeem expects a solid showing from Curtis Blaydes at UFC 266.

Looking to rebound from his knockout loss to Derrick Lewis, Blaydes (14-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) meets kickboxing specialist Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) on Saturday and has been preparing with the best-suited training partner possible.

Blaydes has been sparring with former K-1 world grand prix champion and UFC heavyweight contender Overeem, who’s scheduled to challenge reigning champion, Rico Verhoeven, at “Glory: Collision 3” on Oct. 23.

“I’ve just trained with Curtis last week; he’s looking in great shape,” Overeem told MMA Junkie. “I expect him to get the win on this one.”

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Former foes-turned-training partners, Overeem and Blaydes have joined forces at Elevation Fight Team ever since Blaydes defeated Overeem at UFC 225 in 2018.

“Curtis is mentally strong,” Overeem said. “He doesn’t really ask for advice, but we just move around. I give my input, he doesn’t ask for it. I think he’s mentally very strong. I think he’s not bothered by any loss or anything. I think his mind will be reset. He’s going to be all for the win. He’s a physical specimen. He’s very strong. He’s going to be very capable of defeating Rozenstruik.

“I just moved around with him, gave him my pointers, he politely thanked me, and that was that. The coaches are really on top of him, working with him a lot, making sure all the details are there, and I’m just being a good teammate that I can, and the chemistry that we have is very organic. There’s no pushing, there’s no pulling. It’s just, ‘I’ll move around with you a little bit.’ He’s looking tremendous, he’s looking awesome, and yeah, he’s tough. He’s a specimen.”

UFC 266 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.


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