UFC Florida: Overeem Rebounds, Beats Harris In An Emotional Affair

The stage was set for Walt Harris to get the fairytale win, with support for him all over the world. Unfortunately for him, it was not “The Big Ticket’s” night. On the eve of his 40th birthday, Alistair Overeem proved he still has a lot left in the tank.

At UFC on ESPN 8 from inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Overeem (46-18, 1NC) came back and beat Harris (13-8, 1NC) via TKO in the second. It was Harris’ first fight since his step-daughter Aniah Blanchard was tragically murdered a few months ago. Coming in motivated, Harris was grateful for all the support he received.

“I want to say thank you, first and foremost to the UFC, they’ve been amazing through this whole process,” Harris stated after the fight. “My wife and my family and I are so grateful, we owe you guys everything.

“To the fans, I know y’all couldn’t be in here, but y’all at home watching, I’m sorry, I’ll be back better I promise you.”

The mood all night was tense as videos talking about Harris’ mindset were being shown after every fight. As round one began, Harris seemed to be full of energy as he was dancing around the ring. Maybe it was the emotional drive he had, but he used it towards his advantage a minute into the fight. He ended up hitting big shots to the face of Overeem and started laying down hammer fists. Referee Dan Miragliotta was very generous when it came to fighters holding on, as he did not stop the contest.

Bleeding by the eye, Overeem ended up on top of Harris and started pounding away at him. Mounting on Harris, it was a tale of two sides in the first.

Looking tired, Harris was trying to pick his moments in the second. Overeem, however, looked like he was ready to go all five rounds. He hit a high kick and a shot to the face. One shot put Harris to the ground, and Overeem ended up on the back and wouldn’t stop striking. Miragliotta was once again very generous, but once Harris wasn’t doing anything to retaliate, “Big Dan” called the fight off at three minutes into the second.

The loss ends a two-fight win streak for Harris in three fights. As for Overeem, he avenged a loss at the hands of Jairzinho Rozenstruik in December. He is now 3-1 in his last four and joins Aleksei Oleinik as the only fighter to win in four different decades.

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