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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Walt Harris after TKO loss at UFC on ESPN 8?

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UFC on ESPN 8 took place inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena this past weekend (Sat., May 16, 2020) in Jacksonville, Fla., leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them were Edson Barboza, who dropped his third straight after losing a split decision to Dan Ige. And Angela Hill, who saw her three-fight win streak go out the window after some questionable scoring from the judges. And of course Walt Harris, who ran into a very-determined Alistair Overeem (highlights).

Coming into the headlining bout, Harris was riding a three-fight win streak with a victory over Andrei Arlovski overturned to a “No Contest” because of a failed drug test. In short, “Big Ticket” was doing big things. That being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that he was also coming in with a heavy heart after losing his stepdaughter to a senseless and cowardly act of violence just seven months ago.

Harris looked good early on, clipping “The Reem” with a couple of huge bombs, dropping the big man and unleashing more damage while on the ground. But being the veteran that he is, Overeem weathered the storm to finish the round strong. In round two, “The Reem” tagged Harris with a nice high kick and paired it with a two-punch combination that dropped the big man. Overeem then took his back and piled on punches in bunches until the ref put an end to the fight.

It’s a crushing defeat for “Big Ticket,” especially since he was so close to ending the bout in the opening frame. Nevertheless, Harris is seemingly dealing with the setback well, addressing the defeat — and vowing to come back stronger than ever — on social media.

“First let me thank Alistair Overeem for sharing the octagon we me tonight... You’re a class act brother and a legend! Tonight wasn’t my night, but you best believe I will be back better,” he wrote on Instagram, “Thank to everyone for all your love and support can’t say it enough! We learn and grow! Baby girl... daddy loves you and I promise I will keep pushing!”

And push he will, as Harris remains one of the hardest hitters in the game, with all of his victories coming by way of stoppage via strikes. Up next for Harris should be a showdown against Jairzinho Rozenstruik. “Bigi Boy” recently saw his undefeated streak go out the window after Francis Ngannou knocked him out in just 20 seconds at UFC Jacksonville a few days ago (relive it here).

Outside of Alexander Volkov — who is in line to face Curtis Blaydes later this year — no one else makes much sense for Harris. And a win over Rozenstruick will get him right back in the thick of things in a division that will have one less competitor taking up real estate in Daniel Cormier, who is set to retire this year.

Unless, of course, you have a better idea?

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