Despite a cavalcade of mishaps fundamentally reshaping it these last few weeks, UFC Vegas 26, which takes place this weekend (Sat., May 8, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, will feature just a single new face. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where there’s never enough footage to go around, we look at Guyana’s first Octagon representative.
Carlston “Mocambique” Harris
Weight Class: Welterweight
Record: 15-4 (4 KO, 4 SUB)
Notable Victories: Michel Pereira, Wellington Turman, Saygid Izagakhmaev
Harris, the first Guyanese fighter to join UFC, won six of seven before taking on Saygid Izagakhmaev on Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight series. He wound up putting the Dagestani standout to sleep with an anaconda choke, earning himself a contract in the process.
I spent probably the better part of an hour trying to hunt down full replays of Harris’ most recent appearances, but all I found of him since 2017 were brief highlights of the Izagakhmaev fight, so take the following analysis with as much salt as needed.
Harris’ gameplan begins and ends with getting to a body lock and grinding opponents to oblivion. He’s borderline impossible to dislodge once he manages to lock his hands, and even if he can’t establish top control, he’s willing and able to keep opponents against the fence and drag them back down as many times as necessary. If he does manage to keep them down, he passes well, though he’s not much for ground-and-pound; he tends to favor arm triangles and front chokes for his ground finishes.
While he would sometimes straight-up sprint into takedowns in older bouts, he showed an excellently timed and technical reactive shot against Izagakhmaev, so he seems to be showing some much-needed improvement.
On the feet, he’s got a stiff jab and some natural power in his right hand, but lacks the technique to properly deliver it. He tended to wing his shots and really struggle with low kicks in the older footage, and while he was willing to slug it out if needed and had the gas tank to just power his way into the clinch whenever things got hairy, I can’t imagine him holding his own against Octagon-level strikers.
Harris’ UFC future boils down to how his wrestling holds up on the world stage. I don’t see him making a run at contention, but he could definitely beat some unprepared strikers through sheer persistence.
Opponent: He takes on Christian Aguilera, who stopped Anthony Ivy in his promotional debut before subsequently falling to rising contender Sean Brady. He’s undoubtedly better than Harris on the feet, but the poor takedown defense that Brady exploited presents an extremely tempting target for “Mocambique.” In the end, expect Harris to grind his way to a successful Octagon debut.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 26 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.
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