JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WIAT) — Six months after the death of his stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard, Birmingham area native Walt Harris returned to the octagon for the first main event fight of his career. “The Big Ticket” matched up with Alistair Overeem in a showdown of top-10 heavyweights in the UFC rankings. On his way to the ring, Harris paid homage to Aniah.
Harris, who needed just 12 seconds to knock out Aleksei Oleinik in his last fight, peppered Overeem early and nearly secured another first-round KO. But Overeem withstood the flurry and ultimately forced a submission two minutes into the second round. Overeem, who turned 40 when the clock struck midnight, became the second fighter in UFC history to win fights in four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s).
After the fight, Harris spoke with ESPN’s Paul Felder.
“You ain’t seen the last of ‘The Big Ticket,'” Harris said. “I’m gonna go home, heal emotionally and physically and come back better than ever.”
Overeem expressed support for his opponent after leaving the the octagon.
The loss snaps Harris’s four-bout win streak and drops him to 13-8 in his career.