After closing out his 2017 with back-to-back losses, heavyweight Walt Harris was looking to get things back on track when he faced Daniel Spitz at UFC Fight Night 131 this past June.
In what has become commonplace for Harris, he was able to get the upper hand with is power and picked up a second round finish, picking up his fourth such win in as many victories with the UFC.
“I had a good performance,” Harris told MMAWeekly.com. “I wanted to go out there and showcase a few things, but the fight didn’t kind of go that way, so I had to adapt to what was in front of me. I adapted and got the TKO.”
After a 2017 that saw him fight four times, Harris has had a much less active 2018, but he’s been able to keep busy with doing things such as travelling overseas to work out with two of boxing’s top heavyweights.
“I went to England and trained with Tyson Fury and worked with Deonte Wilder in between fights,” said Harris. “That’s how I stay engaged and stay focused on what I need to be doing, then I go into the gym and work on the things I need to get better at.
“A guy like Tyson Fury being the tactician that he is, he showed me a bunch of different things that I can incorporate into my game that I plan on moving forward. It’s a different sport, but I’ve been in MMA for so long that I can take things from boxing and make it work for MMA, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
On December 29, Harris (11-7) will look to showcase his striking and other skills when he takes on former title holder Andrei Arlovski (27-17) in a preliminary heavyweight bout at UFC 232.
“There’s a lot of different things I’ve been working on, and come December 29 I’ll be able to show the world,” Harris said. “I think people think that I have all knockouts and all finishes in the first two rounds that I don’t have more elements to my game, but that’s not the case, and I’ll show that on December 29.
“I respect Andrei. I’ve followed his career for a long time, so it will be an honor having that notch on my belt. I plan on going out there and just being me and do what I do best and make him adapt to me. I feel like I pose a threat that nobody else in the division does – there isn’t another me in the division – so it’s going to be fun and I cannot wait.”
For Harris, closing out 2018 undefeated and with a win over a former champion could be a strong foundation to build off of for a very productive 2019.
“A win is definitely going to help me in the rankings,” said Harris. “At the same time it’s an honor to test myself against such a big name in the sport. I’m excited to show the world what I can do.
“2019 I think is going to be my biggest year since I’ve joined the company. I have a lot of goals and things I want to achieve. A win over Andre or another win a few months later, I’ll be in the title picture with the way things are right now. I think I have a shot of being in that position before the year’s over as long as I stay hungry and stay active.”