There was a UFC record tied for consecutive decisions on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 4 in San Antonio, as the first nine fights all went to the scorecards. Walt Harris, in a sharp contrast, nearly set a record for the fastest knockout in the promotion’s history.
Harris (13-7, 1 NC) flattened fellow heavyweight Alexey Oleynik in just a dozen seconds after he pelted the Russian veteran with a knee to the face and follow-up punches. Oleynik had been stopped in the opening round a few times in the past, but never that quickly, and in such savage fashion. Harris has found a groove recently and has knockouts in three of his last four bouts, something he attributes to the effort he puts in the gym.
“I get all these knockouts because I work hard man,” he said after his triumph. “I work harder than anyone. I think a lot of it translated from basketball; explosiveness, agility and hip movement. A lot of heavyweights are supposed to be powerful, but when you combine my power and my speed, it’s a guaranteed knockout.”
After struggling inside the Octagon for a period between 2013-17, where “The Big Ticket” went just 4-6, he’s since gone 3-0 with one no contest. The 36-year-old Alabama native is pleased with his recent progress and believes it’s just a matter of time before he breaks into the deeper stages of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
“I feel like I’m surging,” he said. “I’m getting better at wrestling, I’m getting better at jiu-jitsu. It’s just unfortunate -- or it is fortunate -- but I don’t get to show everything when it ends so quickly in the first round. I don’t get paid by the minute or the hour, so I get in and get out and that’s fine with me. I feel the more I climb, the more I’ll be able to show off that I’m a complete fighter.”
The American Top Team pupil isn’t ready for a title shot anytime soon, even though the Las Vegas-based promotion has a struggling heavyweight division at the moment. However, if Harris continues to win in impressive, more experienced foes will come his way. That’s something Harris covets and his eyes are set on the big picture.
“I have no injuries,” he stated. “I’m going right back to the drawing board on Monday. I have my eye on all of the top-10 heavyweights now. They know what’s up. As soon as [UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard] sends the contract, I’m going to sign it and we’re going to go dance.”