In the main event of UFC on ESPN 8, Alistair Overeem was looking to get back into the win column when he fought Walt Harris. “The Big Ticket” was making his return to the Octagon after the murder of his stepdaughter Aniah.
The emotions were high for this one. But, in the end, it was Overeem who got the job done by second-round TKO. Harris, though, did have success early on as he dropped the Dutchman in the first round but Overeem survived.
Now, following the event in Jacksonville, Florida, here is what we think should be next for Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris.
Alistair Overeem said he has one last title run in him, and the 40-year-old proved that on Saturday night. The former UFC title challenger showed off his improved ground game and always dangerous striking.
Although many have questioned his chin, Overeem took a hard right-hand and vicious ground and pound shots in the first and still survived.
Now, if he is serious about getting back to the title shot, Overeem should get a top-five opponent. So, a fight against Derrick Lewis makes sense. “The Black Beast” is ranked fifth and on a two-fight winning streak where he beat Blagoy Ivanov and Ilir Latifi by decision.
What is surprising is the fact they have yet to fight in their career. The scrap could headline a Fight Night card where the winner would enter a number one contender bout at heavyweight.
You have to feel bad for Walt Harris. He was making his return just months after a family tragedy and had success in the first round and nearly finished the fight. But, he got caught and finished in the second.
Following the loss, Harris will still get a ranked opponent, but it will most likely be a step down from Overeem. One name that makes sense is Shamil Abdurakhimov who is ranked 12th at heavyweight.
Abdurakhimov is coming off a TKO loss to Curtis Blaydes. Like Harris, he’s looking to get back into the win column to fight another top-10 opponent. The winner would get just that in their next fight while the loser would most likely have to fight an unranked opponent next and become a gatekeeper so the stakes are high.
Who do you think should be next for Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris after UFC on ESPN 8?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/18/2020.