The UFC is hosting its third card in the last week as the action hits Jacksonville for UFC Fight Night 176.
A blockbuster card 11-fight card is set to greet UFC fans on Sunday morning with two monster heavyweight contenders headlining the action.
Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris, ranked eighth and ninth respectively in the heavyweight rankings will go face-to-face in the main event with Harris making his return to the Octagon.
OVEREEM vs HARRIS
What an opening round! Walt Harris landed enormous bombs that left Overeem bleeding from his lip and just above his left eye as he looked to end the scrap in the early going. But after getting a little ahead of himself, Overeem flipped the script and took Harris down to the canvas and controlled the last few minutes of the round.
JUDGES ROASTED FOR BUNGLED CARDS
Three of the four fights on the main card have left fans watching on in utter disbelief. Marlon Vera kicked off the main card with a solid scrap against Song Yadong and fans believed he had done enough to claim the win, but the judges awarded Yadong the unanimous decision victory.
Vera wasn’t happy with the result and cursed loudly after all three cards were announced before refusing to shake his opponents hand.
Then Dan Ige was awarded a split decision win against Edson Barboza, the man many believed had done all of the heavy lifting throughout the fight to earn the win.
In the co-main event Angela Hill was the victor in the eyes of many, but the judges again went the other way and awarded the split decision victory to Claudia Gadelha. Fans were quick to turn the heat up on the judges.
‘BLOOD BATH’ LEAVES FANS STUNNED
Darren “The Damage” Elkins equalled the record for most fights in the UFC with his 22nd bout, but it was Nate “The Train” Landwehr who spoiled the party.
The two men went the distance in what ended up being a blood bath of a bout with Elkins split underneath his left eye, but it was a cut in his forehead that leaked like a faucet throughout the fight.
Despite blood continually streaming down his face, Elkins never took a backward step as both men traded ruthless blow after blow.
Elkins was split open by a perfectly placed elbow from Landwehr and in the end he walked out with the unanimous decision victory.
“He’s absolutely covered in blood,” Michael Bisping said in commentary.
“He keeps landing shots through the blood mask,” another added.
The look of Elkins’ blood covered face left fight fans watching on in disbelief with the canvas turning red as the fight went on.
STAR’S RETURN FROM UNSPEAKABLE TRAGEDY
Harris’ world was turned upside down in late 2019 when his daughter, Aniah Blanchard, went missing in Alabama before her remains were found a month later.
Now the heavyweight star is set for his return to the Octagon after going through dark times following the shock murder of his daughter.
“I went through a dark, dark period as you know,” Harris told reporters.
“You could probably already imagine. I felt myself slipping in the opposite direction of what I set out to be as a man and as a father.”
Harris admitted he wanted to jump the railing and attack his daughter’s killer as he sat in the courtroom during the trial.
“I want to kill him. I’m going to be honest. It took everything I had in me not to jump over that banister,” Harris said in an upcoming documentary on his road to recovery.
“It’s not about me. It’s about my daughter and getting justice for my daughter. And anything remotely that deters that, I don’t want.”
UFC FIGHT NIGHT JACKSONVILLE
Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris
Claudia Gadelha defeated Angela Hill via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Dan Ige def. Edson Barboza via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Krzysztof Jotko def. Eryk Anders via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Song Yadong defeated Marlon Vera via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Miguel Baeza defeated Matt Brown via KO, 0:18 of round 2
Kevin Holland defeated Anthony Hernandez via TKO, 0:39 of round 1
Giga Chikadze defeated Irwin Rivera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 x2)
Cortney Casey defeated Mara Romero via submission (armbar), 3:36 of round 1
Nate Landwehr def. Darren Elkins via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)
Rodrigo Nascimento defeated Don’Tale Mayes via submission (rear naked choke), 2:05 of round 2