One of the most interesting and likely entertaining fights of the entire night at UFC 254 from Fight Island could be Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris.
Some heavyweight BANGERS 💥
Which are you looking forward to more at #UFC254?
— UFC (@ufc) October 20, 2020
The Russian striker towers over most of the UFC’s Heavyweight Division but Walt Harris is 6’5″ tall with a 77-inch reach.
The Big Ticket truly lives up to his nickname.
I’m sure most all of you have heard the story of Walt Harris and his daughter, Aniah Blanchard, who, at the age of just 19 was abducted. After 2 months of searching, her remains were found and her death was ruled a murder.
Less than 6 months later, Walt Harris had to step inside of the octagon and fight the formidable Alistair Overeem.
The Alabama native gave it everything he had and he almost finished the Dutch mixed martial arts legend but after the Reem barely survived being finished with punches in the first round, Walt had nothing left in his gas tank.
My gut tells me that he went home after the fight with Overeem and was potentially overwhelmed by emotions.
Maybe overwhelmed is not the best word but what I’m trying to say is that Walt Harris never had the extended time that he needed to mourn the death of his daughter, Aniah Blanchard.
They searched for her for 2 years and forced themselves to be positive.
Then, after they found out that she was murdered, Walt Harris only had one month and then he had to start training camp for a fight against one of the greatest heavyweight mixed martial artists and kickboxers of all time.
Maybe if he had one and then his next fight was just two months later, I think Walt Harris could have fought off that deep debilitating type of depression.
It’s been 5 months, though, and Walt trains at a small gym back home in Alabama.
Normally I would want a fighter that I’m potentially betting on to train at a big gym or at least with some of the best coaches in the world around him but Walt just doesn’t have that where he is in Alabama.
I like the family atmosphere type of gym for his particular situation.
The man is an incredible athlete. He fights in spurts though and he is dangerous but I think his opponent on Saturday night, Alexander Volkov, more often than not will be able to survive against Walt.
If Harris wins, it will most likely be by knockout and the potential for that is…
Let’s take a look at the measurables for these two behemoths.
|Alexander Volkov||Walt Harris|
|Fight Record: 31-8||Fight Record: 13-8|
|Age: 32||Age: 37|
|Height: 6’7”||Height: 6’5”|
|Reach: 80”||Reach: 77”|
|From: Moscow, Russia||From: Homewood, Alabama, USA|
|Fight Camp: Strela Fight Team in Russia||Fight Camp: Spartan Fitness in Birmingham, Alabama|
We have to note the difference in height and reach here.
It’s not massive but it is a few inches. That’s also a couple of inches in height as well for the Russian.
Alexander Volkov is used to having a reach advantage, though.
Walt Harris is also used to having a reach advantage but it’s not like he particularly fights like that.
It’s not usually his choice to keep his range, stay on the outside, and pick his opponents apart from there.
I know they are heavyweights but Walt Harris has never had the best gas tank.
He is a former football player and we are all familiar with that sport and how short their bursts are compared to an MMA round of 5 minutes.
I’ll stop there with all the talk about who are the better athletes because the best athletes born pure athletes are football players because they make the most money, the sport has been around much longer, and they make much more money.
If you’re talking about which athletes are the best overall as far as attributes matching endurance with strength or speed with size, mixed martial artists are better athletes.
The next time you have that discussion with your friends or co-workers, you have to ask them what their definition of an athlete is before you get too deep into it.
He can surely get caught, though, by Walt Harris.
Walt Harris can really move when he wants to.
People are trying to compare the Derrick Lewis fight Volkov had with his upcoming match up against Walt Harris and they are not the same fighter.
Yes, they both fight in spurts.
Each man punches incredibly hard.
Both guys have questionable takedown defense.
it’s the movement of each man that sets them apart from each other.
Alexander Volkov, even though he lost his fight to Derrick Lewis, was controlling that contest the entire time until he fell asleep in the last few seconds and, well, he fell asleep again.
Said the c-word.
Sorry, Uncle Dana!
You don’t really hear the word concussion mentioned very often on a UFC broadcast.
I never noticed this but a friend of mine who isn’t a fight fan or at least he wasn’t until I made him one but he noticed that they never said concussion.
They would say knockout KO or use some other kind of terms like flatlined or something but never concussion.
Hey, I get it.
It’s bad for business.
Alexander Volkov only other loss inside of the Octagon came against Curtis Blaydes who just wrestled him to death.
Walt Harris is not a wrestler and I do not see him taking down Alexander Volkov at all.
He is going to go out there and try to knock his head off.
The first round will be a very scary round for Volkoff and from there, he will most likely have to worry about the spurts.
Technically, the key for the Russian is to lower his level.
Even though he isn’t likely to face a level change/takedown attempt from his opponent, I really like the idea of Volkov bending his knees so that he does not leave a gap between his shoulder and his chin when he throws his jab.
I am well aware that Alexander Volkov knows his stuff.
He is a great striker.
And he is definitely familiar with punching down towards opponents.
If he stands tall, though, because he isn’t worried about a takedown attempt from Harris then I do believe Walt will find his chin at some point.
I don’t know.
I do favor Alexander Volkov in this fight.
Let’s see what the boys over at BetOnline.AG think about this one.
I had the Russian capped at about (-200).
I like what I see here with the betting odds on the favorite from Moscow.
If you are a small underdog, I would like you to have potentially two paths to victory like maybe he could get a couple of takedowns but I just don’t see it against Volkov, especially with him coming off of his fight against a tremendous wrestler in Curtis Blaydes.
I think his takedown defense got much much better during his fight camp in preparation for Curtis, and I also believe that he leveled up in that skillset from that 5-round fight with Blaydes.
Conor McGregor was dominated in the grappling exchanges against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Cowboy Cerrone, who has a very underrated double leg takedown, was light years behind the Irishman in the wrestling department in their fight this past January, just 73 years ago.
Turns out, losing can make you much better.
We are getting about a 6% Edge on the sportsbooks here with this play on Volkov at (-150).
I think he gets it done two out of every three times against the Big Ticket if not 7 out of 10.
Walt Harris is definitely a live dog in this fight but he isn’t live enough for just a (+120) payout.
He is the bigger man, the more technical striker, and we have reason to believe that it is likely that the Russian is in a better state of mind than his American Challenger.
Just so you guys know, I would have Volkov at (-200) or better whether or not I thought Walt Harris was coming into this fight very depressed or on top of the world.
I have Alexander as the better kicker, the better puncher, and the smarter fighter.
The big-ticket is as dangerous as any heavyweight on the planet. He has one-punch knockout power with the speed of a 205 pounder.
Emotions are a part of the game for MMA fighters but as handicappers we have to shut that stuff down.
Fandom is no more.
We have fighters that we fade and we have fighters in which we are riding their momentum.
Okay, maybe you can still be a fan but you better not be throwing serious money down on your favorite fighter.
Heck, bet against him or her and you are guaranteed to win either way.
As far as the movement of this betting line, I believe it is on the move towards the (-200) number we were talking about earlier.
So, you know what that means.
Bet now or forever hold your horses.