Saturday, January 12th, American middleweight prospect Chris Harris will be in action in Oklahoma, where he will be looking to build on his most recent win. He will be competing against Marcelo Alfaya in the main event, as Harris looks to inch back closer to a UFC contract. Harris represents the JMTK gym, a camp in the Kansas that is an affiliate of Saekson’s Muay Thai. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Striking: Chris Harris comes from a striking background, as seen by his choice of gym. Like most of the fighters that train with the Saekson’s Muay Thai crew and affiliates, Harris is a technical artist on the feet. He throws very heavy kicks to both the legs and body, which he can use to set up with the head kick when opponents react by dropping their hands. He also gauges distance well and tags opponents with a very sharp jab. Not only is he strong offensively, he had good defensive striking. He can counter strike, moves well on the outside and does well with his head movement. Overall, he likes to keep things on the feet, though he’s been known to get on top when fighting on the mat.
Strength: When you look at Harris physically, he’s a specimen. He’s very heavily muscled; it should come as no surprise that he can often ragdoll guys, especially in close quarters where he can control the clinch. When he’s not tired, he’s also hard to get down. He has tree trunks for legs and uses brute force to hold off guys looking to wrestle him to the mat. He has knockout power, too. If Harris catches you flush, you are going to be hurt and he will swarm you until the ref pulls him off.
Cardio: The downside of Harris being as heavily muscled as he is, is that his cardio can come into question in fights. Big muscles require more oxygen, so big beach-bodied guys like Harris can slow down more quickly. When that happens, he loses power as the fight carries on. That makes his striking less dangerous and his takedown defense more porous. If you watch the episode of Dana White: Looking for a Fight that he fights on, he dominates early before he slows down due to fatigue. He won the bout due to a doctor stoppage, but things looked to be turning on him as he grew tired.
Falls to Best Opponents: Harris has stepped up his competition in recent times, which has led him to go 3-3 in his last six fights. His three most credible opponents handed Harris his only three losses, falling to current UFC roster member Chance Recountre, current LFA Champion Brendan Allen and top Bellator prospect Jordan Young. He has scored some important wins in his career, but as he’s stepped up in competition, he has failed to prove he can consistently deliver the way a guy in the UFC should.
Late replacement UFC fighter/career Bellator preliminary carder: One thing Harris has going for him is that the UFC will be coming to Wichita, Kansas (where he trains) in April. That means if a fighter drops out of a middleweight bout or they want a local guy on the undercard, Harris could get his shot. Otherwise, Harris could just be a guy that Bellator hires when they come to Oklahoma or Kansas to fight on their prelims. He will continue to headline regional cards in the meanwhile. He needs a keynote win, though, if he ever wants to get the UFC’s attention.