UFC on ESPN 8 is the third UFC event in a week, and this UFC fight card doesn’t have the name value that the first two events had. However, there are still some fights worth checking out. It is sure to be an emotional main event as Walt Harris returns to the Octagon for the first time since the tragic death of his 19-year-old daughter. Harris will take on Alistair Overeem in a heavyweight tilt that supposed to take place in November, but has been postponed twice due to Harris’ situation, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Prelims: 6:00 PM ET (ESPN+)
- Main Card: 9:00 PM ET (ESPN+)
You can watch the prelims on both ESPN and ESPN+ on Saturday, starting at 6:00 PM ET. The main card will start at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN. This event will be held in Jacksonville, Florida at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Alistair Overeem (+135) vs. Walt Harris (-165) – Heavyweight
Harris (13-7, 1 NC) has won three of his last four, all by TKO or KO, and he also had a split-decision win over Andrei Arlovski turned into a no-contest because of a failed drug test that came from a tainted supplement. Overeem (45-18, 1 NC) is coming off a knockout loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in December. Harris hasn’t been in action since July, so you have to factor in ring rust, even though it has been less than a year.
Harris has garnered all 13 of his wins by knockout, which doesn’t bode well for Overeem, who has lost by knockout 14 times. Overeem has shown much more willingness to use his wrestling to control fights recently. He also has a ton of experience and has won belts in DREAM and Strikeforce, as well as in kickboxing and submission grappling. Harris should look to keep this fight standing and try to land a power shot on Overeem, who doesn’t have the best chin in MMA history, but he is still a world-class kickboxer. Harris is the MMA betting favorite in this match, but he is also the sentimental favorite because of the circumstances surrounding his daughter’s death.
Claudia Gadelha (-205) vs. Angela Hill (+165) – Women’s Strawweight
Gadelha (17-4) defeated Randa Markos by unanimous decision in July, while Hill (12-7) has won three in a row after beating Loma Lookboonmee by unanimous decision in February. Gadelha is sixth in the UFC rankings for the women’s strawweight division and a decisive win could vault her into title contention, and Hill is looking to break into the rankings with a win.
This is a battle of style vs. style as Gadelha is a second-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist with seven submission wins, so she is going to want to take this fight to the mat. Gadelha has also never been stopped in a fight. Hill has won five times by knockout and lost twice by submission, so her takedown defense will be tested greatly by Gadelha, who fought in the UFC’s first strawweight fight. She lost to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a title fight in December 2014 (she has actually lost twice to Jedrzejczyk). Gadelha would love nothing more than another crack at the belt, but Hill stands in her way.
Matt Brown (+170) vs. Miguel Baeza (-210) – Welterweight
Brown (22-16), who has long been a fan favorite in the UFC because of his all-action style, scored a second-round KO of Ben Saunders in December in his first fight in two years because of a knee injury. Baeza (8-0) defeated Hector Aldana by TKO in October in his UFC debut after competing on Dana White’s Contender Series.
This fight, which is the final fight of the prelims, could end up being the most exciting on the entire fight card. Brown is near the end of his career and is going to come out swinging, and that is dangerous against Baeza, who put Aldana away with a series of leg kicks. Baeza needs to make this fight a little more technical than Brown would like it to be. However, with Brown’s knockout power, he is a dangerous sports betting underdog in this 170-pound clash.