Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a heavyweight clash between Walt Harris and Chase Sherman at UFC Fight Night 103. Walt Harris (Record: 8-5, -135 Favorite, Fighter Grade: D) A former college basketball player at Jacksonville State, Harris began competing in MMA in 2010. He’s had two stint in the UFC compiling a 1-4 record in the Octagon. He comes into his UFN 103 matchup off a split decision loss to Shamil Abdurakhimov. Harris’ MMA game revolves around athleticism. As a former college basketball player, footwork is key to his success as well as explosion into his striking. In addition to his athletic background, he’s also a two state Golden Gloves Champion which speaks to his striking prowess. The southpaw has a very good overhand left and is capable of finishing in spectacular fashion with all of his victories have come by knockout. He trains at a great camp with American Top Team. Harris’ striking output is not high as he averages 2.36 strikes per minute. His chin is a question mark with two knockouts in his career. With his athletic ability, endurance is not his strong suit. He tends to slow down in rounds two and three. Chase Sherman (Record: 9-2, +125 Underdog, Fighter Grade: F) A student of former UFC middleweight Alan Belcher, Chase Sherman is a former Division II college football player turned MMA fighter. All nine of his professional wins have come by knockout. In his UFC debut against Justin Ledet, Sherman lost by unanimous decision. It was the first time Sherman’s seen the scorecards in his career. As is becoming more of the norm in MMA is athletes turning to MMA. Sherman fits that bill having played Division II football at Delta State prior to starting a career in martial arts. Physically he’s built to be able to compete in this weight class at 6’4” and a 78 inch reach. He’s got a nice kicking game which is where he tends to do his best work. Despite his knockouts thus far in his career, he doesn’t have big knockout power for a UFC heavyweight. His experience is rather limited in terms of quality opposition. His striking defense is a real question mark as he’s very hittable on the feet. In particular, he tends to struggle against fighters striking from a southpaw stance. Matchup This should be a fast and explosive heavyweight bout. Of these fighters 17 shared wins, all of them have been by knockout and prior to the third round. While Sherman appears to be the fighter with the better chin, he’s facing perhaps the hardest hitting striker he’s ever competed against in his career. In addition to his power striking, Harris fighting out of the southpaw stance gives him a real advantage in this bout as Sherman has struggled to defend strikes from fighters out of that stance. I expect both fighters to be able to connect in this bout, but the power difference is the X factor in this fight. Look for Walt Harris to hurt Chase Sherman in the first round and score a first round finish. Given that Harris has only won by knockout in his career, that’s the best way to approach this fight. Harris by KO / TKO (+150) is the most likely result of this fight.
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