“The Big Ticket” is getting something of a thank you for stepping up on short notice against Fabricio Werdum last week. Originally scheduled to face Mark Godbeer at UFC 216 on the preliminary card, Walt Harris jumped at the chance to face former champ Werdum on just a few hours’ notice when Derrick Lewis was forced off the card due to back problems.
That left Godbeer without a dance partner, and he was dropped from the card. Harris (10–6), meanwhile, lasted little more than a minute against BJJ expert Werdum, whose submission game is one of the best in heavyweight history. The former UFC heavyweight champ took Harris to the ground and had him in an arm-bar before you could blink — but Harris proved if nothing else, he’s a game fighter who will take on anyone.
As a result, he’s been added to the year’s biggest card in New York City, against original opponent Godbeer. MMA Junkie first reported the news. Harris vs. Godbeer will be featured on the televised preliminary card on Fox Sports 1 (Fight Network in Canada).
That will be the second payday in a month’s time for Harris, who had been on a two-fight win streak prior to the Werdum loss. Godbeer (12–3), meanwhile, is coming off a win over Daniel Spitz at UFC 209.
UFC 217 takes place at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 4. Georges St. Pierre returns from a four year hiatus to face middleweight champ Michael Bisping in the main event. Also on the card, Joanna Jedrzejczyk faces Rose Namajunas with the women’s strawweight title on the line, and Cody Garbrandt defends his bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw.