What Walt Harris and his family has had to endure over the past year and a half is unthinkable, and quite obviously tragic. The murder of his step-daughter, Aniah Blanchard, and the ongoing effort to make her death mean something greater through Aniah’s Law is a story that is much bigger than mixed martial arts.
The tragedy also skews how one views Harris’ recent career efforts. Back-to-back losses to Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov feel more or less understandable given the situation. Against Overeem, especially, Harris looked good early, and was mere seconds away from having the feel-good win of 2020.
Putting that aside, however, Harris was in need of a win at UFC Vegas 28. The promotion would be unlikely to cut him even with a third straight loss, given the circumstances. But fighting is a “what have you done for me lately” sport, and the pressure was still on “The Big Ticket” as he took on the streaking Marcin Tybura in Saturday’s co-main event.
The heavyweight pair opened with a number of kicks, Harris putting Tybura on the backfoot. He went upstairs with a couple of high kicks, then moved in with the hands, bludgeoning Tybura as he covered up. The Polish fighter was in trouble, but weathered the storm. Harris, however, moved in for a second engagement before backing off, then rocking Tybura again. Out of sheer desperation, Tybura shot for a takedown, but Harris stayed standing. They’d re-engage at center, but Tybura did land a takedown there. Harris looked to explode out, only to give up his back. Tybura sunk his hooks in, and began unloading with punches. Harris covered up, but was eating too much damage. He wound up flattened out, under fire, and the ref had soon seen enough.
Once again, it was a strong start from Walt Harris only to see the advantage slip away. Tyrbua, meanwhile, earned his fifth straight win.
Official Result: Marcin Tybura def. Walt Harris by TKO, Round 1, 4:06