CARLSTON Harris, Guyana’s first UFC fighter, will return to the Octagon today at another UFC Fight Night against Impa Kasanganay.
The two will square off in a welterweight bout at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the preliminary card which will get underway at 16:00hrs Guyana time.
Yesterday Harris tipped the scale at 170lbs.
Harris, 33, with 16 MMA wins and four losses, is fighting for just the second time in the UFC after picking up a first-round Anaconda Choke Submission victory over American Christian Aguilera.
Kasanganay, 27, has an MMA record of 9-1, and two wins and a defeat from three UFC contests.
“I don’t have any pressure; I take it one step at a time. One fight at a time. It’s just another fight. I get in there and do what I train in the gym,” Harris told UFC.com during his fight week interview ahead of UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Spann.
According to the Berbician, “My plan when I get in the cage is always to not leave it up to the judges.”
Riding a four-fight winning streak, all of which have come by way of finish, “Mozambique” as he also known, said he’s looking to build on the momentum he’s built in the four months since making the walk to the Octagon for the first time.
“I utilised [the wins] as motivation and tried to get better every day, because I know there are going to be a lot of guys watching me, so the lions are there,” the Rio de Janeiro resident said. “They’re hungry and want a piece of me, so I try to get better in all areas.”
Since submerging himself in the depths of the UFC’s welterweight division, Harris explained that his training has been elevated in a number of ways, but especially by the athletes he shares his gym with.
“Every day in the gym they’re coming at me hard. I’m feeling the training, feeling it get harder every day. I know that with hard training in the gym you will feel more confident when you get into the cage.”
While it’s something he’s never really lacked, confidence will be key for Harris heading into this Saturday’s matchup against former middleweight Impa Kasanganay, who is also making a sophomore showing in the welterweight division.
While Kasanganay has more Octagon time than Harris, the Guyanese has twice as many professional fights with wins over names from the UFC roster such as Wellington Turman and Michel Pereira — experience he believes will make the difference.
“It’s great experience because it shows you both sides of fighting. It shows you victorious and in loss. It shows you how you might deal with loss, because it’s not easy to deal with. People get frustrated when they lose,” Harris said.