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Carlston Harris of Guyana reacts after his submission victory over Jeremiah Wells in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Bridgestone Arena on August 05, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Carlston Harris: ‘It’s Going To Be A War’

Welterweight Carlston Harris Is Ready For His Breakout Moment In The Co-Main Event At UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy

The welterweight division is as saturated with talented and dangerous fighters on the periphery of the Top 15 as any in the UFC. So much so that fighters with quality track records can fly under the radar much longer despite putting in good shifts each time they walk to the Octagon. Carlston Harris, fairly or unfairly, is one of those fighters. The UFC’s first Guyanese fighter, Harris proudly represents his country, as well as Brazil, where he has lived and trained since the late-2000s. Since joining the roster in May 2021, Harris has racked up a 4-1 record, with wins over Impa Kasanganay, Jared Gooden and Jeremiah Wells to his name. His lone loss came to Shavkat Rakhmonov, which isn’t really a result to hang one’s head about considering Rakhmonov’s own resume. 

Harris’ most recent outing, the submission win over Wells in August 2023, was perhaps his most impressive. The explosive Wells led the dance for much for the first two rounds of their bout in Nashville, including a deep submission attempt in the first frame. 

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Harris stayed locked in and resilient, however, and when Wells dove in for another takedown along the fence, Harris snuck his arms around Wells’ neck and shoulders to sink in an anaconda choke that put Wells out. It was the second time Harris hit that particular submission in the Octagon, the first coming against Christian Aguilera in his debut. Both times, his opponent went to sleep, and both times, Harris earned a performance bonus. 

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The win meant a little more for Harris, who became a father ahead of that fight. That same daughter turned a year old earlier this calendar year, and fatherhood clearly inspires Harris. 

Carlston Harris Completes Stunning Comeback vs Wells | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Font
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Carlston Harris Completes Stunning Comeback vs Wells | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Font
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Another inspiration is his circumstances. At UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy, “Moçambique” competes in the co-main event opposite Khaos Williams, a spotlight slot right before Brazilian legend Edson Barboza makes another walk. 

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“It's an honor being in the co-main event, fighting in the same card as Edson Barboza,” Harris told UFC.com. “He is a showman, he is a knockout artist. He has the biggest highlights in the UFC.”

The 36-year-old Harris has a perfect dance partner to set himself up for another bonus-worthy outing, as Williams has garnered a reputation for technical brawls throughout his time in the Octagon. Harris likely holds the advantage in the grappling realm, but his M.O. is to stand and trade until afforded the option otherwise. 

Carlston Harris of Guyana punches Impa Kasanganay in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Carlston Harris of Guyana punches Impa Kasanganay in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Against a man named Khaos, that’s a dangerous game to play, but Harris doesn’t blink at the notion. 

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“I think my opponent is explosive,” Harris said. “He goes forward, but I don't back down (either).”

The most fitting thing Harris could do ahead of a Barboza bout is to partake in a bout worthy of a Fight of the Night honor. Barboza is tied with Dustin Poirier for nine such bonuses, going 7-2 in those affairs. Harris, to his credit, has done the requisite work to walk away with an extra $50k on his own without going in a back-and-forth affair, but if there’s a dance partner fit for the task, Harris has one. 

Carlston Harris reacts after his submission victory over Christian Aguilera in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Carlston Harris reacts after his submission victory over Christian Aguilera in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

What’s most important to Harris is getting the win, however. He has more than himself to fight for these days, and he also has little time to waste if he wants to climb the welterweight rankings. It’s statement-making time for Harris, and that’s exactly what he plans to do on May 18. 

“It's gonna be a war,” Harris said. “I know he is a brawler, and I have some surprises for him. You can expect a lot of action, but I'm sure I'm gonna win.”
 

Order UFC 302: Makhachev vs Poirier

UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 18, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!