Heavyweight contender Walt Harris will fight tonight for the first time since the tragic death of his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard. ‘The Big Ticket’ is set to face heavyweight legend Alistair Overeem in the main event at UFC on ESPN 8 which will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

Harris is coming into the fight on a two-fight win streak and hasn’t had a legitimate loss since falling short against Fabricio Werdum in October 2017. His latest win came in a spectacular 12-second knockout of Aleksei Oleinik who coincidentally beat the former heavyweight champion Werdum at UFC 249 last week.  

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Since his win over the Russian submission specialist Harris and his family have endured the worst tragedy anyone could imagine. His stepdaughter Aniah went missing and after a long search, her remains were found and identified on November 27, 2019. The autopsy revealed the 19-year-old had died from a single gunshot wound. Ibraheem Yazeed has since been arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder if convicted he faces the death penalty.

Walt Harris Will Fight For Aniah At UFC on EPSN 8

Speaking to TMZ Sports ahead of his fight against Overeem, Harris talked about his return to fighting and how he plans to make his stepdaughter proud with his performance tonight.

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“I love her so much, and I’m going to make her proud,” Harris said. “There will probably be some tears shed, I’ll go ahead and let ya’ll know right now.”

“It’s proof that you can go through the worst thing you can possibly think of in your life, and bounce back,” Harris said. “I’m so grateful to the UFC, and to the fans, and everybody who’s supported me through all of this. And, that’s kinda been my motivation, that’s why I want to go in there and put a show on for them Saturday night and say thank you.”

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“I’m at peace, man. I love her so much, and I’m going to make her proud Saturday night.”

Everyone at LowKickMMA continues to send our condolences to Walt Harris and his family at this time.

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.