UFC: Guyana’s Carlston Harris secures unanimous decision victory
Prior to UFC Las Vegas on Saturday, Carlston Harris had not fought in over a year, when he lost to Shavkat Rahkmonov.
At The Theater at Virgin Hotels, Harris stepped into the cage to kick off the card against Jared Gooden.
Gooden was making his return to the promotion, after being cut with a 1-3 UFC record. However, he then went 4-1 outside the UFC and earned the callback for this late notice opportunity.
Before being knocked out by Rahkmonov, Harris had won his first two UFC fights by first-round finish, and that success made him a favorite in the eyes of many going into the bout.
The fighters felt each other out early on in the first round. Gooden threw jabs and leg kicks which were somewhat effective but one leg kick was checked badly.
Harris was searching so much for the overhand right that he began to look wild and silly with it almost, but after that, he tightened up and landed on Gooden, who had his hands down all the time. Harris began to wobble Gooden somewhat with a few right hands in a row. Mechanically he was awkward, but he was still hitting Jared in the face.
In the pocket, Harris landed a big combination of hooks with two minutes left but Gooden ate it and kept going. With ninety seconds Harris shot a takedown and had his attempt stuffed easily. Still, he landed a big right hand once again moments later.
Gooden’s main output late in the round was just his jab, which landed at times but never with as much force as what Harris put out. Harris landed a big right elbow and then a straight right late in the round.
The last fifteen seconds consisted of dirty boxing and clinch elbows from Harris as he wore on Gooden, who survived to the bell.
Harris opened round two with a takedown attempt right away but Gooden stopped it and ended up pushed up against the fence in the clinch.
Harris looked to use his long limbs to trip Jared at first but then switched to a double leg and landed it cleanly. He ended up in full guard but immediately passed to side control. Harris was content to chill out in top half so he could land softer ground and pound.
He never risked posturing up to throw harder strikes, just slowly smacking the ribs and head. Gooden’s feet were able to lock down the foot that Harris had still stuck in the guard, keeping Harris from doing more effective work.
Eventually, Gooden started to come up on the single leg but Harris attacked a front choke. Gooden fought the hands but could not clear the front headlock position so he rolled into bottom-side control.
The round ended with Harris on top, having just passed to mount with one second left.
The final round started with Gooden clearly down on the scorecards. Harris once again came out with a takedown attempt and was again able to use it to get the front headlock, looking for a choke.
Gooden defended it but Harris swung around to the back and Gooden was too slow to stop him. Harris immediately got both hooks in.
Gooden turned into him but Harris rolled to stay in mount. He dropped elbows down on the skull of Jared Gooden, who scrambled to get to the fence. Harris transitioned to the back again but only got one hook in, so they ended up in the clinch.
Again Harris dropped down for a double leg and sat Gooden to his butt against the fence. Jared stood up and escaped momentarily but Harris threw a right hand which rocked him and level changed successfully once more.
Gooden eventually got up again but he appeared tired with one minute left and fell prey to another takedown. The fight ended with Harris still dominant, dropping down elbows on Jared Gooden.
The judges scorecards held no surprises as they unanimously had Carlston Harris the winner, with 30-27 scores. (UFC)
Official Result: Carlston Harris def. Jared Gooden by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)