Phil Harris will attempt to banish the ‘UFC jitters’ as he returns to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) next month.
The Portsmouth-based fighter went down to a disappointing defeat to Darren Uyenoyama on his UFC debut in Minneapolis, USA, back in October last year.
But now Harris has the chance for redemption when he faces American Ulysses Gomez at what will be a packed Wembley Arena on February 16, as part of the preliminary card for the much-anticipated Renan Barao v Michael McDonald match-up.
Tickets are still available for the match-up at ufc.com. And the 29-year-old Harris believes any nerves he felt in his previous UFC appearance will no longer hinder his chances of success.
Harris said: ‘This time I won’t have the dreaded UFC jitters so you will see a great fight.
‘I will be coming forward and looking to end the fight with a knockout. My prediction is that I will win. I’m not sure how but I would love a big knockout.’
The flyweight, who fights out of Gym 01 in Portsmouth, will be bidding to extend his number of victories in the professional ranks to 22, with 10 losses and one no contest also on his record after his clash with Michal Hamrsmid had to be abandoned because of a faulty cage.
Gomez, who is based in Los Angeles, California, has just 12 professional fights to his name, but he does have an impressive record of nine wins and only three defeats that marks him out as a capable fighter.
While Harris has seen his opponent only on DVD, he is prepared for what is coming his way.
‘I’ve seen some footage of Gomez. He’s a good all-rounder with good boxing and submissions,’ said Harris.
‘There is nothing in particular I need to watch out for because he’s dangerous everywhere. At this level, you’ve got to watch out for everything.’
At least Harris will have more home support this time around as he faces the American on British soil.
His previous three fights were overseas – in USA, Dubai and Ukraine – and the Gym 01 fighter is looking forward to the increased support.
He said: ‘Fighting in London, compared with America, will be a lot better. I won’t have to adjust to the time difference and having the home crowd support will be great.’
Meanwhile, fellow Portsmouth fighter James Brum continued his impressive recent run with a fifth straight victory in a New Year’s Eve event – Cage Warriors 51 – in Dublin.
The bantamweight beat Moktar Benkaci by judges’ decision, after a bloody battle left him with a bad cut to his head.
But the result was all the more impressive after Brum’s training camp was disrupted by an eye infection which ruled him out of training for two weeks.
It also made him lose a staggering 8.3kg in weight in 23 hours before the fight, which understandably affected his energy levels.
But Brum, who was recently named Cage Warriors fighter of the year for 2012 – still claimed the victory.
Portsmouth will host the popular Shock ‘N’ Awe fight night on Saturday, March 9 at the Mountbatten Centre.
For tickets or information, telephone 0844 8700 887 or (023) 9217 7323.