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Carlston Harris: Guyana’s Mixed Martial Arts Hope in the UFC

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Carlston Harris: Guyanaâs Mixed Martial Arts Hope in the UFC
Carlston Harris
UFC

MANILA, Philippines — What Manny Pacquiao did for the Philippines, mixed martial arts fighter Carlston Harris is doing for his small country of Guyana. 

Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America, furthermore, it is the only nation where football is not the national sport. It is cricket. 

And yet, Harris, like Pacquiao, has seen his success as a mixed martial arts fighter inspire many a Guyanese youth. 

“After my countrymen saw me fight in the UFC, they made an amateur federation to participate in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation,” bared a proud Harris who totes a 17-4-0; 2-0 in the UFC. “I was told I was their inspiration.”

“Now, I played some cricket in my youth, but when I discovered MMA, I knew this was my sport.”

Today, the country of under a million people, one country with one of the smallest populations in the world, has been competing in events of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation. 

However, if Carlston has any affinity for the Filipino, it is with Team Lakay; that world famous mixed martial arts team based in Benguet. 

Harris once fought in the Brave Combat Federation along Team Lakay warrior Crisanto Pitpitunge in 2018 and counts the latter’s stable mate, Jeremy Pacatiw as a friend.

“We also met in Brazil and that is where we became friends,” related Harris who moved to the huge and populous South American nation at the age of 19 to work. 

“MMA was a hobby while I worked as a mechanic,” he admitted. But as Harris got better at the combat sport, he decided to take the plunge. He found immediate success in the alphabet soup league of Brazilian mixed martial arts organizations. 

From South America to the Middle East fighting in U.A.E. Warriors, he finally landed on the radar of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

“It was a dream come true to fight in the UFC. BJ Penn inspired me to take up MMA,” recounted the 34-year old fighter. 

After going 2-0 in the UFC, Harris will be in the main card of UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Strickland. He will be up against 14-0-0 Shavkat Rakhmonov who is seven years his junior. 

The Kazakh fighter is adept at eight the ground or striking game; just like Harris.

“He is a well-rounded fighter,” Carlston said of his opponent. “As a fighter, we always have to face the best. We both have two wins in the UFC and we will go to war on Sunday. And I will be mentally ready for this challenge.”

UFC Fight Night will be this Sunday, February 6, Manila time, and can be viewed on Premier Sports on Skycable and Cignal as well as the TapGo application. 

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