MFC 37: Luke Harris Expecting “Exciting Fight” With Jason Zentgraf, Hoping to “Meet Again” With TUF Vet Joseph Henle
By Kelsey Mowatt
Around this time last year, Luke Harris demonstrated once again why “UFC bound” talk continued to surround the veteran middleweight, by quickly tapping out former Octagon competitor Edwin Dewees. The victory took place at the Maximum Fighting Championship’s 33rd event, and extended the undefeated streak of Harris to ten.
A couple of months later at MFC 34, however, Harris was stopped by “Ultimate Fighter” vet Joseph Henle, and the decorated grappler’s run to a MFC title shot was violently derailed.
“Absolutely; that happens with any fight; win, lose or draw. You’re always going to look to improve on what you did during the fight,” Harris said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing the loss to Henle. “But at the same time, a fight’s a fight, anything can happen and I simply got caught. I made a bit of mistake and got caught.”
“That’s fighting; that’s the exciting part of fighting too right? the 35 year-old Harris furthered. “If it was predicted and you knew exactly what was going to happen every time it wouldn’t be an exciting sport would it?”
The loss was the first Harris had incurred since August, 2007, when he was stopped by Brad Zazulak at MFC 13, which was also the Hayabusa fighter’s pro debut.
“Yeah; I’m sure,” said Harris (9-2), when asked if his first pro loss helped him deal with the recent defeat, even though it occurred at a pivotal time in his career. “I hope Henle and I meet again. I don’t think the fight would go that way if we met again. There was some things leading up to that fight within the camp, and during the fight that didn’t go as planned.”
“Haven’t that experience, possibly losing an earlier fight prepares you for that,” added Harris, who is a black belt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “Also having a competitive background; I’ve been doing Judo and Jiu-Jitsu for a long time, and you don’t win every single match, so it’s not like MMA where you go on these long win streaks and you’re undefeated. That prepares you for it as well.”
This Friday, at MFC 37 in Edmonton, Alberta, Harris will look to get back on track against rising middleweight Jason Zentgraf. The Montana fighter has won four straight bouts and has scored wins over Cody Krahn and most recently Clay Davidson under the MFC banner.
“I think this will be his third fight in the MFC and we’re both middleweight fighters so of course I keep an eye on the rest of these guys,” Harris said about Zentgraf. “We have a great spot on the card and it’s going to be an exciting fight. I can’t wait for May 10th.”
The only man to defeat Zentgraf in eight pro bouts is UFC vet Mario Miranda, and all seven of the American’s wins to date have come via submission.
“I wouldn’t say anything overly concerns me,” the St. Albert fighter said while discussing the skill set of Zentgraf, who Harris also referred to as a “big strong guy”. “He’s got wins by submission, and I’m a guy who’s pretty submission savvy, and he’s got a Muay Thai background as well…I don’t really know exactly what to expect but I’ve seen his fights and formulated a game plan; I’m not going to give away too much.”
It’s an interesting time in the MFC middleweight division, due to the fact that the last man to hold the division’s belt, Elvis Mutapcic, recently signed with the World Series of Fighting.
“I think that’s what the MFC is saying; whoever wins this gets a title shot,” Harris said. “Pretty exciting and it’s a great time to be in the MFC. There’s definitely a lot of opportunities.”
MFC 37 “True Grit” will be hosted by the Edmonton Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton and will be broadcast live on AXS TV. The card will be headlined by a bout between Smealinho Rama and Chris Barnett to determine the promotion’s heavyweight champion.