Alistair Overeem, a former heavyweight title challenger, is set to face Walt Harris in the main event of “UFC Fight Night on ESPN” Dec. 7 at Capital One Arena, the mixed martial arts company announced Wednesday afternoon.
The scheduled five-rounder serves as the featured match on a card comprising five bouts to date as part of the UFC’s second card in the nation’s capital in its 25-year history.
The other match revealed Wednesday will pits Cortney Casey against Virna Jandiroba in a women’s strawweight showdown.
Matches announced previously were heavyweights Stefan Struve coming out of retirement to fight Ben Rothwell; Claudia Gadelha meeting Cynthia Calvillo in a women’s strawweight bout; and female bantamweight Aspen Ladd taking on Yana Kunitskaya.
Overeem, ranked seventh in the division and with a 45-17 career record in mixed martial arts, is among the most accomplished heavyweights not to have won a UFC title. Before joining UFC in 2011, Overeem, 39, won championships in MMA companies Strikeforce and DREAM as well a K-1 kickboxing crown.
His championship match in 2016 against Stipe Miocic, the top-ranked heavyweight, ended when Overeem was knocked out late in the first round of UFC 203. Overeem since has won four of his last six fights, including consecutive technical knockouts of Sergei Pavlovich and Aleksei Oleinik
Harris (13-7, one no contest) also is coming off a knockout of Oleinik, needing just 12 seconds into the first round when they met in July in UFC San Antonio.
Ranked 11th in the division, Harris, 36, has won three of his last four fights, with a no contest against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 232 stemming from the use of a tainted supplement for which he received a USADA sanction.
UFC has showcased more than 480 events worldwide but only one in the District, when in October 2011 an announced crowd of 9,380 witnessed Dominick Cruz beat Demetrious Johnson in the main event at Verizon Center.
The sport’s preeminent company also has made three appearances in Northern Virginia, most recently in 2015 at George Mason’s EagleBank Arena.