Four years after his final UFC appearance, Josh Burkman (24-9) improved to 6-1 in his past seven fights with an impressive decision win over Gerald Harris (21-5).
Burkman peppered the lead leg in the early going with several low kicks. When they y worked into the clinch, it was Burkman who defended Harris' takedown before scoring one of his own and driving several knees in to the body. Harris eventually escaped and narrowly missed a powerful knee, but it was Burkman who continued to outwork him on the outside by being first to strike.
Burkman continued to be the quicker fighter in the second round, and he landed several leaping right hands in the early going before driving in for a takedown attempt and finding himself locked in a guillotine choke. Harris held the hold for several minutes, but Burkman signaled repeatedly that he was not in any danger. Referee Chris Tognoni watched closely the entire time, and Burkman finally pulled his head free with 30 seconds remaining.
Both fighters came out energized in the third. Harris controlled the center of the cage in the early going and fired several power shots while Burman looked to use movement and angles to his advantage. The fight remained tight in the closing minute when Burkman scored a trip and moved into mount. Harris bucked in the final seconds, and Burkman took his back, but the bell sounded before he could capitalize. Still, the late surge was enough to secure Burkman the contest.
Burkman has now dropped just one fight since his 2008 release from the UFC. Meanwhile, Harris sees a four-fight win streak snapped with the result.