Kayla Harrison
Adds fight in December
FeatherweightPFL
November 21, 2018
Harrison will take on Moriel Charneski at PFL 11 in New York City on Dec. 31, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Harrison is coming off victories against Jozette Cotton and Brittney Elkin and is looking to secure her third win of this calendar year. Her bout versus Charneski will take place at 155 pounds, which is the same weight class that Harrison will be competing in during the $1 million PFL tournament held in 2019. In her most recent fight against Cotton in August, she won via TKO (punches) in the third round thanks to a persistent attack of ground strikes.
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Inks extension with PFL
FeatherweightPFL
September 19, 2018
Harrison has signed an exclusive deal with the Professional Fighters League and will compete in their female 155-pound division tournament in 2019, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Harrison is already off to an undefeated start to her MMA career, going 2-0 under the PFL banner with two stoppage victories. Many though she would eventually have to make the cut to featherweight (145 pounds), but the newly-created weight class will allow her to book several additional fights in the lightweight division, preventing a potentially tough weight cut. She'll soon face a step up in competition, however, as PFL will put a $1 million prize up for grabs for the winner of the lightweight tournament. Long-term, Harrison still is hopeful for a fight with UFC Women's Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg, who becomes a free agent following her December matchup against Amanda Nunes.
Picks up second MMA win
FeatherweightPFL
August 20, 2018
Harrison defeated Jozette Cotton via TKO (punches) at 1:24 of Round 3 Friday at PFL 6.
ANALYSIS
Harrison had an excellent opportunity to work on her standup in this one, but eventually leaned back on the core aspect of her MMA game -- the takedown. In each round, Harrison was able to get Cotton to the mat, where she rained down punishment via ground strikes. This matchup was significant because it was the lone time Harrison has fought outside of the first round in her brief, two-fight career. The 28-year-old will eventually be pinned against better competition, but the Professional Fighters League is playing it safe by bringing the developing fighter along slowly. They've also been providing Harrison with a manageable weight cut, allowing her to compete at lightweight (155 pounds). Should she ultimately move on to more well-known promotions, such as Bellator or the UFC, she will likely need to cut down to 145 pounds, as neither of those promotions offer a female lightweight weight class.
Set to fight again in August
FeatherweightPFL
July 30, 2018
Harrison will fight against Jozette Cotton at PFL 6 on Aug. 16, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Harrison recently made her MMA debut in a win over Brittney Elkin via first-round submission (arm bar) at PFL 2, and now she will take her follow-up performance to Atlantic City to face Jozette Cotton. Cotton has won her last two fights but has never fought for PFL before, making this what will likely be the highest-profile fight of her still-young career.
Dominant in PFL debut
FeatherweightPFL
June 22, 2018
Harrison defeated Brittney Elkin via submission (armbar) at 3:18 of Round 1in her MMA debut at PFL 2 on Thursday night in Chicago.
ANALYSIS
Harrison hardly looked like a relative novice to MMA in this one. Striking will be her biggest challenge as the former Olympic judoka transitions to a new sport, but she looked just fine in her brief time on the feet before getting this fight to the canvas. Harrison was able to gain mount and do some damage with ground-and-pound, but the most impressive part of the fight was the jiu-jitsu transition that got her into position to lock in the fight-ending armbar. No doubt she'll need a step up in competition next time out, as Harrison will only get better while training at American Top Team. Though her debut was at 155 pounds, most major promotions do not feature this class for females, so she'll eventually need to cut down to the featherweight division (145).
Olympic judoka schedules MMA debut
FeatherweightPFL
May 2, 2018
Harrison will make her MMA debut against Brittany Elkin at PFL 2 in Chicago on June 21, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Harrison announced that she would be transitioning to MMA last summer, and has since been training with American Top Team in Florida -- a well-known camp with many fighters on the UFC roster. A two-time Olympic judo gold medalist, the 27-year-old Harrison will look to transfer those skills to the cage. She'll make her debut at 155 pounds, which according to her team is closer to her walking around weight. Long-term, Harrison intends to cut down to the featherweight division (145 pounds).