The UFC scored a major win with its signing of Kayla Harrison. The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist was thought to be an integral piece of PFL’s future after acquiring Bellator in November, with many hoping to see her face Cris Cyborg. Instead, Kayla Harrison will make her Octagon debut at UFC 300 against former bantamweight champion Holly Holm.
The timing couldn’t be any more appropriate for the UFC. Not only does it strip the PFL of a highly anticipated fight, assuming Kayla Harrison can make the bantamweight limit, but it also adds a much needed shot of adrenaline to a weight class struggling to fill the loss of the recently retired Amanda Nunes.
While a chance to defeat a well accomplished fighter like Holm let’s look ahead to other potential matchups for Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison vs. Raquel Pennington
Should Harrison get past Holm at UFC 300, it’s very likely that the two-time PFL lightweight tournament winner will get a shot at the bantamweight title.
As Pennington demonstrated this past weekend at UFC 297, her tenacity makes her a tough opponent for nearly anyone at 135 pounds. Much like she did that night against Mayra Bueno Silva, “Rocky” will want to survive any initial onslaught and attempt to stretch things out. As the clock winds down, the 24-fight veteran will want to drown Harrison.
Kayla Harrison vs. Julianna Pena
If we want to see Harrison in a drag out war against someone who has succeeded at the highest levels by recklessly charging forward, then we should have Julianna Pena on speed dial. Where Pennington can take damage early to slowly wear away at their opponent, at her best the “Venezuelan Vixen” will meet fire with fire and force a war of attrition.
That aversion to danger served her well in the historic upset of Nunes that made her a champion. Harrison would look to play matador to the bull and make use of her sixth-degree black belt in judo.
Kayla Harrison vs. Germaine De Randamie
When Germaine De Randamie faces Norma Dumont in April, it’ll have been nearly four years since she stepped into the Octagon. If the former featherweight champion shakes off the cobwebs, a future pairing with Harrison could happen.
The Dutch kickboxer would provide a throwback style vs. style matchup that could turn into a highlight reel moment for either fighter. Additionally, the “Iron Lady” stands as one of the UFC’s biggest bantamweight fighters and would be less likely to succumb to the former lightweight champion’s ability to bully her opposition.