Kayla Harrison had been waiting to fight for 11 months. On Friday night, she more than made up for lost time.
The undefeated Professional Fighters League lightweight champion destroyed Courtney King, winning via TKO (strikes) at 4 minutes, 48 seconds of the second round in the main event of Invicta FC 43 in Kansas City, Kansas.
In PFL, Harrison is not allowed by rule to use elbows. With the ability to land elbows Friday, she badly cut up the face of King in the first round. Harrison took King down in both rounds and crushed her with ground-and-pound, including elbows. In the first, there was so much blood on the canvas that the two fighters were slipping around.
"Elbows changed my life," Harrison said. "Holy cow, what have I been missing? Elbows are awesome. ... I was getting freaked out with how much blood there was."
With PFL not holding a season in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Harrison was granted the ability to compete for Invicta, an all-women's promotion. Harrison wore her red PFL uniform in the bout. She will return to PFL for its 2021 season in April, but Harrison said she'd like to fight one more time in Invicta before the PFL season begins.
"I love it here," Harrison said. "Women are so badass."
Harrison is a former two-time Olympic judo gold medalist, who once roomed with UFC legend Ronda Rousey. Harrison is thought to be one of the next big female stars in MMA.
This was also Harrison's debut at featherweight. Her making that weight is a good sign for her potential UFC future. The UFC does not have a lightweight division as PFL does.
Harrison (8-0) has finished six of her eight pro wins. The 30-year-old American Top Team product beat Larissa Pacheco to win the $1 million PFL women's lightweight title last December.