Kayla Harrison Simply Defeats a Substitute Opponent

Kayla Harrison’s second bout of the Skilled Fighters League common season unfolded as predictably because the betting odds — tilted closely in her favor — steered.

Harrison, who has gained the PFL’s ladies’s light-weight title every of the final two seasons, wanted solely two minutes, 35 seconds, one physique slam and a sequence of punches on Friday evening to dispatch Kaitlin Younger and qualify for the postseason.

On Aug. 20 in London, Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, will face Martina Jindrova for a berth within the PFL closing.

Past that combat, the prospects of a high-profile match with both Amanda Nunes or Cristiane Justino (aka “Cris Cyborg”), the 2 best-known fighters in Harrison’s weight vary, stay murky. Nunes is beneath contract with the Final Preventing Championship and is slated to face Julianna Peña on July 30, and Justino is aligned with the combined martial arts promotion Bellator.

A sequence of fights involving Harrison, Nunes and Justino stays an alluring, if distant, risk, and Donn Davis, the PFL’s chairman and co-owner, maintains he would promote an occasion collectively with Bellator or the UFC However for now, current contracts take priority, and Harrison mentioned she is targeted on reworking herself from a judo knowledgeable into an all-around combined martial artist.

“I am simply a way more advanced fighter. I am a way more advanced particular person,” Harrison mentioned at a information convention earlier than the combat. “Day by day I get slightly bit higher, and I am nonetheless simply scratching the floor.”

Harrison, who’s now 14-0 in skilled MMA, had been slated to face Julia Budd, whose kickboxing experience steered she could be Harrison’s hardest professional opponent but. However Budd withdrew from the bout after an harm late in coaching camp, and the PFL changed her with the 36-year-old Younger, who entered Friday’s bout with a 12-12-1 report.

After touching gloves on the opening bell, the fighters circled one another cautiously. Harrison, in a southpaw stance, crept ahead, feinting and gauging Younger’s reactions.

After which she charged, bulling Younger into the fence earlier than slamming her to the mat. Then got here a grappling sequence, which Harrison favored, the judo knowledgeable, and eventually the punches that prompted the referee to cease the bout.

“The purpose is to exit and dominate,” Harrison, who turned 32 on Saturday, mentioned in a tv interview after the bout. “Typically you simply really feel it.”

Early within the combat, which befell on the Time beyond regulation Elite Enviornment in Atlanta, broadcasters famous the lopsided betting odds, and mentioned one gambler had wagered $2.7 million on a Harrison win.

Given the circumstances — a two-time Olympic champion in opposition to a last-minute alternative — that seven-figure pledge was much less a guess than an funding. Simply earlier than the opening bell, oddsmakers listed Harrison as a minus-6,000 favourite, which means a $6,000 guess would yield a $100 payoff. At these odds, the $2.7 million guess would have netted $45,000.

The PFL hopes the cash it has poured into Harrison’s profession pays comparable dividends over the long run.

Harrison’s contract covers two seasons and pays her roughly $1 million per bout. Again-of-the-napkin math suggests she made about $6,450 per second on Friday evening, in case you do not depend the time she spent coaching. The PFL figures the cash is value it contemplating the increase Harrison lends to the PFL’s profile.

The UFC is to MMA what the NFL is to professional soccer — the most important model and moneymaker, and the undisputed trade chief. In 2016, the expertise company Endeavor paid $4.2 billion for a majority stake within the combat promotion, and the corporate is now concentrating on a $10 billion valuation.

The PFL goals to solidify its place in second place.

Whereas the UFC will stage its July 30 occasion on the American Airways Middle in Dallas, the PFL held its latest Dallas-area combat card at a 2,500-seat area in Arlington.

Davis factors out that the PFL’s broadcast partnership with ESPN provides it the identical broad distribution that the UFC enjoys, however acknowledges that it is an underdog that advantages from having Harrison beneath contract. He says Harrison is poised to turn out to be the game’s subsequent brand-name fighter.

“Think about if the USFL had found and developed Tom Brady,” Davis mentioned in an interview earlier than the combat, referring to america Soccer League.

Nonetheless, the bouts that would vault Harrison and the PFL to new ranges of prominence stay elusive and hypothetical.

Nunes, Harrison’s former coaching accomplice, has mentioned she welcomes a bout, supplied Harrison indicators with the UFC And Nunes is herself a former champion, scheduled for a July 30 rematch with Peña, who gained the UFC featherweight title from her final December.

Justino, who final competed in April, is reportedly negotiating a boxing match in opposition to undisputed light-weight boxing champion Katie Taylor.

“I have been teaching and coaching boxing for one combat. I am searching for one combat,” Justino advised reporters after her most up-to-date MMA bout. “I’ve achieved every little thing. I did wrestling. I did jujitsu. I did a muay thai combat. It is the one one I have not achieved, is boxing. It is one in every of my desires.”

Subsequent up for Harrison is the semifinal bout in opposition to Jindrova and, doubtlessly, a spot within the 2022 PFL closing.

The one assure past these bouts: yet one more season on Harrison’s PFL contact.

What do you think?

Written by trendingatoz

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