The UFC have unexpectedly announced that they’ve signed one of the biggest stars in women’s MMA, Kayla Harrison, and furthermore have revealed that she’ll be making her promotional debut against Holly Holm at the star-studded UFC 300 event in Las Vegas on April 13th.
The 33-year-old Harrison has a stellar resume, having been a former two-time Olympic gold medalist who has since gone on to considerable success in MMA too, winning PFL’s lightweight tournaments in both 2019 and 2021, compiling a 16-1 record along the way.
Harrison won her first 15 MMA fights in a row, but then suffered a shock upset defeat in the final of the PFL 2022 lightweight tournament, losing to Larrisa Pacheco by unanimous decision.
However, Harrison has since bounced back by defeating former UFC fighter Aspen Ladd via unanimous decision in her only fight last year.
The highly-decorated judoka has often been linked to the UFC, but few saw this announcement coming, with even the PFL organization apparently believing as recently as the start of this week that she would have at least one more fight with them.
Instead, Harrison will now make her Octagon debut at the historic UFC 300 event opposite the 42-year-old Holm, who of course infamously won the bantamweight title back in 2015 by KO’ing Harrison’s former friend and Olympic judo teammate Ronda Rousey.
Holm has struggled to replicate that lightning-in-a-bottle moment in the years since though, going just 5-6 (+1nc), though she’s still ranked No.5 in the division heading into this major match-up at UFC 300.
It’s worth noting that this newly announced fight will take place at 135lbs, and that’ll be a first for Harrison whose last fight against Aspen Ladd was at a 150lb catchweight. Aside from one outing at 145lbs all her other 15 bouts were at 155lbs, so getting down to bantamweight will be a major undertaking for her.
Harrison vs. Holm joins a UFC 300 card that remains without a confirmed headliner, but will feature a women’s strawweight fight between current champion Zhang Weili and Yan Xiaonan, a symbolic ‘BMF’ title clash between current holder Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway, plus Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan, Jiri Prochazka vs. Aleksander Rakic, Aljamain Sterling vs. Calvin Kattar, Deveison Figueiredo vs. Cody Garbrandt, Bo Nickal vs. Cody Brundage and Jim Miller vs. Bobby Green.