Dual Olympic gold medallist Kayla Harrison has scored a bloody TKO win over Courtney King while debuting in both the featherweight class and Invicta FC.
Harrison, the champion 78kg judoka at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, improved to 8-0 in MMA with a savage second-round finish of King (4-2) on Saturday (AEDT).
Harrison reduced King to a bleeding mess by smashing her just above nose with an elbow during the first round, amid a damaging ground and pound. She then went for an armbar finish but King was able to defend the submission attempt and make the bell.
King entered round two with a huge gash between her eyes and bled heavily while copping plenty more ground and pound savagery from Harrison. The referee finally stopped the fight at 4.48 of the round, ending what proved to be a nasty mismatch.
Victory was expected but Harrison’s brutal dominance, and the punishment inflicted upon King, had MMA pundits wowed.
It was Harrison’s third KO/TKO and her sixth stoppage win. She indicated that she can be a force at 145lbs (65kg), despite only modest resistance from King, having dropped down from lightweight.
Harrison is the 155lbs (70kg) champion in the Professional Fighters League. She was given permission to fight in Invicta FC via loan because the PFL ended its 2020 schedule due to COVID-19. It was her first bout in almost a year.
Notably, the PFL does not allow elbows – making Harrison’s ruthless use of the striking technique all the more impressive.
“Elbows changed my life,” Harrison said post-fight. “Holy cow, what have I been missing? Elbows are awesome … I was getting freaked out with how much blood there was.”
Harrison, 30, ultimately wants to fight the UFC’s featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. The fight would need to happen at 145lbs, as the UFC does not have a women’s lightweight division.
Harrison and Nunes both train at American Top Team, meaning that the Olympic gold medallist often spars with the acknowledged GOAT of women’s MMA. Harrison has branded Nunes her role model in the sport.