Prospect in the Spotlight (June 25-26): Kayla Harrison

Introduction

Fiday, June 25th, American featherweight/lightweight prospect Kayla Harrison will be in action for PFL, where she will be looking to continue her undefeated streak against veteran Cindy Dandois. She will be looking for another win, as Harrison looks to successfully continue the 2021 PFL season in an attempt to score a $1 million payday. She represents American Top Team, a top camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Ground Game: When you are a multiple-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, it’s clear that you have a world-class grappling acumen. Harrison is an absolute beast. Her takedowns are powerful and she rarely gets defended. She will use traditional judo throws, but will also use amateur wrestling style takedowns as well. She’s controlling in the clinch. Once on the mat, her opponent has no chance. Harrison controls her opponents completely. She also throws massive ground-and-pound that does heavy damage. Four of her nine wins come by ground-and-pound stoppage. She’s also (obviously) an excellent submission artist. Three of her other wins come by way of tapout, with two armbars and a keylock. Lastly, she’s shown in her bout with Larissa Pacheco that she can work out of tough positions.

Strength/Athleticism: Harrison is a specimen of a female. Obviously, not much needs to be said about her athleticism. She’s an Olympic gold medalist. In terms of strength, she is as powerful as they come. Just look at her. She’s built like a brick shithouse from head to toe. She shows those aren’t merely cosmetic muscles, as she throws opponents around the cage with ease. There may be one female in MMA that can match strength with Harrison in Cris Cyborg, and I am not sure even she is as purely strong as Harrison.

Needs Improvement

Striking: Harrison has actually made solid improvements in her striking game, but it’s still obviously the part of her game that needs most attention. Her takedowns and ground game are top notch. Her striking under the tutelage of the American Top Team staff is in good hands. Should she become a threat on the feet, I really don’t see how many of her potential opponents fight Harrison.

Outlook

World Champion: Harrison has all the makings of a major world champion in mixed martial arts, I don’t think anybody denies that. It’s going to be a matter of when. I don’t think the UFC will have a featherweight division going forward, unless Harrison comes over and temporarily saves it. I think her best bet is going to be Bellator, who has most of the best 145ers in the world. Harrison will stick with PFL for a shelf life, as why wouldn’t she want an almost guaranteed $1 million payday every year? If she does go to the UFC or Bellator, I think she will be the world champion. Her combination of athleticism, ground skill and strength is too much for most fighters.

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