Kayla Harrison made her Invicta FC and featherweight debuts on Friday night, mauling Courtney King in the Invicta FC 43 main event in Kansas City.
PFL champion Kayla Harrison made her Invicta FC and featherweight debutHarrison is a sixth degree black belt and two-time Olympic gold medalist in JudoHarrison defeated Courtney King via a second-round TKO stoppage
Invicta FC 43 was originally slated to be topped by a strawweight title fight between Emily Ducote and Montserrat Ruiz. Both fighters successfully made championship weight – Ducote at 114.5 pounds and Ruiz at 113.3 pounds – but enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols forced the fight off of the card. Invicta officials hope to reschedule the bout at a future event.
The Ducote vs. Ruiz postponement elevated the Harrison vs. King bout to headlining status. Harrison is the Professional Fighters League women’s lightweight champion, but made her featherweight debut on loan to Invicta FC, as the PFL suspended its 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Harrison was content to stand and trade with King for the first half of the first round, but then tripped her to the canvas. Once on the mat, Harrison immediately went to work from inside guard, landing numerous hard punches and elbows, immediately covering King’s face with a crimson mask.
A short time later, Harrison moved to full mount, continuing to drop fists to King’s face. Harrison slid off into an armbar attempt, but King defended well, lasting to the horn.
In between rounds, the cut to King’s face was obvious. Harrison opened a massive gash just above the bridge of her nose in between her eyes. The doctor took a long look at the cut, but didn’t stop the fight.
King started round two a ball of fire, but Harrison quickly drove her into the fence and then dragged her to the canvas. Again working from inside full guard, Harrison attacked with punches and elbows, but King defended well enough to get a stand-up from the referee.
Harrison used the opportunity to scoop King up and slam her to the mat. She quickly worked her way from inside guard to side control to full mount. Though King’s corner did a good job stemming the bleeding from the cut between rounds, Harrison bludgeoned her with punches and elbows, once again causing the blood to gush from her face.
Moments later, Harrison moved to side control and finished the fight with repeated left hands to King’s face.
It was a masterful performance by the two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo, but Harrison wasn’t fully pleased by her performance.
“I’m just a little disappointed because I want to work my stand-up more. I want to get in there and not be afraid to get punched. In practice, I do fine. (But) when I get in there, no, no, takedown,” Harrison said, though she liked using elbows, which the PFL doesn’t allow.
“Holy cow! What have I been missing? Elbows are awesome,” she exclaimed.
Harrison is still under contract with the PFL and intends to fight for the promotion when it starts up its season in 2021. Until then, however, she is hopeful to get another fight in before then. If she has her way, it will once again be under the Invicta FC banner.
“I’m gonna fight one more time before fulfilling my contractual duties with PFL. I hope that’s with Invicta. Then I’ll fight the (PFL 2021) season at 155.”
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Invicta FC 43 full results
Kayla Harrison vs. Courtney King via TKO (punches) at 4:48, R2Stephanie Geltmacher def. Caitlin Sammons via KO at 4:28, R1Hope Chase def. Brittney Cloudy via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:37, R1Meaghan Penning def. Alexa Culp via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)Juliana Miller def. Kendal Holowell via submission (armbar) at 2:49, R1