Just one fight after Ray Cooper became PFL’s third two-time tournament champion, Kayla Harrison faced the same opportunity as she took on Taylor Guardado in the main event of the 2021 PFL World Championship.
Undefeated through 11 professional MMA fights, the Olympic judoka Harrison represents not just the pinnacle of the PFL women’s lightweight division but, arguably, the pinnacle of women’s MMA as a whole.
Harrison, the 2019 Women’s Lightweight Tournament winner, entered this bout as a massive favorite –– but Guardado embraced the underdog role. Could she do the seemingly impossible and send the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino into a frenzy?
Guardado’s out of the gates strong, throwing powerful shots at Harrison as she pushes forward. They briefly exchange on the feet before tying up, and Harrison quickly trips Guardado to the mat.
After some ground-and-pound, Harrison passes to half guard, applying heavy pressure in the process. She slides into side control with little resistance and attempts to set up the crucifix.
Harrison wants to mount, but Guardado shuts it down and recovers half guard. From there, Harrison attacks the kimura, and while she doesn’t get it, she uses the opportunity to take mount.
Guardado gives up her back, and Harrison is happy to take it, immediately peppering away with more punches. A scramble ensues, and Guardado is able to recover full guard in the process. After a few more shots from Harrison, Guardado creates space and pops back to her feet, where she immediately charges forward.
Harrison meets her with a front kick, followed by a left hand. And then came that world-class Judo:
The dominant round ends for Harrison, and Guardado needs to regroup ahead of Round 2.
Guardado appears content to trade on the feet once again, and Harrison obliges early on. Forty-five seconds into the round, Harrison closes the distance, gets the body lock, and trips Guardado to the mat.
She moves effortlessly to mount, and Guardado gives up her back. Harrison is pounding away with ground-and-pound, and Guardado has no answers. She eventually rolls, giving up mount once again, and this time Harrison threatens the armbar.
And she has it.
That’s a wrap.
Harrison landed 85 out of 90 total strikes and secured three takedowns in just two rounds of action, capping things off with a textbook armbar.
Another fight, another display of utter dominance from her as she improves to 12-0 and captures her second PFL Women’s Lightweight title.
Who can stop Kayla Harrison?
Official Result: Kayla Harrison def. Taylor Guardado via submission (armbar), Round 2 (4:00)