Tonight in the headliner of Bellator 271, one of the greatest female fighters of all time will be defending her title. Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (24-2) will be defending her title against Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh (7-4).
Like with virtually any Cris Cyborg fight, the champion is a massive favorite to retain her title at Bellator 271. While most would be focused on the action tonight, there is one storyline outside the cage that is getting more and more attention.
Sitting cageside for tonight’s event will be two-time PFL champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison (12-0). A couple of weeks ago, Harrison stopped Taylor Guardado in the second round to capture her second PFL title.
That fight was the final one on the contract for Harrison and she is now the most highly saught after free agent in MMA. Bellator is already very interested in bringing Harrison in and Scott Coker said this week that they are planning on having some dialogue with her.
Harrison to Bellator?
It’s going to be very interesting to see the path that Harrison takes with her free agency. Since becoming a free agent, she’s appeared at UFC 268 in New York and now she’s going to be cageside scouting Cris Cyborg at Bellator 271.
Harrison is making the rounds and I would expect that her free agency will end before too long. Make no mistake about it, PFL is going to try everything to bring Harrison back. They even imported former Bellator champion Julia Budd to try and provide more challenges in that arena.
However, PFL is a been there done that for Kayla Harrison at this point. Yes, they’ve been extremely good to her and helped make her a star, however, there’s nothing left for her to prove. Bellator on the other hand provides big opportunities.
There’s good competition in Bellator and the Cris Cyborg fight is something that Harrison wants. Harrison was vocal about being frustrated when PFL didn’t sign her. Now, Harrison has the chance to get that fight if she jumps to Bellator.
Of course, you can never rule out the UFC, but given her relationship with Amanda Nunes, I don’t think the UFC is as appealing right now. If I had to handicap her free agency, I would say that Bellator is the favorite right now.
Harrison looks very interested in jumping ship to fight Cyborg. If she fights Cyborg and wins, she will immediately jump towards the top of the pound for pound rankings. In speaking about a potential fight with Cyborg, Harrison has no doubts she would win.
“I think I would dominate,” Harrison said this week.