UFC 300 Preview and Prediction: Kayla Harrison – Holly Holm

Kayla Harrison UFC
2023 PFL Championships at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

During the UFC 300 prelims we are going to see one of the best female fighters on the planet make her octagon debut. Former PFL champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison (16-1) will make her highly anticipated debut as she takes on former bantamweight champion Holly Holm (15-6, 1 NC).

Starting with Holly Holm, this is her first fight since her loss to Mayra Bueno Silva last July. Now, the fight did get turned to a No Contest because of an ADHD medication that Silva was on but didn’t report, but Holm still sees the fight as a loss. It was a tough one too because had she won, she would’ve likely fought for the UFC bantamweight title.

Holm has been with the promotion for nine years now. She dethroned Ronda Rousey and holds two wins over current bantamweight champion Raquel Pennington. Even at 42-years-old, Holm still looks like she has tread on the tires. If she can spoil the debut of Kayla Harrison, she is going to be very close to title contention.

Kayla Harrison made her MMA debut with the PFL back in 2018. Since then, she’s gone 16-1 with the lone loss coming in the 2022 season championships against Larissa Pacheco. Worth noting that Harrison had also defeated Pacheco two previous times.

After she took the season off and then returned successfully at the championships event with a win over Aspen Ladd, Harrison wanted to make the jump to the UFC. She signed with the promotion and now is featured on one of the biggest cards of all time.

UFC 300 Prediction

This is such a fascinating matchup and there’s so many stories outside of the fight itself. The first one being this will be Kayla Harrison’s first fight at bantamweight. She fought the majority of her PFL career at lightweight (155 pounds) and fought once at a 150 catchweight and one featherweight fight in Invicta. She used to joke that she’d have to cut off a limb to make 135. However, she did a test cut ahead of signing with the UFC to make sure she could do it safely.

She also looks to be in tremendous shape and you know she’s taking this seriously. He’s a shot of her during media day from MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn:

So, based on everything, let’s proceed as if she has no problems making the weight for UFC 300. How do these two stack up against each other. Well, on paper you’d have to say that Holm has a big striking advantage. While Harrison is much improved, Holm was a world champion boxer and has very clean technique from the outside.

However, in recent years, we’ve seen Holm rely more on using her shots to setup the clinch. That would be a massive mistake in this fight. There are levels to grapplers and it doesn’t get much higher than Kayla Harrison. Harrison is a monster and if she gets ahold of Holm, Holm is likely going to get taken down.

Now, Holm is one of the strongest bantamweights in the division so I expect her to hold her own. If the former UFC champion keeps it standing for the majority of the fight, I think she has a great chance to pull the upset. However, I think at this stage, it’s Kayla Harrison’s time.

Harrison is going to get takedowns and top control in this one. A huge thing to watch out for is elbows. PFL doesn’t allow elbows and the one time Harrison was allowed to use them in Invicta, she battered Courtney King’s face. I’m very excited for her that she’s allowed to use her elbows now. I don’t see a finish in this one and I think we go the distance, but give me Kayla Harrison to win her UFC debut.

Prediction: Kayla Harrison by Decision

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