Did Cyborg’s performance at Bellator 271 sway Kayla Harrison?

MMA, PFL

This past weekend at Bellator 271, one of the greatest female fighters of all time returned to defend her featherweight crown. Cris Cyborg (25-2) headlined the event when she took on Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh (7-5).

Of course, Cyborg was a massive betting favorite and nobody really gave Kavanagh a shot at Bellator 271. In fact, the biggest storyline of the main event was more about who was sitting front and center to watch the event.

Kayla Harrison (12-0) is the hottest free agent in the sport right now. The two-time PFL champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist was there to watch Cyborg as Harrison is currently trying to figure out where she wants to go next.

Cyborg’s job was to make Harrison interested in fighting her. Harrison is someone who always wants to take on the best and maybe that fueled Cyborg. In her last few Bellator appearances, Cyborg has been much more calculated and measured than we’ve seen her in the past.

However, all of that went out the window at Bellator 271. Cyborg ran through Sinead Kavanagh and threw caution to the wind. The champion was able to land a clean right hand just over a minute in that knocked Kavanagh out.

Harrison to Bellator?

Kayla Harrison got the free agent treatment at Bellator 271. She was shown at the broadcast and Big John McCarthy asked Cyborg about Harrison in her post-fight interview. During the question, the camera panned to the two-time PFL champion who had a big smile on her face.

To me, the race for Harrison is going to come down to PFL and Bellator. I don’t see the UFC getting involved at a high level due to the fact that there’s only one real top fight for Harrison right now. That fight would be with Amanda Nunes who is her teammate and close friend.

With that, I think Harrison is zeroing in on PFL and Bellator. PFL has made her a star and they are going to do everything they can to keep her. However, the competitor in her might want to jump over to Bellator to take on the likes of Cris Cyborg.

From the beginning, I’ve favored Bellator in her free agency. I think they can pay her a very good wage and I think the competition is there. However, this is something that is extremely fluid and until Harrison signs, I wouldn’t be shocked by anything.

Bellator 271 Preview: Cris Cyborg – Sinead Kavanagh

Tonight in the main event of Bellator 271, the women’s featherweight title is on the line. One of the best to ever do it, Cris Cyborg (24-2), is back to defend her featherweight crown. Standing across the cage from her will be Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh (7-4).

Kavanagh got off to a really good start in her MMA career. She won her first three fights which earned her a shot with Bellator. She won her debut to start out 4-0, but since then, it’s been a mixed bag in terms of results.

Kavanagh lost two in a row before getting a first round knockout win and then dropping two fights in a row again. However, since that last losing streak, Kavanagh bounced back well winning two straight. Her last win came in October of 2020 in the form of a decision over Katharina Lehner.

There might not be a more fitting name in all of MMA than Cyborg for Cris Justino. Cyborg has been nothing short of dominant since starting in MMA. After losing her debut, she’s gone 24-1 with her lone loss being to the GOAT, Amanda Nunes.

She’s been a UFC champion, Strikeforce champion, and now Bellator champion. Since jumping to Bellator, she’s 3-0 with three knockout wins. She’s a staggering -1600 betting favorite for tonight’s main event.

Bellator 271 Prediction

Let’s be honest, it’s going to be a very steep mountain to climb for Sinead Kavanagh tonight at Bellator 271. She does have good boxing and we’ve seen her put her opponents away in the past with her hands. However, Cyborg is just another animal and she has the ability to dictate where the fight takes place.

There’s a huge difference in terms of the power. Cyborg has the advantage on the feet, but even if Kavanagh landed something big to get the attention of Cyborg, Cyborg can just take the fight to the ground with her incredible grappling.

Kayla Harrison is going to be cageside for Bellator 271 and I think Cris Cyborg is going to send a message to the hottest free agent in MMA. I expect a very dominant yet methodical performance from Cyborg. Expecting a masterclass in the first round before a brutal stoppage in the second.

Prediction: Cris Cyborg by TKO – Round 2

Kayla Harrison to be cageside for Bellator 271 headlined by Cris Cyborg

MMA, PFL

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.

After second PFL championship, Kayla Harrison has to decide between money and legacy

MMA, PFL

Last night at the PFL championships, Kayla Harrison (12-0) ran through Taylor Guardado (3-2) and submitted her in the second round. With the win, Harrison remained perfect and captured her second consecutive PFL championship.

Immediately after the fight was over, the focus shifted to where Harrison will fight her next fight. Earlier this week, we talked about the options that Harrison will have in front of her. She will hear from the UFC and she will hear from Bellator.

Bellator would love to put on the dream fight between Harrison and Cris Cyborg. Meanwhile, the UFC is the premier organization in mixed martial arts and it’s hard to be considered the best ever having not competed on the biggest MMA stage.

Then of course there’s the PFL. The organization that has been behind Harrison from the very beginning and has done everything in their power to make her a superstar. PFL is going to do everything in their power to keep her, but will it be enough?

After the PFL championships last night, Harrison was asked about what her deciding factor will be when it comes to deciding her next destination. Will her decision be about money or will it be about legacy?

Will Harrison stay with PFL?

If the decision comes down to the dollars, I think Harrison is going to stay with PFL. Bellator might make a very competitive offer, but in the end, I can’t see PFL getting outbid for Harrison. They’ve invest so much in her and I think they fully intend on staying in the Kayla Harrison business.

Then there’s the UFC. Just like Michael Chandler discovered, the UFC is not going to give her the highest dollar amount. However, what the UFC can offer Harrison is so much greater than Bellator and PFL.

The exposure and stature that Harrison can achieve in the UFC is unmatched. Even with a shallow featherweight division. Chandler has spoken at length at how much bigger he is now that he’s with the UFC and he’s considered to be one of the best fighters in Bellator history.

The star appeal and the goat appeal that the UFC can offer can’t be matched. However, Harrison might not care about that at the end of the day. She has to do the best thing for her family and that’s what makes this decision so intriguing for fans.

If I had to put money on it, I think that Harrison is going to end up deciding between Bellator and PFL. I think those two will present the best offers from a financial standpoint in the short-term. If I’m going with my gut, I have a feeling that Harrison will jump to Bellator to fight Cris Cyborg.

Wouldn’t be shocked at all to see a PFL reunion, but for Kayla Harrison, PFL might be a “Been there, done that.” There’s nothing left for her to accomplish there which means it might be time for a new chapter.

Free agency looms for Kayla Harrison ahead of PFL Finals

MMA, PFL

Tomorrow night in the main event of PFL‘s tenth event of the 2021 season, we will see the finals for the women’s lightweight division. The massive favorite, Kayla Harrison (11-0), will look to remain perfect and pick up her third straight PFL championship.

Standing in her way is Taylor Guardado (3-1) who will be looking to pick up the massive upset. Guardado lost her professional debut last year, but a perfect PFL season at 3-0 has earned her a spot in the finals against the Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time PFL champion.

While Guardado is a good opponent, there’s more focus on what comes after the fight for Kayla Harrison. No disrespect to Guardado, but I can’t see any scenario where Harrison walks out of the cage tomorrow night without capturing her third PFL championship.

That is the general consensus in the MMA community which is why the focus of this week is about what comes next. Once the PFL finals are over tomorrow night, Kayla Harrison is officially a free agent and she’s the best female free agent MMA has ever seen.

Will Harrison stay with PFL?

Harrison has competed at 155 pounds for the entirety of her career with PFL. However, last year, she cut down to 145 pounds to show the world that she’s very capable of making the featherweight limit which opens the doors for a couple of superfights.

PFL is obviously wanting to retain her and they’re trying to make the promotion even more attractive from a competition standpoint. They recently signed Julia Budd (15-3) and Budd will be making her debut tomorrow night for the promotion. Budd was a longstanding champion in Bellator.

Speaking of Bellator, they will be calling Harrison with the dream of Harrison fighting one of the greatest of all time in Cris Cyborg (24-2). Harrison has always wanted to fight Cyborg and was frustrated when PFL didn’t sign her following her release from the UFC.

And speaking of the UFC, that is where the biggest fight of all is. The fight I’m referring to would pair Harrison against her teammate and the greatest female fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes (21-4). Nunes is the two-division UFC champion who is widely considered to be the best ever.

Harrison wants the world to view her as the greatest of all time. She told the media this week that she’s going to be following some comments from UFC president Dana White who advised her to stay with PFL and continue beating up on less competition.

Harrison took the comments in stride as she knows the game. The PFL champion knows the game and she knows how to play it. Where she ends up signing will be one of the biggest MMA storylines between tomorrow night and the end of 2021.

PFL women’s lightweight and heavyweight finals set

MMA, PFL

Tonight, the PFL was back with their second playoff card of the 2021 season. The women’s lightweight division and heavyweight division took center stage this evening. In the main event, Kayla Harrison (10-0) took on Genah Fabian (4-1).

Harrison was the massive betting favorite heading into the 2021 PFL season and she made it look easy through her first two fights. She completely dominated her first two fights. Genah Fabian was looking to play spoiler by pulling off the massive upset.

However, it was not meant to be. Harrison did her thing and in the first round, she was able to take Fabian down. Once the fight was on the ground, it was simply a matter of time.

Harrison immediately transitioned to the mount and started brutalizing Fabian. Fabian gave up her back and Harrison rained down shots until the referee stopped the fight. Another dominant performance from Kayla Harrison.

In the other PFL lightweight semifinal, we saw Mariana Morais (17-11) take on Taylor Guardado (2-1). Originally, Larissa Pacheco was supposed to fight Guardado, but Morais stepped in after Pacheco missed weight.

The fight was very competitive between these two. Guardado did a good job with her pressure and landed some really solid shots in the first couple of rounds. Morais was able to use her judo to secure top position in the first and the third round.

The last two rounds were very easy to score with Guardado taking the second and Morais taking the third. The first round was incredibly close. Guardado landed the better shots while Morais secured a takedown. Ultimately, two of the three judges gave the fight to Guardado and she will now take on Kayla Harrison in the PFL finals.

PFL Heavyweight Finale Set

In addition to the women’s lightweight playoffs, we also saw the heavyweights battle it out for a spot in the PFL finals. In the first heavyweight semifinal matchup we saw the 2 and 3 seed go head-to-head as Russia’s Denis Goltsov (27-6) took on Croatia’s Ante Delija (18-4).

Heading into this matchup, Goltsov was a significant favorite. Delija was just 1-1 leading into the playoffs, and nobody was giving him much of a chance. However, he came to play spoiler tonight at PFL 8.

In the first two rounds, Goltsov was really controlling the first half of the round. However, Delija ended up on top to finish both rounds. In the first round, he controlled Goltsov for a significant portion of the round.

The third round was all Delija as he got an early takedown and controlled Goltsov. In the end, all three judges gave the fight to Delija as he pulled the upset and clinched a spot in the PFL finals.

Delija then sat back and watched Bruno Cappelozza (12-5) take on Jamelle Jones (12-6) in the other semifinal matchup. Cappelozza was another big favorite as the top overall seed after scoring two first round finishes. Jones was going to look to be the spoiler in this one.

However, it was evident from the opening minute that he was going to have his hands full. Cappelozza controlled the striking at range and showed off a big speed advantage in his matchup with Jones.

In the second round, a stiff left straight from Cappelozza put Jones down and he followed up to end the fight. Bruno Cappelozza will not take on Ante Delija in the PFL finals.

PFL Playoffs Preview: Heavyweights and Women’s Lightweight take center stage

Tonight, the PFL returns for the second playoff event of 2021. Last week, we saw the men’s lightweight and welterweight playoffs with two finale matchups booked. Tonight, it’s the women’s lightweight division and the heavyweight division that will take center stage.

Before previewing tonight’s PFL playoff action, there is one important note. The top seed in the women’s lightweight bracket has been pulled from the event. Larissa Pacheco (15-4) started her PFL season with two first round knockouts. She appeared to be on a collision course with Kayla Harrison (10-0).

However, Pacheco missed weight by two pounds and was pulled from the PFL playoffs. Mariana Morais (17-11) now steps in for Pacheco and will take on Taylor Guardado (2-1) in the first semifinal matchup. Of course, all eyes are going to be on the main event and the second lightweight semifinal matchup.

That matchup features the two-time PFL champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison. Harrison has stormed through all of her competition in her ten professional fights. Standing across from her tonight is Genah Fabian (4-1). Fabian is 2-0 with one finish thus far in the 2021 season.

PFL Heavyweights and Predictions

The other PFL playoff matchups feature the promotion’s heavyweight. The featured semifinal matchup pairs together Bruno Cappelozza (12-5) and Jamelle Jones (12-6). Cappelozza earned the top seed with two first round knockouts this year.

Jones was able to get into the playoffs while only having competed once in the 2021 PFL season. In his one performance, he was able to score a first round stoppage over Klidson Abreu back in June.

In the other PFL semifinal we have a matchup between two European heavyweights. Russia’s Denis Goltsov (27-6) takes on Croatia’s Ante Delija (18-4). Delija went 1-1 this season with a loss to Cappelozza while Goltsov went a perfect 2-0.

We should be in for a tremendous night of fights in the PFL playoffs.

Official Predictions: 

  • Kayla Harrison – Genah Fabian – Harrison by TKO (Round 1)
  • Bruno Cappelozza – Jamelle Jones – Cappelozza by TKO (Round 2)
  • Taylor Guardado – Mariana Morais – Morais by Decision
  • Denis Goltsov – Ante Delija – Goltsov by TKO (Round 1)

PFL 6 Results: Anthony Pettis eliminated from playoffs and Kayla Harrison stays perfect

The PFL returned tonight for their sixth and final regular season event of 2021. In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-12) returned as he took on Raush Manfio (13-3).

Pettis was a massive signing for PFL heading into the 2021 season. The Professional Fighters League put a ton of money behind Pettis and they hyped up the signing. It was a big signing for PFL, but Pettis needed to perform to make it worth it.

However, Pettis dropped his PFL debut to Clay Collard back in April. Tonight, he stood across the cage from Raush Manfio and he needed a win to even be in contention for the playoffs. A decision win for Pettis would’ve put him in tiebreaker, but a finish would’ve guaranteed him a spot.

PFL 6 Recap

I was incredibly encouraged with what I saw from Pettis in the opening rounds at PFL 6. Pettis looked much more aggressive and you could tell that he knew that he needed a big victory to advance to the playoffs.

Through the first two rounds, I thought that Pettis was getting the better of the striking at PFL 6. I had Pettis up 2-0 heading into the third and final round where the fight completely changed.

Early in the round, Manfio landed a big shot that hurt and dropped Pettis. Manfio then landed a big knee which put Pettis down a second time. Pettis was able to get back up and finished the round, but it was a clear round for Manfio.

Personally, I still had Pettis winning at PFL 6, but two of the judges didn’t agree. Raush Manfio took the split decision victory and eliminated Pettis from the 2021 playoffs. Definitely not what the promotion that was going to happen when they brought in Anthony Pettis.

In the main event of the evening, Kayla Harrison (10-0) returned to the cage. Harrison took on the veteran Cindy Dandois (16-7) who was looking to pull off the massive upset over the PFL queen. However, it was not meant to be.

As Harrison has done with all of her opponents, she went through Dandois like a hot knife through butter. Harrison picked up the first round armbar finish after dominating Dandois on the ground in the first. I don’t know if anyone in PFL can even be competitive with her at this point.

PFL 6 Preview: Kayla Harrison and Anthony Pettis make their second appearances of 2021

MMA, PFL

Tomorrow night the PFL returns for their sixth event of 2021. The card will see a mix of weight classes competing, but in the main event, the women’s lightweight division will be the focus.

Two-time defending PFL lightweight champion and former Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison (9-0) returns to the cage. She will be looking to pick up her second win of the season as she takes on Cindy Dandois (16-6).

Dandois is a veteran who has fought for all of the big promotions during her career. She dropped her PFL debut earlier this year, but she will be looking to pull off the massive upset tomorrow night.

Standing in her way might just be one of the best women’s fighters in the world. Kayla Harrison has been nothing short of dominant in her professional fighting career thus far. The former Judo Gold Medalist is progressing in her career and she keeps getting better.

After her first round win in her 2021 PFL season debut, Harrison said that she was the baddest woman on the planet. While that title still belongs to Amanda Nunes, Harrison is on her way to making it interesting.

Other matchups at PFL 6

In addition to the women’s lightweight division, the men’s lightweights will be on display in the co-main event of PFL 6. Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-11) will be making his second appearance with The Professional Fight League.

Pettis will be taking on Raush Manfio (12-3). The former UFC champion was a massive signing for PFL for the 2021 season, but he dropped his season debut to Clay Collard. Now, Pettis will look to get back on track tomorrow night.

Lance Palmer (22-4) will also be competing tomorrow night at PFL 6 as he takes on the undefeated Movlid Khaybulaev (16-0-1). There are a ton of great matchups tomorrow night as PFL goes head-to-head with Bellator on Friday night.

I’m looking forward to this card and you can see the full lineup below.

PFL 6 Matchups Announced

This week PFL announced it’s matchups for their sixth event of the 2021 season. The event will take place on June 25th and in the main event Kayla Harrison (9-0) on Cindy Dandois (16-6) and the former PFL heavyweight champion Ali Isaev (9-0) will be making his first appearance of the season.

Isaev was pulled from the first PFL event for the heavyweights and was docked a point for having his fight fall through. In his first matchup of the season, he will be taking on Renan Ferreira (6-2, 1 NC).

Ferreira took on former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1, 1 NC) in his first matchup of the PFL season. This matchup was layered in controversy after the way that it ended.

The fight started with an incredible pace and Werdum was able to lock in a triangle choke early. It clearly looked like Ferreira tapped from the choke, but the referee didn’t see it. Ferreira was able to get out of the choke and started dropping bombs.

The referee called a stop to the action and spoiled the PFL debut of Werdum. Werdum claimed he lightened the choke after feeling the tap and appealed the loss. The athletic commission overturned the fight to a No Contest. I figured PFL would do the rematch, but instead, Ferreira will take on Isaev.

PFL Round 2 for Werdum

Fabricio Werdum is getting a second chance to make an impressive statement in PFL. In reality, he should have a first round submission win on his Pro Fight League resume, but nothing can change that at this point.

In his next fight, Werdum will take on Brandon Sayles (6-1). Sayles pulled off arguably the most impressive performance of all the heavyweights in his first matchup of the season. He took on the hot prospect, Mohammed Usman (7-2).

Sayles looked incredibly slick on the feet and it ended dropping Usman multiple times. Once the fight was on the ground, Sayles locked up a choke and put Usman out. He will look to pull off another upset in his second PFL matchup of the season.

As mentioned above, Kayla Harrison will headline and I expect her to roll in her second fight of the season. I’ll be very curious to see how Larissa Pacheco (14-4) looks in her second fight as she takes on Helena Kolesnyk (5-3). Great matchups for the sixth PFL event of 2021.