The Professional Fighters League has unveiled its women’s lightweight division ahead of the PFL 2019 season, and alongside Kayla Harrison will be the likes of Sarah Kaufman and Larissa Pacheco.
Just in time for International Women’s Day, the Professional Fighters League has announced its women’s lightweight division. With the PFL 2019 season launching in May in Long Island, it’s the perfect timing to introduce what is essentially the only 155lb division for women among the major promotions. Eight fighters will compete this year, for a one million dollar prize.
While it’s no surprise that two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison (3-0) remains the centerpiece of the division, she will find some real competition among her competitors. First and foremost, that should come from Canada’s Sarah Kaufman (20–4 (1)), a Strikeforce and Invicta FC champion who also competed in the UFC. Kaufman is the reigning women’s bantamweight champion in Invicta, but after struggling to find a fight there, it appears she’s opted to look for greener pastures.
Kaufman’s fellow Canadian Bobbi Jo Dalziel (3-0) has also joined the fray. She’s coming off a win over former PFL competitor (against Harrison) Jozette Cotton.
Brazil’s Larissa Pacheco (11-2) has competed at featherwieght and bantamweight, and fought twice in the UFC, losing to Germaine de Randamie and Jessica Andrade. She also holds a win over UFC alum Irene Aldana.
Another Brazilian, former Bellator featherweight Roberta Samad (4-1), will join her in the upcoming season. All four of her wins have come via stoppage, with three knockouts and a submission.
New Zeland kickboxer Genah Fabian (1-0) may be a long shot in the division, as is Russia’s Svetlana Khautova (2-0).
Rounding out the women’s lightweight division in the PFL is Morgan Frier (4-1). The American has won four straight after losing her debut. None of her wins have gone past a minute.
“As we continue to elevate our roster and reimagine the sport, we are proud to introduce the first-ever women’s 155-pound division,” said Peter Murray, CEO, PFL in Friday’s press release. “These athletes are breaking down barriers every day, and through our unique-to-the-sport season format, fans will be able to follow their journeys and engage in their stories from PFL Regular Season kick-off May 9 to PFL Championship New Year’s Eve.”
Update, 5:30 PM EST: Kaufman has confirmed to Cageside Press she is vacating the title, saying that “I love Invicta and will always support them. PFL is the opportunity that makes sense for me right now.”
Update from @mmasarah – who has confirmed she is vacating the Invicta FC bantamweight title. "I love Invicta and will always support them. PFL is the opportunity that makes sense for me right now." #MMA #PFL #PFL2019
— Jay Anderson (@CageSideJay) March 8, 2019