LFA 91: Kelly Clayton Ready for LFA Debut After Invicta FC Success

Kelly Clayton, Credit: Katie Hartwig
Kelly Clayton, Credit: Katie Hartwig

After back-to-back wins, including a first-round finish at Invicta FC: Phoenix Series 3, bantamweight Kelly Clayton is ready for a step up at LFA 91.

The Toppenish, Wash. native bounced back from an 0-2 start to her professional career with finishes in her last two bouts. Now Clayton will take on the 5-1 Hailey Cowan, who’s on a five-fight winning streak, all of which came in LFA.

“We’ve tried to fight her before. LFA wasn’t interested because of my record. So I’m glad that I have another opportunity,” Clayton told the Throwin’ Elbows MMA podcast. “I also really like that she’s 5-1. She’s had some really close fights… Being 1-2, to take down a 5-1 fighter is an amaizing opportunity.”

The call from LFA comes after Clayton put on an impressive performance against Flori Neamtu-Moeller at Invicta FC: Phoenix Series 3 in March. Clayton earned the first-round submission with less than 10 seconds remaining in the round. The bout, a tournament reserve fight, was an exhibition.

“It couldn’t have gone any better. It was absolutely perfect,” Clayton said of her victory. “I was listening to my coach the whole time. He told me to throw the right hand, I threw my right hand. If he told me to reverse, I reversed. He told me to takedown, I took her down… It’s not just the fighter. It’s also your coach. It’s like you’re in there fighting together.”

Togetherness is important to Clayton. Her nickname, “Skittles”, is more than just a fun and marketable way to brand herself.

Kelly “Skittles” Clayton, Credit: Sasquatch Media

“The rainbow, it represents a lot of myself. Accepting who I am… There’s a lot of personal acceptance through that period where I was trying to find myself,” Clayton said. “The rainbow, to me, means you can be anything. I’m also a big supporter of LGBTQ, austim… being who you are. That’s another reason why I love repping the rainbow. Skittles is just perfect for all of that.”

You can check out the full interview below, on episode 93 of Throwin’ Elbows (it begins at the 44:56 mark). There, Clayton also discusses doing track and field in high school, earning her master’s degree, owning a gym with her fiancé, and alternative nicknames. *cough* Don’t sleep on “Lumberjack” *cough*

Catch Kelly Clayton take on Hailey Cowan at LFA 91 on Friday, September 11th on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET. The card is headlined by a middleweight bout between Chidi Njokuani and Cristhian Torres.