Kayla Harrison Dominates, Bloodies Courtney King at Invicta FC 43

Kayla Harrison PFL
Kayla Harrison Credit: Mike McClory/Cageside Press

Welcome to featherweight, Kayla Harrison.

Kayla Harrison’s addition to the Invicta FC 43 card was rather fortuitous for the promotion. With the strawweight title fight between Emily Ducote and Montserrat Ruiz being scratched for precautionary reasons (at least one of the fighters had potentially been exposed to the coronavirus, the promotion advised Cageside Press on Friday), Harrison’s bout with Courtney King found itself promoted to the main event.

Harrison’s first excursion outside of the PFL, the impromptu Invicta FC 43 main event was notable for another reason as well. After spending the entirety of her career at lightweight, Harrison was dropping down to 145lbs for the first time. Long a holdout when it came to weight cutting, circumstance, and the knowledge that the best potential opponents for her future fought at 145 necessitated the move.

Harrison, decked out in her PFL fight gear, looked cautious early. Her initial takedown attempt, set up with a strike, was fought off by King. King was no doubt looking to play spoiler. But right at the halfway mark of the round, King found herself thrown onto her back thanks to a trip. Harrison got on top, and soon opened King up with an elbow. Conveying the carnage that ensued is no easy feat. King seemingly donated a couple of pints of blood to the cage floor. Harrison continued to drop elbows and punches as King squirmed, rolled, but somehow survived. A late arm-bar attempt by Harrison was foiled, in part, due to all the blood — the fighters were just too slick.

Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

The biggest surprise of the opening round of Harrison vs. King is that it was allowed to continue. A nasty gash sat right between the eyes of King, but placement and a skilled cutman ensured the fight was allowed to continue. But in the second, Harrison wasted little time in getting the fight back down. This time, she worked from the guard of King. King closed her guard and eventually forced a standup, but Harrison had decent movement while on her feet — and quickly got the fight back down anyway. Harrison would eventually find herself in the crucifix position, and finally, mercifully, put King away.

After the fight, Harrison expressed disappointment in her inability to work her standup, and her hesitation at being punched. It’s rather hard to find fault in her performance, however, and the only reason it went as long as it did was the toughness of Courtney King.

Moving forward, Harrison (8-0) plans to take one more fight with Invicta prior to returning to the PFL next season.

Official Result: Kayla Harrison def. Courtney King by TKO, Round 2, 4:48