Former Bellator MMA featherweight champion Julia Budd made her PFL promotional debut Wednesday night in Hollywood, Florida.
A veteran of Strikeforce whose only loses had come to Ronda Rousey, Amanda Nunes, and Cris Cyborg, Budd joined the PFL as a potential foil to Kayla Harrison — assuming the soon-to-be free agent returns to the promotion next year.
Budd’s debut came against a fellow veteran in Kaitlyn Young, who had come up short in this year’s regular season. It played out like many Julia Budd fights do.
Young worked her jab and leg kicks early, while Budd looked to close the distance, where she would have an obvious strength and size advantage. This dance played out for most of the round until Budd scored a key double-leg takedown in the final minute. That didn’t give Budd much time to work, however; she’d finish the round on top, in guard.
In the second round, it was Kaitlyn Young who scored the takedown on Budd, flipping the script. Budd didn’t stay down long, however, quickly escaping and getting on top with half the round remaining. Young worked herself back to the fence, but Budd tied up her legs to prevent any escape. Canada’s Budd ate up plenty of control time, but didn’t come close to a finish.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 27, 2021
In the third, Budd had the fight down much soon. She was also more active on top, though Young threw up an arm-bar to keep her at bay momentarily. Budd freed herself, and nearly stepped over into mount; Young managed to maneuver her opponent back into guard. Budd would step over a leg, getting to half-mount before Young regained full guard. The whole time, however, Budd kept her hands busy, going body-head frequently. Late in the around, she made a play for an arm-triangle choke, but time would expire without her able to finish.
Official Result: Julia Budd def. Kaitlyn Young by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)