Kayla Harrison Announces Arrival, Submits Holly Holm at UFC 300

Holly Holm and Kayla Harrison, UFC 300
Holly Holm and Kayla Harrison, UFC 300 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

One of the biggest free agent signings in UFC history arrived in the octagon as part of Saturday’s monumental UFC 300, as Kayla Harrison faced off with ex-women’s bantamweight champ Holly Holm.

That is not hyperbole, for those who might be dubious of what Harrison means to the UFC. Harrison is quite literally the most decorated athlete the UFC has ever signed, a two-time gold medalist in Judo, and two-time champ in another major promotion after that. In comparison, the only other gold medal winners in UFC history have been Henry Cejudo and, if you really go back a ways, UFC 9’s Mark Schultz and four-time UFC heavyweight Kevin Jackson.

Harrison, at least as a professional mixed martial artist, has already outdone all but Cejudo. Were she to come out of Saturday’s contest with Holm victorious, she’d almost certainly be a lock for a title shot.

The fight got started with Harrison pumping the jab. She was feeling it out on her feet; as she moved in Holm clinched and Harrison executed a judo throw. There was so much momentum Holm reversed and got back to her feet. Still in the clinch Holm tried for a takedown but the base of Harrison was too strong and she landed on top.

In a comfortable position, Harrison was already landing heavy ground and pound. Harrison had wrist control and was using it to land heavy shots at Holm. Finally being able to use elbows (not allowed in the PFL season) she was making Holm feel it. Holm had her head stuck against the cage as Harrison continued to smash away. Holm did survive but never got up from off her back.

Round two, Holm was using her footwork well at first. Harrison did cut off the cage with a head kick and went into a front headlock. She didn’t get that but got the outside trip takedown right onto the back. The neck was exposed and Harrison snatched it up getting the tap shortly after.

Quite the debut from Harrison, who told Joe Rogan that whether it’s Raquel Pennington or Julianna Pena, she will will be champ by the end of the year.

Official Result: Kayla Harrison def. Holly Holm by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 1:47