Kayla Harrison has lived up to the hype so far.
Booked against an opponent that she was expected to run through, Harrison did just that, making quick work of Moriel Charneski (3-5) with her world class judo and improving ground-and-pound in their lightweight bout at PFL 2018 World Championship in New York on Monday. Harrison was in complete control on the ground, eventually taking Charneski’s back and punching her out at the 3:39 mark of round one.
Things went downhill fast for Charneski. After a brief opening standup exchange, Harrison simply marched forward and grabbed hold of Charneski to set up a judo throw.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist proceeded to full mount with ease and rained down punches on Charneski, who was durable, but ineffective.
Charneski managed to get up to her feet only to be thrown down and mounted again. This time, Harrison was able to establish back control and leave Charneski no way out other than for the referee to save her.
Post-fight, Harrison expressed disappointment in not getting the chance to show off her standup abilities.
“Gosh darn it, I’m trying not to be a judo player in a cage, but when you do something for 20 years, sometimes old habits are hard to break,” Harrison said. “... I want to be an MMA fighter, I want to be well-rounded”
With the win, Harrison improves to 3-0 as a professional, with all of those victories coming in 2018. The PFL also announced Monday that it will host a women’s lightweight tournament next year, and Harrison said she was “honored” to be a part of it.
“Hey guys, next year I’m gonna be a millionaire!”