The UFC has signed Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo and two-time PFL champion, to an exclusive contract, UFC CEO Dana White announced on Tuesday. She will face a former UFC and boxing champion in Holm at UFC 300 on April 13 in Las Vegas. The fight will take place at 135 pounds.
The UFC’s signing of Harrison (16-1) is major news in itself. Harrison, 33, has been the face of the PFL since her MMA debut in 2018. She has fought almost her entire career under the PFL banner, primarily at 155 pounds. Harrison’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN that Harrison has tested cutting weight in anticipation of a deal with the UFC and was pleased with the result.
“We’re extremely grateful for Kayla’s amazing career in the PFL,” Abdelaziz told ESPN. “She became the fighter she is now with their support. We are nothing but grateful to them and are excited to start a new chapter in the UFC.”
Holm, 42, is looking to make one last run at a UFC championship. She is officially 4-1 in her past five appearances, with the only loss coming against Ketlen Vieira by split decision in a fight Holm believed she should have won on the judges’ scorecards. She has two wins over the UFC’s newly crowned bantamweight champion, Raquel Pennington, in 2015 and 2020.
The winner could immediately enter title contention. Pennington is expected to face former champion Julianna Peña in her first defense, but the UFC has not made an official announcement.
Harrison, who trains out of American Top Team in Florida, spoke with the UFC as a free agent in late 2021 under very different circumstances. She had made it clear in the past she did not wish to cut a significant amount of weight, but her options at 145 and 155 pounds have been limited in recent years. The UFC has never promoted a 155-pound division.