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Kayla Harrison wins second straight PFL lightweight title, $1 million payday

Kayla Harrison’s dominance in MMA continued on Wednesday night as she defeated Taylor Guardado by second-round arm bar submission to claim her second consecutive PFL lightweight championship. The win, once again, earned her $1 million.

“I just feel way more grateful,” Harrison said. “I realize that nothing in this world is given, you have to earn it all. I’m blessed and lucky that I work hard every day.”

Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, has cruised in nearly every round she’s been part of since becoming a professional fighter in June 2018. It was the case again in the 2021 title fight with Guardado.

Throughout the fight, Harrison took control in either full or half mount and rained down heavy blows from above. This occurred midway through the second round until Harrison transitioned to the arm bar attempt, causing her opponent to tap.

In the co-main event, Ray Cooper III also claimed his second straight PFL welterweight title with a brutal third-round, right-hand knockout of Magomed Magomedkerimov. His opponent appeared close to a finish himself moments before but Cooper reversed roles, landing two hard rights that sent Magomedkerimov down.

Cooper and Harrison are both free agents and could explore other promotions next.

Elsewhere on the card, Claressa Shields dropped her first-ever fight in either boxing or MMA on Wednesday night, losing to Abigail Montes via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in the Professional Fighters League. Shields, arguably the best female boxer in the world, recently added mixed martial arts to her portfolio and competed for just the second time tonight in Florida. She was 11-0 as a boxer and 1-0 in MMA entering her matchup with Montes.

Shields likely took the first round after landing one heavy combination on Montes before the fight went to the clinch and nothing significant occurred after. The final two rounds showed Shields’ inexperience on the mat as Montes took her down multiple times to land heavy ground-and-pound.

(Photo courtesy of the PFL)

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