Kayla Harrison was a master of the impossible on Thursday night. She moved one step closer to her second consecutive $1 million title in the PFL playoffs.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka remained undefeated at MMA, with a first round TKO of Genah Fabian in Hollywood, Florida's women's lightweight semifinal.
Harrison (11-0), was in control right from the beginning, or at least until around 45 seconds into each bout. Harrison took control of the bout and locked Fabian in a clinch against her cage. Fabian, a Muay Thai kickboxing champion, was able stay on her feet for more than a minute. However, Harrison had her on her back by the middle of the round and was in side control.
Harrison, the 2019 PFL champion, moved into full-mount and started dropping big punches, until referee Andrew Glenn intervened to stop the fight at 4:01, 1 second of Round 1.
"Listen, everybody keeps saying, Oh, how can you solve the Kayla Harrison puzzle?" ... Spoiler alert! There is no fricking mystery," Harrison said. "I put you on my back and I mess up."
Harrison, who trains at American Top Team near Coconut Creek, was able to make Fabian look bad in just one round. She also built a 66-0 advantage in striking. She will next turn her anger at Taylor Guardado who won a spot in the Oct. 27 final after defeating Mariana Morais, an alternate 155-pound semifinalist. Harrison is the No. 2 seed, Guardado No. 3. Morais was the late replacement for No. Larissa Pacheco was the No. 1 seed, but she lost weight Wednesday.
Harrison said, "I told them: One by one they're all going to fall." "So, don't be fooled now. But I'm going to show you how great and amazing I am."
Fabian, a 31-year old New Zealander, trains at City Kickboxing. This is where two UFC champions are located -- middleweight Israel Adesanya, and featherweight Alexander Volkanovski. Fabian often referred to this gym pedigree as his best hope in the days leading up to Thursday's fight. Harrison didn't buy it.
Harrison said, "You kept talking to scientists -- oh! the scientists at City Kickboxing." "Izzy couldn’t stop me taking downs."
Thursday's semifinals set up the PFL heavyweight final, in which Ante Delija vs. Bruno Cappelozza. Cappelozza was eliminated by No. Jamelle Jones, the 4th seed, won in round 2. Delija, No. The No. 3 seed defeated Denis Goltsov in a unanimous decision.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood will host the finals of six weight classes in the PFL. They will also be broadcast on ESPN2. The finals for the welterweight, lightweight and semi-finals were determined last week. The featherweight and light heavyweight semifinals will take place on Aug. 27.