Arguably one of the most interesting potential challenges in undefeated Professional Fighters League star Kayla Harrison’s career has just gone up in smoke.
The PFL’s broadcast partner of ESPN broke the news on Thursday night that Harrison (13-0) will no longer be taking on Julia Budd at PFL 6: 2022 Regular Season. In her place on short notice will be Kaitlin Young (12-12-1), who fought for the PFL in 2021 but did not qualify for a tournament berth. Budd suffered an undisclosed injury, and as a result, she has been eliminated from the women’s lightweight playoffs. With three points thanks to a previous walkover in her last bout, Budd could serve as an alternate if there is a need and she is healthy. Young confidently confirmed this news on her Instagram shortly after it came out.
Young will come into this battle on a losing streak and a flat record of .500, with 12 wins opposite 12 defeats and a 2012 draw with Leslie Smith interspersed among them. The former Invicta Fighting Championships competitor-turned matchmaker and WMMA pioneer Young has shifted from bantamweight to lightweight over the years, beating the likes of Miesha Tate, Julie Kedzie and Reina Miura in a career that began in 2007. “The Striking Viking” celebrates a knockout rate of 67% as a pro, with all but one of her stoppages coming in the first two rounds.
Two-time champ Harrison has not formally cinched a spot in the playoffs yet, as she claimed a unanimous decision over Marina Mokhnatkina to put an end to a five-fight stoppage streak that encompassed her whole million-dollar run in 2021. While Harrison became a restricted free agent after taking home the gold in the 2021 PFL Championships, she ultimately re-signed with PFL in hopes of capturing another $1 prize. The two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo will come into this pairing with a 77% finish rate under her belt.
Harrison vs. Young will serve as the new headliner of PFL 6: 2022 Regular Season on July 1, which will go down at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta. The co-headliner will see Rory MacDonald square off with Sadibou Sy at welterweight. Other key matchups on its main card include a pair of 170-pound tilts for former champs when Ray Cooper III faces Brett Cooper, while Magomed Magomedkerimov battles it out with Joao Zeferino.