PFL are set to make history in 2019 when they become the first mainstream MMA organization to create an entire division for women competing in the 155-pound lightweight division.
The organization intends to host a tournament for the division in 2019 and have confirmed the first competitor will be Olympic Gold Medallist, Kayla Harrison (2-0).
Harrison may be just two fights into her career, however the Olympic Gold Medallist has taken out two experienced veterans in those fights. This past June, she took out Brittney Elkin, a woman who is a BJJ specialist and owns a notable win over Bellator’s Gabrielle Holloway. Then this past August she took out Jozette Cotton, a woman who’s defeated some of the greats at 155-pounds and above, including capturing the DCS lightweight title in September 2017 after taking out number-four ranked Sarah Patterson.
The Olympian was receiving a huge amount of hype even prior to her professional MMA debut thanks to a successful Judo career which saw her win the 2010 World Championships, gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and gold at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games. Many are tipping Harrison for superstardom, much like fellow Olympic Medalist and former training partner, Ronda Rousey. It seems as though Harrison is living up to the hype, and has already made her mark as queen of the women’s lightweight division in just her second fight.
Harrison may be the only fighter confirmed for the tournament as of yet, however WMMA Rankings takes a look at ten women who could be set to join her.
Ediane Gomes – 11-4-0
Invicta FC Veteran
A look on social media will show you that 37-year-old Gomes has made it no secret that she wants the fight against Kayla Harrison. The Brazilian is an Invicta FC veteran who has finished eight of her eleven career wins, seven submissions and one knockout. Gomes has most recently been competing at featherweight, but perhaps she’ll opt to cut less weight and make the move up to lightweight in a bid to be the woman to beat Kayla Harrison and become a dominant force in PFL’s new division.
Bobbi-Jo Dalziel – 3-0-0
Undefeated, 2016 win over Jozette Cotton
This undefeated Canadian is an example of a woman who has exclusively competed at 155-pounds and is unlikely to make the featherweight limit. To date she is the only fighter, other than Kayla Harrison, to have ever beaten number-two ranked lightweight, Jozette Cotton. The 6-foot knockout artist has ended two of her three victories by way of brutal KO stoppages, one via head kick, and the other being knees from the clinch. Dalziel hasn’t fought since 2016 but tells WMMA Rankings that this is due to organization’s refusing to book her rather than reluctance to fight. With PFL opening up the 155-pound division, will Dalziel finally find an organization to call home?
Jozette Cotton – 8-2-0
Number-two ranked lightweight
‘The #1 Headbusta’ will be familiar to fans of PFL, having made her debut for the organization this past August in a losing effort to Kayla Harrison. Cotton has been competing at 155-pounds and above since 2012, finishing half her career victories by way of knockouts including two which came in the very first-round. In September of 2017, Cotton made history by defeating Sarah Patterson to claim the inaugural Dynasty Combat Sports women’s lightweight title.
Alexis Dufresne – 6-3-0
UFC & Bellator MMA Veteran
The ‘Sneaky Zebra’ currently fights for Bellator MMA as a featherweight but has missed the 146-pound weight limit on multiple occasions. Perhaps like Brittney Elkin, also on this list, Dufresne could be granted a release from the organization in order to compete for PFL in a weight-class which she can consistently and comfortably make weight. The 28-year-old has finished all her career wins and owns a notable 2016 first-round submission win over WMMA pioneer, Marloes Coenen.
Roberta Samad – 4-1-0
Bellator MMA Veteran
Samad has made plenty of call-outs for Kayla Harrison on social media and after Harrison’s latest victory stated “I’m not impressed with her“. Also known as ‘The Crusher’, Samad hasn’t fought since 2015 after losing a unanimous decision to reigning Bellator MMA champ, Julia Budd. Could Samad be set to sign with PFL in a bid to claim the lightweight throne?
Moriel Charneski – 3-4-0
Number-three ranked lightweight
This 29-year-old made her MMA return and lightweight debut this past December, her first professional bout in 16 months, following a period in which she was competing in kickboxing and BJJ competitions. The 28-year-old had put on size and strength and believes 155-pounds is the weight-class in which she can show her true potential. She certainly proved it in her first showing, getting the upset win over top-five ranked Sarah Patterson.
Sarah Patterson – 5-4-0
Number-four ranked lightweight
‘Primal’ has been competing as a professional mixed martial artist since the year of 2002 and is a veteran of the women’s 155-pound division. She has won four of her last six, which includes first-round stoppages over Tamikka Brents, Erica Grover and Kate Bloomfield. Earlier this year she tried out for TUF 28 and was praised on social media by Cris Cyborg for her ground control.
Brittney Elkin – 3-5-0
Number-six ranked lightweight, Bellator MMA Veteran
Elkin, a fan-favorite of the women’s lightweight division, was released from her Bellator MMA contract earlier this year in order to move back up to her natural weight-class of 155-pounds and take on Kayla Harrison. She owns a notable 2015 decision win over Gabrielle Holloway, as well as a 2016 first-round knockout against Kola Shippentower. Over the past few years, Elkin has regularly been competing in submission grappling contests, in which she has enjoyed great success and won a world title.
Kristine Ion-Rood – 1-0-0
Number-five ranked welterweight+
Ion-Rood made her professional debut this past March as a welterweight, earning herself the verbal submission win over Imari Claude. Much like UFC star Marion Reneau, 47-year-old Ion-Rood is a firm believer of “age is just a number” and is constantly proving it in inside the cage. Prior to her recent professional debut, Ion-Rood was enjoying success in the amateur circuit and in her final showing before turning professional, picked up a 19-second submission win over her opponent. The boxer from Iowa has picked up the grappling aspect of MMA very fast and is confident she will continue to have the same success as a professional. Although she competed at welterweight in her professional debut, Ion-Rood is open to competing at lightweight and regularly did so as an Hiamateur.
Genah Fabian – 1-0-0
Highly-accomplished Kickboxing and Muay-Thai competitor
Australia’s Fabian made her professional MMA debut back in September 2015, competing as a lightweight and defeating Joanne Obolevics in the second round via TKO. Fabian is possibly the most dangerous stand-up striker who has competed at 155-pounds. She has trained with the best in Thailand and is actively competing in muay-thai, in which she is enjoying continued success. Last year she earned a notable knockout win over Charmaine Tweet With a big organization such as PFL offering a stage for women at 155-pounds, perhaps 2018 will be the year Fabian makes the serious transition from kickboxing to MMA on a more regular basis.
Katja Vukovic – 1-0-0
Number-nine ranked lightweight
Social Media: Instagram
Judith Ruis – 4-3-0
Number-five ranked lightweight
Social Media: N/A
Katharina Albinus – 2-5-0
Number-seven ranked lightweight
Social Media: Twitter
Fight fans, who would you like to see compete in PFL’s upcoming women’s 155-pound lightweight division? Let us know in the comments section below.