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PFL unveils women’s lightweight division roster

PFL unveils women’s lightweight division roster

The Professional Fighters League unveiled its roster for the women’s lightweight division on Friday. The weight class will have eight competitors squaring off in hopes of winning $1 million at the end of the season. Kayla Harrison, an undefeated MMA prospect who is also a two-time United States Olympic judo gold medalist, will return for her second year with the promotion.

Sarah Kaufman (20-4), a former Invicta FC and Strikeforce bantamweight champion, will also fight in the division. The Canadian, moving up in weight from 135 pounds to 155 pounds, also fought three times in UFC, most recently a loss against current flyweight titleholder Valentina Shevchenko in 2015.

“PFL is the only major MMA organization with a women’s lightweight division,” PFL president Ray Sefo said in a statement. “Fans are going to love this talented group of women athletes competing for a world title and the $1 million prize. Kayla Harrison is a US household name and the favorite heading into the season, but she’ll be facing strong competition from around the world, including top fighters from Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and Russia who want to enforce their will in the cage.”

Joining Harrison and Kaufman will be Genah Fabian, Bobbi Jo Dalziel, Svetlana Khautova, Roberta Samad, Larissa Pacheco and Morgan Frier.

The PFL is different from other organizations such as the UFC, Bellator and ONE Championship in that it is a full season instead of individual fights. Competitors gain points for wins and bonus points for early finishes, providing an incentive to knock out or submit opponents rather than let it go to a decision. Those with the most points at the end of the regular season move on to the playoffs.

The winner of each division earns $1 million.

PFL CEO Peter Murray is excited about bringing fans a new group of fighters to follow.

“As we continue to elevate our roster and reimagine the sport, we are proud to introduce the first-ever women’s 155-pound division,” Murray said. “These athletes are breaking down barriers every day, and through our unique-to-the-sport season format, fans will be able to follow their journeys and engage in their stories from PFL regular-season kick-off May 9 to PFL Championship New Year’s Eve.”