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Racquel Pennington expects Kayla Harrison to be exposed in the UFC

LockerRoom Team
02 February 2024

The UFC women’s bantamweight division is set for a potential shake-up at the highly anticipated UFC 300 event in April, with the promotion's latest signing, Kayla Harrison, facing off against former champion Holly Holm.

This debut holds significance beyond being Harrison's first octagon appearance, as the PFL veteran, accustomed to competing at 145 pounds, faces the challenge of cutting weight for the first time in her 17-fight career (16-1). While the weight cut is expected to be a hurdle, the shift in competition level adds another layer to the challenge, given Holm's seasoned experience.

Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, is transitioning from her successful run in the PFL, where she claimed two lightweight titles. Raquel Pennington, the current UFC bantamweight champion, who has faced Holm twice, anticipates an adjustment period for Harrison in the premier MMA organization.

Pennington shared her thoughts on Sirius XM’s Unlocking the Cage, saying, “I feel like, as far as coming into the UFC, a lot of athletes haven’t truly been challenged, and I feel like she hasn’t truly been challenged in the PFL. To now come in and have this platform, that’s going to give her a run for her money for sure. She has a huge hype following her, but I think she’s going to be exposed a little bit. First and foremost, the hardest part of this is making the weight.”

Despite being 42 years old, Holm remains a notable presence in the 135-pound weight class. Known for her striking prowess with a background in boxing and kickboxing, Holm faced a setback in her last outing against Mayra Bueno Silva. However, the result was overturned to a no contest after Bueno Silva failed a drug test for Ritalin.

ALSO READ | Amanda Nunes reacts to Kayla Harrison vs. Holly Holm

Pennington, the only fighter to face Holm twice, acknowledges the potential dangers for Harrison in this matchup. “I feel like Holly is at a point in her career where she’s older, and I don’t mean that in any bad way, but things get tough when you get older as an athlete. It takes a different toll on your body and stuff, and she’s been around for a very long time. I feel like her last few fights, she hasn’t had that ‘it’ anymore. She’s been battling different injuries and stuff, and it just feels like she’s on her way out. But I feel like if Holly actually brings back the Holly that first came into the UFC and strikes with Kayla, it’s not going to go Kayla’s direction at all.”

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