Kayla Harrison signs on for PFL women’s lightweight tournament in 2019

PFL will expand its operation in 2019 with an inaugural women’s lightweight tournament that will include its biggest female star, Kayla Harrison.

Harrison (2-0), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, won two “special attraction” bouts during PFL’s regular season to kick off her MMA career earlier this year. She won both with ease, and now a tournament for her weight class will occur next season.

A PFL official confirmed to MMAjunkie that Harrison has signed a new deal with the organization. PFL President Carlos Silva told ESPN.com that he’s excited for what’s ahead.

“We’re super excited to continue working with Kayla,” Silva said. “We’re going to go ahead and add a seventh weight division to our format. It’s going to operate the same as the men’s divisions have in 2018. We thought it was a smart weight for some of these women to compete at.”

A start date for the 155-pound tournament has not been made official, but it will happen in 2019. The debut season is still ongoing, with the playoffs set to kick off Oct. 5 in New Orleans. Fighters from six different weight classes are vying for a $1 million prize in each division.

The 155-pound division is among the thinnest of the women’s weight classes in the sport. How many fighters will be signed for the tournament is unknown.

Regardless, Harrison told ESPN.com she intends to fight five or six times next year. That would give the 28-year-old a nice start to her career, and if she wins them all, it could be the perfect building block to her desired matchup against UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (22-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC).

“I think next year will give me a lot of time to grow and change,” Harrison said. “By the end of next year, I’ll be 8-0, undefeated through a regular season and playoffs. I think PFL will have a great opportunity to say to Cyborg, ‘Hey, why don’t you come over here?’ We’ll have ourselves a real exciting tournament.”

For more on the PFL schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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