Two-time defending PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison will face the toughest challenge of her career when she takes on former Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd in the main event of PFL 6 on July 1 in Atlanta, officials told ESPN on Wednesday.
In the co-main event, former Bellator welterweight champion and former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald will face Sadibou Sy.
ESPN has the undefeated Harrison, a two-time Olympic judo champion, ranked as the No. 9 pound-for-pound women’s MMA fighter in the world. Meanwhile, Budd lost to only three women in her pro career before signing with the PFL: Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey, three of the top female fighters of all time.
Harrison (13-0) is second in the PFL’s regular-season women’s lightweight standings with three points. The Ohio native, who lives and trains in Florida, beat Marina Mokhnatkina via unanimous decision at PFL 3 on May 6. Harrison, 31, had her finish streak snapped in that bout at five straight. She is the PFL’s biggest star, re-signing a lucrative deal with the promotion earlier this year that pays nearly seven figures per fight.
Budd (16-4) also has three points and sits in fifth place in the PFL standings. The Canadian fighter lost to Genah Fabian on May 6 but was awarded the three points due to Fabian’s weight miss. Budd, 36, had won 14 of 15 fights before the Fabian loss, with the only defeat in that stretch coming against Cyborg. Budd was the Bellator women’s featherweight champion from 2017 to 2020.
MacDonald (23-8-1) leads the PFL welterweight standings with six points, courtesy of a first-round submission win over Brett Cooper on May 6. The 32-year-old Canadian snapped a two-fight losing streak with the victory. Sy (10-6-2, 1 NC) has three points, fifth in the division, following a split-decision win over Nikolai Aleksakhin at PFL 3. The 35-year-old Swede has just one loss in his past five fights.
The PFL follows a regular-season and playoff format that is unique in professional mixed martial arts. League winners, by division, receive a $1 million prize at the end of the season.