Jorge Masvidal was surprised to see American Top Team teammate Kayla Harrison suffer her first MMA loss this past Friday, but he still believes big things should be in Harrison’s future.
Harrison dropped a unanimous decision to Larissa Pacheco in the lightweight finals and main event of the PFL World Championship event in New York City. While “Gamebred” was thoroughly impressed with the underdog Pacheco, Masvidal chalks it up to Harrison having a rough night at the office against an opponent she already had two decisive wins over in 2019.
“A big part of me is stunned, a big part of me was like this is the third time she fought this girl, she beat her twice very convincingly, so I don’t want to take anything away from [Pacheco],’” Masvidal told MMA Fighting. “Pacheco’s a stud, she came out to win, and to f****** beat somebody that beat you twice, you have to deal with a lot of mental adversity and stuff like that.
“But as far as Kayla goes with the upset, I don’t know. Maybe her beating her a third time wasn’t as motivating. Obviously, I would like to see them fight again. I still walked away feeling like Kayla was the better fighter. It just wasn’t her night.”
Masvidal’s MMA promotion iKON FC will return with their sixth event of 2022 this Friday with iKON FC 6 just outside of Orlando, Fla., which can be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
As far as Harrison’s performance, Masvidal believes Harrison could’ve done more to get the judges on her side, but still feels there’s a case to be made for Harrison to have gotten the nod.
“It’s debatable that [Kayla] won that fight,” Masvidal said. “She was on top, she was controlling. She wasn’t doing damage and stuff like that, but other [judges] would’ve just gave it to her just for being on top. Going into that fifth round, they were neck and neck, two to two.
“Obviously I’m biased because she’s my teammate, a good friend, and I’ve known her since the start of her career in MMA, but some would say she won that [final] round — she took her down, got on top, but she wasn’t landing shots, so that could’ve helped a little more to sway the judges if she threw some bombs. But I still think it was a great fight, a close fight.”
Harrison revealed on The MMA Hour prior to the PFL World Championship that she has two fights remaining on her PFL deal and won’t be participating in the season format in 2023. With the PFL beginning their Super Fight pay-per-view events in 2023, it will be likely Harrison will compete in that format until her current deal runs out.
Moving forward — with all respect to Pacheco — Masvidal hopes to see Harrison in the biggest fights possible, perhaps against current Bellator women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg.
“I want to see her involved in the biggest fights now,” Masvidal explained. “I don’t want to diss Pacheco because she’s a beast, she’s a stud, and she’s a dog, but I do want to see Kayla — and I know she’s coming off of a loss — get in there with the big girls in the sport.
“Kayla Harrison vs. Brazil’s finest for that Bellator strap or something like that. That would be freaking sick. I just want to see Kayla involved in big fights, really.”