This week, featherweight and women’s lightweight contenders do battle in the PFL Smart Cage for the final spots in this fall’s PFL 10: Championships card, scheduled to be held on Black Friday, Nov. 25 at a to-be-determined host venue.
Barring any postponements between now and Saturday, PFL 9 will feature 13 fights, including all semifinal fights, showcase bouts, and PFL Europe qualifiers for the inaugural PFL Europe season next year.
Kayla Harrison Returns for Women’s Lightweight Semifinal in PFL 9 Main Event
Capping the main card on Saturday (2 pm ET/ 11 am PT, ESPN+) is the last fight of the semifinal round as two-time defending PFL Women’s Lightweight Champion and No. 2 seed Kayla Harrison (14-0 MMA, 2-0 PFL 2022, nine points in the standings) meets No. 3 seed Martina Jindrova (6-2 MMA, 2-0 PFL 2022, nine points in the standings) in the PFL 9 main event.
As with all PFL fights up to the end of the semifinals, Saturday’s main event will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round.
The winner of the PFL 9 main event will advance to PFL 10: Championships over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, where she’ll face off against the winner of the 1 vs. 4 contest at 155 lbs. between Larissa Pacheco (17-4 MMA, 2-0 PFL 2022, 12 points in the standings) and Olena Kolesnyk (7-4 MMA, 2-0 PFL 2022, nine points in the standings) for the title at 155 lbs.
PFL 9 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the PFL 9 main event, both Kayla Harrison and Martina Jindrova stand level at 5-foot-8, so it’ll be in the reach advantage category where these two competitors gain some separation.
Jindrova owns a two-inch reach advantage (68 inches to 66 inches) over Harrison, who has a three-inch leg reach advantage (41 inches to 38 inches) over Jindrova.
ESPY-Nominated Kayla Harrison Just Getting Started
Kayla Harrison enters the PFL 9 main event on Saturday having yet to lose thus far in her MMA career, scoring a first-round knockout victory against Kaitlyn Young (12-13-1 MMA, 0-2 PFL 2022, zero points in the standings) hours before the former’s 32nd birthday on the night of July 1 during PFL 6.
The nomination was important for both Harrison and the category as a whole, since her nod was the first time that a fighter from a promotion other than the UFC was up for the award.
Harrison knows there’s still more work yet to be done, as she stated after her knockout a month and a half ago.
“Sometimes, I talk a little bit of smack and I say it’s the Kayla show, but that’s how you have to believe,” she said. “That’s how you have to feel when you’re an MMA fighter stepping in a cage with another human being. You have to have that kind of confidence in order to go out there and compete at your very best.”
Her next assignment comes this weekend in the PFL 9 main event, so can she keep up her winning ways on Saturday?
Martina Jindrova: From PFL Challenger Series to PFL Championship?
In the other corner, Martina Jindrova has posted a 3-2 record in her last five fights and is currently on a three-fight winning streak.
Additionally, all three of those wins have come under the PFL banner.
Last time out, she stopped Zamzagul Fayzillanova (7-3 MMA, 0-2 PFL 2022, zero points in the standings) by first-round knockout due to ground and pound shots on July 1 during PFL 6 to stake claim to the No. 3 seed in the bracket.
After her victory last month, Jindrova was interviewed by PFL blow-by-blow commentator Sean O’Connell, where she called out the woman that she hoped she’d be fighting on Saturday.
“Maybe Larissa Pacheco,” Jindrova said.
While she won’t be facing Larissa Pacheco on Saturday, Martina Jindrova is just one fight away from a bid at a guaranteed $1 million (USD) prize on Nov. 25 during PFL 10.
At this time a year ago, Martina Jindrova wasn’t even so much as on the PFL’s radar, securing a contract for this season about five months ago, having won by split decision against Jacqueline Cavalcante (3-1 MMA) during the March 5 PFL Challenger Series 3 event.
Now, she hopes to end Kayla Harrison’s unbeaten streak this weekend.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the PFL 9 main event looks to favor Kayla Harrison, an Olympic gold medalist in Judo, compared to Martina Jindrova, a former kickboxer, and Muay-Thai fighter.
Watch For Kayla Harrison’s Submissions
Anyone who’s watched a Kayla Harrison fight before knows full well that she can be vicious with her submissions, as she was against Cindy Dandois in the regular season finale last year.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Harrison opened things up with a kick to the body followed by a straight left-handed punch, and although Dandois attempted to land a single-leg takedown, Harrison was able to reverse it and unload with nasty ground and pound shots to try and soften her up for a submission.
At that point, she passed to side control, grappling with Dandois briefly before landing more ground and pound shots, and it was only a matter of time before Harrison scored another left-handed punch to knock Dandois down, landing another burst of ground and pound shots before finally locking in an armbar with under 20 seconds left in the round.
If Harrison is able to land just a single takedown, it could be the opening she needs to try a submission.
Martina Jindrova Can End PFL 9 Main Event in a Hurry
In the other corner, Martina Jindrova has been known to end fights quickly, as happened versus Inga Kaledaite during IAF 1 in October of 2019.
Although the fight was scheduled for three rounds, Jindrova needed less than one minute to get the job done, landing a vicious punch to knock Kaledaite down, landing serious ground and pound shots afterward.
The referee gave Kaledaite every effort to try and defend against those punches, but it was too much to withstand, as the fight was called off after just 47 blistering seconds.
All Martina Jindrova will need to punch her ticket to the title fight on Nov. 25 is land a single punch to knock Harrison down, giving her the momentum to complete the upset of the year in MMA.
At the core, the PFL 9 main event looks to be a classic strength vs. strength matchup, so one last question remains:
Who will show up stronger on Saturday?
Prediction: Kayla Harrison by Unanimous Decision.
Featured image credits to Professional Fighters League