Mariana Morais reflects on COVID delaying her PFL dream for a year ahead of huge Kayla Harrison fight

Brazil’s Mariana Morais is set to compete in what many believe is the biggest fight of her professional MMA career thus far. She will take on the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Judoka Kayla Harrison.

Mariana Morais is set to fight Kayla Harrison in a lightweight bout that’ll serve as the co-main event of the PFL’s 2021 season’s PFL 3 fight card. PFL 3 (May 6th, 2021) will be headlined by a heavyweight bout between former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum and Renan Ferreira.

We caught up with Mariana Morais at the PFL 3 press conference ahead of her all-important fight. Our conversation with her unfolded as follows:

Sportskeeda: Hi, Mariana. James McGlade here from Sportskeeda. Happy birthday to you. I wanted to ask how exciting was it to qualify for the season? And contrastingly, how disappointing was it to have to wait a year to compete?

Mariana Morais: Thank you so much for your birthday wishes. Yeah, I mean, before this season, before I got the contract with the PFL through the IQS, I was in doubt and I was upset with some of my performances; pretty irregular on my side. But with the grand prix, with the IQS in Brazil, I would get two wins and that put me in great momentum to come in for that 2020 (PFL) season. Then, unfortunately, the pandemic hit, and the season got canceled. So, it was frustrating at first, and then leading up to that, I wasn’t necessarily able to train as much as I wanted due to the closure of our gyms and everything else back home. But things started to get back to regular and opened back up a little bit more in recent times. And that’s why I’ve been able to train and to get to where I want to be.

Sportskeeda: Okay, thanks Mariana. Good luck.

Mariana Morais faces Judo phenom Kayla Harrison at PFL 3

Mariana Morais last competed in March 2020, fighting twice on the same day and winning the Shooto Brazil: Grand Prix to earn the right to fight in the PFL. Morais defeated Dayana Silva via split decision and then defeated Bianca Daimoni via first-round KO. Both fights were contested at lightweight.

On the other hand, Judo phenom Kayla Harrison last competed in November 2020. Harrison fought at Invicta FC 43 and defeated Courtney King via second-round TKO. This fight was contested at featherweight.

Presently, the 2019 PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison is set to return to lightweight and compete against Mariana Morais in the PFL women’s lightweight tournament. The winner of this fight will compete in three more fights in the tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a $1 million prize and become the 2021 PFL women’s lightweight champion.


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Mariana Morais reflects on COVID delaying her PFL dream for a year ahead of huge Kayla Harrison fight