(Editor’s Note: This report was revised at 5:35 p.m. ET to include information from an official press release from PFL.)
Harrison (15-1 MMA, 14-1 PFL) was set to face Julia Budd at the final PFL event of 2023 on Nov. 24 at The Anthem in Washington. According to a press release from PFL, Budd (17-6 MMA, 2-3 PFL) was removed from the bout after she “refused to fulfill her contractual obligation.”
Luckily for Harrison, she will get to keep her planned fight date as UFC veteran Aspen Ladd has stepped up on short notice. The new matchup will be a catchweight bout at 150 pounds, according to the press release. Prior to the official statement from PFL, three people with knowledge of the situation confirmed the news with MMA Junkie. One person told MMA Junkie that contracts were issued.
Ladd (11-4 MMA, 2-1 PFL) was one of the PFL’s biggest additions in 2022. She debuted with the promotion last year, where she won a split decision over Budd at 2022 PFL Championship. In 2023, Ladd dropped a majority decision against Olena Kolesnyk, but rebounded nicely with a second-round armbar submission against Karolina Sobek. She now will fill in to face one of the toughest tests the PFL has to offer.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Harrison will be competing for the first time since suffering the first setback of her pro MMA career. At 2022 PFL Championship, she lost a unanimous decision to Larissa Pacheco in their third meeting. The 2021 PFL lightweight champion is expected to be featured as a part of PFL’s pay-per-view model in 2024.
With the change, the current 2023 PFL Championships lineup includes:
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Clay Collard – for lightweight championship
Renan Ferreira vs. Denis Goltsov – for heavyweight championship
Larissa Pacheco vs. Marina Mokhnatkina – for women’s featherweight championship
Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Sadibou Sy – for welterweight championship
Impa Kasanganay vs. Josh Silveira – for light heavyweight championship
Kayla Harrison vs. Aspen Ladd
Derek Brunson vs. Ray Cooper III
Gabriel Braga vs. Jesus Pinedo
Biaggio Ali Walsh vs. Joel Galarza Lopez – amateur bout
Bubba Jenkins vs. Chris Wade
Phil Caracappa vs. Khai Wu
Josh Blyden vs. Jesse Stirn
For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2023 PFL Championship.