PFL 2 2023: Competitive Fight Sees Larissa Pacheco Get Past Julia Budd

Larissa Pacheco PFL 2
Larissa Pacheco, PFL 2 Ceremonial Weigh-ins at the The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada, Thursday, April 6, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

PFL 2022 women’s lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco kicked off her 2023 campaign at PFL 2 on Friday — returning to the featherweight division against former Bellator champ Julia Budd.

With the promotion doing away with lightweight in favor of the 145lb division for women, Pacheco was looking to become the first-ever double-champ in PFL history. Step one, get past Canada’s Budd in Las Vegas.

The lightweight champ, who competed at 145 and even bantamweight outside the PFL, came out firing in her return to featherweight, walking Budd down and leaving the Canadian with her back to the fence. A combination, and later a high kick, came from Pacheco; Budd blocked, moved, but was generally stalked in the early going. Pacheco was firing 1-2s, mixing in kicks, and sitting down on at least a few of her punches.

Budd, meanwhile, wasn’t getting much offence going, and couldn’t seem to get her head off the centerline. Near the midway mark, however, Budd shot a takedown off a combination, timing it perfectly and landing the attempt. Pacheco looked to lock in an arm-bar off her back, but Budd deftly extricated herself from harm’s way.

Pacheco would work her way back to the fence, but Budd would spend the second half of the round on top, after looking out-matched in the first half.

Round two saw Budd putting Pacheco against the cage, using her strength to tie up the Brazilian and land knees. When she could not get Pacheco down, Budd backed up, with the pair returning to center. From there, Pacheco walked Budd down much as she did in the opening round. She fired combinations while Budd shelled up, but not much was getting through; Budd, meanwhile, answered with a right hand that connected.

After a couple more exchanges, Budd changed levels and landed a takedown — only for Pacheco to reverse and get on top! Pacheco sat in side control; Budd looked to use a kimura to regain dominant position; when that failed, Pacheco wound up in half-guard, though she nearly made her way to mount by the end of the round.

Early in round three, Pacheco appeared to have hurt Julia Budd — but the lightweight champ didn’t seem to recognize it, and failed to capitalize. The pair wound up tied up against the cage, Pacheco working on a body lock. When they did go to the ground, however, it was Budd on top. She looked to land ground n’ pound while Pacheco fired strikes from her back, with considerable success. Creating a bit of space, Pacheco was able to sweep, getting on top.

With under a minute remaining, Pacheco looked for an arm-triangle choke. With Budd close to the fence, however, Pacheco didn’t have enough space to step over and finish the submission. Instead, she’d move Budd away from the cage and finish the round ripping the body while on top.

The scorecards favored Larissa Pacheco, but she was given a decent test by Julia Budd, who at the very least held her own in the bout.

Official Result: Larissa Pacheco def. Julia Budd by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)


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