PFL 8’s Marina Mokhnatkina: Inspired by Rousey, Says Opponent Leibrock “Lucky”

Featherweight Marina Mokhnatkina returns to action at PFL 8 this Friday, in a semifinal match-up with Amber Leibrock.

It has been business as usual ahead of the fight, Mokhnatkina (10-3) told Cageside Press ahead of the fight, with UFC heavyweight Serghei Spivac translating.

“I don’t change nothing, I just want to improve everything. In the striking, in the wrestling,” she stated. “I work a lot of this.”

Leibrock, who Cageside Press also spoke to ahead of the fight, noted that she spends a lot of time training with men. For starters, she never knows which girls she’s going to fight, and female featherweights aren’t exactly growing on trees.

“I can say the same about me, I train with the men,” Mokhnatkina said of the situation at her own gym. “We have a lot of people there, sometimes I train with girls, but when I started sports, Sambo, I trained always with the men. This is no problem for me.”

Mokhnatkina crossed over from Sambo, where she holds multiple gold medals, in 2016, and even doubled up for a time, competing in both sports. A familiar name motivated her to make the transition.

“I’m really motivated by Ronda Rousey, because her background is judo, she goes to MMA, and she was so perfect,” Mokhnatkina stated. “She showed everybody what she can do, she was UFC champion. I want to do the same. I like this choice.”

Along the way to the PFL, Mokhnatkina competed for Bellator MMA, but it has been this past season in the Professional Fighters League that has seen her biggest successes. She’s won four straight fights dating back to last year, and heads to the playoffs for the first time.

Still, said Mokhnatkina, “I’m not happy, because I can do better, I can show better. But I’m happy to be in the playoffs. I have the opportunity to show you guys a good fight, and what I can do.”

In Amber Leibrock, Mokhnatkina doesn’t seem to see much. In fact, she told us Leibrock has shown nothing at all in her own fights this season — despite a viral knockout finish set up with a head kick.

“Honestly, she don’t show nothing. First fight was the lucky punch. It’s not my opinion, a lot of people think about this,” Mokhnatkina suggested. “The second fight, she could show something but she don’t show nothing to nobody, because she lost this fight. No. Nothing.”

Watch our full interview with PFL 8 women’s featherweight Marina Mokhnatkina above. The event takes place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Friday, August 18, 2023.