Training hard ahead of the 2023 PFL Championship this November, Larissa Pacheco admits that her match-up with Marina Mokhnatkina was something she “saw coming.”
Speaking to Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview, 2022 women’s lightweight champ Pacheco (22-4) said that “when the last fights happened, [my] prediction against Amber [Leibrock] was for Marina to win. So we’re well prepared, and we’re getting back to work in training.”
Last year it was lightweight, this year the shot at gold comes in the newly launched women’s featherweight division. Which means that, should she win, Pacheco will be a two-time PFL champion and a dual-weight champion, which would be a major feat regardless of promotion.
“It would be amazing to start the new year with two belts, champion in two weight categories,” Pacheco stated, asked about what the opportunity means to her. “And really, it would be amazing to be [regarded] as the face of PFL, the first ever two-division champion, two weight categories, and still fighting. Still very, very active. This sort of thing will open up doors, open up possibilities, new opportunities in the fight game for [me].”
Larissa Pacheco kicked down the door to at least some of those possibilities when she defeated promotional darling Kayla Harrison in the lightweight final last year. Moving forward, there’s a chance the pair could meet again as the league launches its Super-Fight division.
“Definitely, super-fight division sounds amazing. There’s loads of amazing athletes in that. But beyond that, yes it would be great to be recognized and become the two-time champion, and we want both the respect and the value,” said Pacheco, who noted that she wants to fight for what she’s worth, “and that’s a nice number.”
When it comes to Harrison, the Brazilian questioned whether her rival was still in the sport — turns out she is. Harrison was recently booked into a fight with Julia Budd.
There’s another big fight potentially looming as well. Talk of the PFL purchasing Bellator MMA means that Cris Cyborg could end up under the same promotional banner as Pacheco. For years, there has been talk of Harrison vs. Cyborg. Even with Pacheco having defeated Kayla Harrison, the talk has mainly centered on those two fighters.
Pacheco, however, believes she’s the one who deserves the opportunity to fight the legendary Cyborg.
“In regards to the possibility of PFL buying Bellator, that would bring amazing possibilities. And yes, Cyborg would come on board and she comes with an amazing personalty, amazing reputation. She’s a legend here in Brazil, that needs to be respected.” Pacheco added that she is the champion, and fingers crossed, by next year will be a two-division champion. “So hype aside, give the fight to who deserves it.”
Watch our full interview with PFL 2023 women’s featherweight finalist Larissa Pacheco above.