Kayla Harrison and Larissa Pacheco met in the 2019 PFL League Lightweight Finals, with two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Harrison ultimately winning a million dollar check. With both fighters aiming to advance to this year’s playoff semifinals, Pacheco admits she is already eyeing a potential trilogy bout with Harrison.
Pacheco is 5-0 under the PFL against athletes not named Harrison, crossing Zamzagul Fayzallanova in 85 seconds in his first appearance this year, while the judoka kicked off this year’s season with a decision over Marina Mokhnatkina .
Pacheco and Harrison head into the cage on Friday against Genah Fabian and Kaitlin Young, respectively, and the Brazilian explained on this week’s MMA Fighting podcast. Trocação Franca what it would mean for her to go on a third date with Harrison.
“Kayla is not my opponent, like ‘I want to fight her,’ but she’s ahead of us,” Pacheco said. “She’s the champion, so I’m here to win and get this belt no matter what. [$1,000,000] price. It’s my job, it’s what I love to do. It’s my life, really. I’ve been doing this for 13 years, dedicating my life and time and sacrificing time with my family for a job that I love to do.
“I want to be recognized as one of the best fighters. I also want to make MMA history. Beating Kayla will strengthen my name as she is currently the best in the 155-pound division. I want to win, that’s what I’m here for. If she’s in front of me, I’m going to beat her.
Pacheco has met Harrison twice in 2019, with Pacheco being the only MMA fighter to take the American Top Team star for a decision ahead of the current 2022 season. The opener was Pacheco’s first under the PFL banner and his lightweight debut after a failed run as a featherweight on The Ultimate Fighter 28. The rematch took place seven months later, after beating Bobbi Jo Dalziel and Sarah Kaufman, and Pacheco recalls having health issues related to poor weight loss.
Regarding the ‘overdone’ hype around America’s Top Team star, Pacheco believes it makes no sense to call Harrison one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA, let alone. to mention his name in a discussion about the sport as a whole. great of the time.
“Too much marketing, way too much marketing,” Pacheco said. “Most of the time she won against inexperienced girls. I think it’s just a lot of marketing because she’s the standard of beauty, that standard that all Americans love and the world must love too because she is just too good. They deify her too much, but she’s just a judoka. She does perfectly what she has done all her life, which is judo. We cannot deny it. But, in all other aspects of MMA, MMA being a sport that mixes all martial arts, its game is weak.
“She only does one thing. She could do it perfectly, but that’s all she does. His fights are boring, they’re not interesting to watch. The problem is, they have all this marketing on her, deifying this athlete. But I don’t think she’s the best pound for pound in the world. There are athletes who are 1,000 times better than her. In fact, I think my game is much better than his. I go out there and fight and deliver no matter if I get punched or kicked or taken down. I go out there and give it my all because that’s what people want to see. We don’t go to an MMA event to see people studying themselves all the time. We go there to watch the fighting. It’s been like this since the beginning of time, when people were thrown into an arena to fight.
“I think she talks too much,” Pacheco continued. “I don’t know if her mind is weak and she has to keep saying things to feel better about herself but I don’t think she beats Amanda. [Nunes] Where [Cris] Cyborg. She’ll have to do that boring game, grab and take [them] down, but I don’t think she’s got what it takes [to win]. I don’t think she can beat these two top athletes, who have a well-balanced game and a lot more experience than her.
Pacheco was pulled from the 2021 playoffs after failing to make weight for a matchup with Taylor Guardado. She said these issues on the scale are a thing of the past after working with a psychologist. After sharing the PFL cage with Harrison for eight rounds, Pacheco believes he learned a thing or two that will make the difference if they meet again later this year.
“If we go to the floor, which I think she will try to do, I’m preparing to block that and defend her takedowns,” Pacheco said. “I believe in my hands. I think I’m quite capable of knocking him out.