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Larissa Pacheco thinks she has the upper hand over Kayla Harrison (video)

Set to battle the face of the PFL, Kayla Harrison, for the third time (and her second fight for the PFL Championship), Larissa Pacheco feels that their knowledge of each other plays in her favour.

Larissa Pacheco will fight the biggest battle of her life on November 25th.

She will take on Kayla Harrison—the face of the Warriors League, two-time PFL lightweight champion, an opponent she’s faced twice before and lost both times. And it will not only be the battle for the PFL Championship again, but it will also be the main event of the first-ever PFL card for pay-per-view.

As she battles an underdog, Pacheco is determined to leave everything in the cage in an effort to achieve victory in her biggest stage yet. In fact, just being there at this point makes her think how far she’s come.

“I started fighting for the love of the sport,” Pacheco said, through an interpreter, at a media day event for the 2022 PFL Finals. “I fought for free; I just struggled to build a record and put myself in a position to develop. I fought for almost nothing. So going from where you fight for almost nothing to fighting for a million dollars, that’s it.

“Million dollars – that kind of money would make a difference in anyone’s life. It’s a huge amount of money. So just to be able to fight back and look at characters like that, to be able to see who I would be able to improve their life, and what I would be able to Do for my career, it means everything to me.”

But to win the jackpot, she’ll have to go through Harrison – a daunting task for anyone, let alone someone who’s lost to her twice previously. In fact, these two-time judo Olympic gold medalists are the only time Pacheco has tasted defeat in an NFL cage.

Both defeats came during the 2019 season, the first in the NFL to feature the women’s lightweight division. Both times, Harrison scored a one-sided unanimous decision.

Such circumstances might impose an expectation that the battle would take place in the same manner, but not for Pacheco. In fact, she sensed how those first two battles were turning the battle in her favour, more so than Harrison’s.

“I can speak firmly that I know how her game works,” Pacheco said. “She hit me twice doing this; I find it hard to believe that she changed her game plan for this third fight. So, I feel like this is a card I have, just knowing what to expect and being able to beat that.”

Larissa Pacheco feels that her experience with Kayla Harrison makes her ready for what to expect in her triple whammy, which will help her achieve the PFL Championship.

Additionally, Harrison has drawn attention for comments she made in her post-fight promotions over the course of this season, referring to herself as the Queen of Women’s MMA and calling out the likes of Division I champion Amanda Nunes and Bellator champion. Christian Justino (Chris Cyborg).

At the end of last season, in fact, Harrison was courting the UFC in free agency before eventually returning to the PFL. This year, talks surfaced about a possible cross-promotional battle between Harrison and Justino.

While these might say something about Harrison’s standing in the world of PFL and MMA, Pacheco thinks this will also help her in the upcoming triplex fight, as she feels these are distractions for Harrison. Additionally, she feels that Harrison needs to put in more effort to develop as an athlete when compared to herself.

“I don’t think that works in her favour,” Pacheco said. “Personally, I feel like she has more to show. And if she wants to be this good and cool, there’s a lot she can do. Look at me. I come from jiu-jitsu. This was my safe space. But look at my last five fights. I’ve been kicking people out. I was Exposing myself. I was trying different things. I feel like that’s what people expect from Kayla and that’s the pressure on her — to go out there and show other aspects of your game and not just what people have seen before.”

No matter how she plays the final of her season, Pacheco can certainly say 2022 was more memorable in a positive way than last year’s season. While last season she started her streak in the first round of five games, 2021 ended in deep disappointment when she withdrew from that year’s post-season after losing weight in her semi-final match.

“Last season was a big bucket of ice water,” she said. “I’m definitely not planning on getting it that way. After that, I really isolated myself for a while and it was a period of deep thinking and just understanding myself. It was tough, but it was necessary. I needed to follow through with that to understand that I was trying to do a lot of different things.”

“I was trying to help a lot of people, and for this season to happen the way it did and the way it’s going, I needed to be more selfish. I needed to focus on myself. I needed to seize the moment so that I could then help others and get back into my life. Doing what I’ve been trying to do for a while. I needed that step back to take a few steps forward.”

The 2022 PFL Finals will take place Friday, November 25, 2022, live from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. Follow our on-site FanSided MMA for all the news and highlights.

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