The Professional Fighters League 2023 season is about to start and one of its 2022 champions is set on winning the tournament again this year. While she prepares for her first bout, women’s lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco still ponders on the possibility of taking on the woman who beat her twice before, Kayla Harrison.
Though Pacheco was able to finally get a win over Harrison in last year’s final, the Brazilian will not have a chance to even the score in 2023’s season, given that Kayla will not be competing in the tournament. For that reason, Larissa believes it is unlikely that a fourth encounter between the two will take place any time soon.
Unless the company is willing to pay Larissa the same purse they agreed to pay Kayla.
“If they offer me a great purse, or at least something equivalent to what they offer her, I would obviously [do it],” Pacheco said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “But am I going to wait for her to decide when she wants to fight? PFL offered me a spot in the season, so I took it.”
“I think this fight won’t happen [in 2023], because I’m stuck in the season,” she continued. “It really depends on the situation, because I would have to abandon the season — and I don’t mean to be cocky, but this season is very advantageous for me – it’s pretty much saying I’ll win another belt. And to drop that for a fight with her and risk my winning streak, they would have to pay me really well, equivalent to what she gets paid, to really make it happen.”
While Larissa does wish to face Harrison again, she prefers to focus on her career and on the chance of winning one million dollars again in this year’s tournament. In fact, with Kayla out of the grand prix, Pacheco believes that her chances of winning again have significantly increased and that is an opportunity the Brazilian just cannot dismiss.
“If I were on the same stage of hers in terms of money and was sure of my contract, relax,” Pacheco said. “Like, ‘I need time for my mind, I need time to assess everything that’s going on and decide which way I wanna go.’ I would possibly do the same thing.
“Kayla has won so many millions of dollars with the PFL and sponsors and everything, so I think she’s happy about that. She wants big names and big fights. Maybe she needs more time to see what’s going on in her life, and all she needs right now are superfights. I’m still very young, I still have a lot to grow. I can’t simply not work just because she doesn’t want [to fight] right now, or because they won’t want to book it right now. I’ll continue working and doing my part.”
Pacheco (19-4) won the 2022 tournament by beating Zamzagul Fayzallanova, Genah Fabian, Olena Kolesnyk and Harrison, with all but the last win coming by way of knockout. Now, she is expected to debut in the 2023 season at PLF 2, against former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd.
The April 7 card is scheduled to be healdlined by a heavyweight bout between Ante Delija and UFC veteran Yorgan de Castro.
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