PFL kicked off the year with some wild action last week, and this week, at PFL 2, we get the women’s division and the men’s heavyweight crew lighting up Vegas with returning queen Larissa Pacheco in the top spot.
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PFL 2 Preview
At the top, last year’s tournament winner Pacheco (19-4) looks to start off the year right to earn a second straight tournament victory. But that’s gonna be a tough road to walk down, as she meets veteran and former Bellator champion Julia Budd (16-5). Pacheco’s bread and butter has always been her dynamite striking, yet shoring up her takedown defense and improving her ability to spring back up was essential to win last year’s tourney and upsetting former champ Kayla Harrison.
She’ll need every ounce of that against Budd, who uses her wrestling effectively and has some of the most powerful ground striking game in the entirety of all women’s divisions across the board. Budd fights smart, strikes effectively, and is at her best when she is able to mix things up and shift phases effectively. A win here for Budd is massive, and a win for Pacheco would be a strong statement to kick things off.
Bruno Cappelozza (15-6) had a very odd 2021. He suffered a loss near the end of the regular season at the hands of Mattheus Scheffel (17-9), but moved on to the playoffs as he had a higher season score with his win over Stuart Austin in April. Unable to continue in the tournament due to an injury, Cappelozza was replaced by Scheffel in the playoffs. Scheffel then lost to the eventual champion, Ante Delija.
Bruno’s another blitzing striker, but he’s developed a lot of patience and doesn’t chase the knockout quite as early anymore. His feints and setups are great, and his timing is great as well. Scheffel packs a punch, and is great at controlling in the clinch to wear down opponents as well.
Speaking of Delija, he was scheduled to face Yorgan De Castro on this card. Unfortunately, Delija suffered an injury and withdrew two weeks ago and is expected to compete later in the season. Yorgan De Castro (9-3) now meets fellow UFC vet Danilo Marques (13-4). Marques has back to back wins, although one of those was in Gladiator Challenge against a fighter that was making his pro debut while Marques was (11-4). Just want to put that out there. Yorgan has three straight wins since his UFC departure, including his last fight against Junior dos Santos which ended in a disappointing shoulder injury.
You may also remember De Castro as part of Jon Jones’ training squad for Jones’ heavyweight debut where he won UFC gold. Well, things are gonna get interesting because his cohort on that adventure, Maurice Greene (10-7) will also be in the tournament. He meets Brazilian submission ace and hot prospect Marcelo Nunes (9-1). Nunes has three straight wins, all of them by arm triangle choke. Gotta love a guy with a trademark finisher.
Aspen Ladd (10-3) is feeling right at home at featherweight and now meets Olena Kolesnyk (7-5), who struggled to make weight. No, you read that right.
Former Invicta and Bellator fighter Amber Leibrock (6-4) takes on Martina Jindrova (6-3), while Sambo specialist Marina Mokhnatkina (8-3) welcomes Pancrase and DEEP JEWELS vet Yoko Higashi (8-2).
Finally, a special attraction fight featuring Biaggio Ali Walsh (2-1) against Isaiah Figueroa (1-1) takes place at lightweight. Ali Walsh is the grandson of Muhammad Ali, who has already fought once for PFL, making his debut last year. Is he good? With that pedigree, you better believe it.
PFL 2 weigh-ins video
You can watch the weigh-ins right here:
PFL 2 full fight card
Larissa Pacheco (146) vs. Julia Budd (145.6) – Featherweight
Bruno Cappelozza (240) vs. Matheus Scheffel (258) – Heavyweight
Olena Kolesnyk (146.4)* vs. Aspen Ladd (145.6) – Featherweight
Biaggio Ali Walsh (155.4) vs. Isaiah Figueroa (155.6) – Lightweight feature bout
Renan Ferreira (260.4) vs. Rizvan Kuniev (249.8) – Heavyweight
Marcelo Nunes (244.2) vs. Maurice Greene (251.2) – Heavyweight
Danilo Marques (249.2) vs. Yorgan De Castro (264.4) – Heavyweight
Martina Jindrova (145.6) vs. Amber Leibrock (145.6) – Featherweight
Evelyn Martins (145.8) vs. Karolina Sobek (145.6) – Featherweight
Marina Mokhnatkina (146) vs. Yoko Higashi (144.8) – Featherweight
PFL 2: How to watch
PFL 2023: Pacheco vs Budd takes place this Friday night, with the pre-show and prelims starting at 6:30pm EST and streaming exclusively on ESPN+. The main card will be simulcast on ESPN+ and ESPN 2 starting at 10:00pm.
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