Champ Larissa Pacheco explains bid to ‘make history’ starting at PFL 5

2022 GP champion Larissa Pacheco talks her aspirations, weight change ahead of PLF 5.

By: Lucas Rezende | 3 months ago
Champ Larissa Pacheco explains bid to ‘make history’ starting at PFL 5
IMAGO/ZUMA WIRE: Larissa Pacheco is set to fight Amber Leibrock at PFL 5.

Beating Kayla Harrison isn’t enough for Larissa Pacheco. The 2022 Professional Fighters League (PFL) women’s lightweight champion is looking to become the promotion’s first ever two-division champ in 2023. Having dropped to featherweight for this year’s tournament, the Brazilian hopes to achieve her goal while she feels she is still in her prime.

Can Larissa Pacheco become a two-division champion?

Paired up against Amber Leibrock at this Friday’s PLF 5, Pacheco hopes to score a quick finish in order to secure her place in the playoffs. Having scored a unanimous decision in the first round, the Brazilian would like a stoppage this time around, not just for the points, but to show fans and the rest of the division who she really is.

“I want to start a new legacy. I’m in my prime.” Pacheco told Combate. “It’ll be amazing to become a PLF champion in two different divisions. It’s the start of a story. I’ll show who the champion is. I want to become a two-time champion. I feel like I’m in my prime and I want it to last longer. I want to make history in the PFL.”

“My idea is scoring a quick knockout.” She said. “Not just because I need it, but because it’s my style and it’s what I like to do. If it’s a finish, it’ll probably be a quick one. Be it a knockout or a submission, I’ll put it to practice. I think that’s the main idea. Be there to win. I want to show my usual style. The Larissa Pacheco style.”

Dropping a weight class was no easy task for Pacheco

Though the Brazilian actually started her career in the bantamweight division, having fought twice there in her brief UFC tenure, it was at lightweight that Pacheco truly found a home. Now, the 28-year-old is cutting weight again to make the featherweight mark, which was not such an easy task after years of fighting in the 155-division.

However, with the help of a nutritionist and the desire of making history by becoming the first two-division champion, Larissa Pacheco is confident she can get the job done in the 2023 tournament.

“Every time you drop a weight class, it’s not a small thing. Last year I was losing weight to make it to 155 pretty easily, but there was this prospect of me dropping a weight class. So we added someone to the team. We hired doctor Gabriela who’s been doing this job. Then it was much easier to lose weight.

“The first drop was really hard.” Pacheco said. “I really felt the weight class change. It wasn’t just losing weight, but recovering it so I could fight well. I’m adapted to the division now. I’ve been walking around at a lower weight and that helps me so I can stay in the division for the rest of the year with no problems.”

Catch Larissa Pacheco at PFL 5

In her last outing, Larissa Pacheco (20-4) defeated Julia Budd via unanimous decision to extend her current win streak to seven straight victoriers. In 2022, the Brazilian became that year’s GP champion by beating Zamzagul Fayzallanova, Genah Fabian, Olena Kolesnyk and the previous years champ Kayla Harrison.

Pachecos’ last loss dates back to December 2019, when she dropped a unanimous decision to Harrison in that year’s final. In May of the same year, the Brazilian suffered her first loss to the Olympic champion, also by unanimous decision.

Now, Larissa Pacheco is expected to face Amber Leibrock at PFL 5’s co-main event, in Atlanta, Georgia. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a match in the heavyweight tournament, between 2022 champion Ante Delija and UFC veteran Maurice Greene.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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