Kayla Harrison takes on Larissa Pacheco for the third time in the Professional Fighters League Playoff Finals on November 25th.
They’ll face off for the PFL Lightweight Championship and this season, both women went 3-0 against their respective competition.
The undefeated Olympian will face Larissa Pacheco in her quest for a third straight PFL belt after the Brazilian knocked out Olena Kolesnyk in her semifinal. Pacheco has only lost twice since parting ways with the UFC in 2015, both times to Harrison.
Harrison knows the key to victory already. The takedown. If she takes Pacheco down, more likely than not, she’s not getting up. Pacheco has great submission defense. She’s been able to read most of Harrison’s offense on the ground and spending 40 minutes of cage time without getting submitted shows the work she’s done in defensive jiu-jitsu.
The problem the Brazilian has is her fear of being taken down by Harrison. Pacheco has shown this five-fight round-one knockout streak that she’s one of the best strikers in PFL. However, as she knows the takedown attempt is coming, she appears to overthink every strike she throws, especially her kicks. These delays allow Harrison extra time to make the correct reads and either block the strike or reverse it into a takedown attempt.
In their second fight in 2019, Harrison slowed down towards the end of the fight, which is to be expected. However, Pacheco had some success in rounds four and five, despite being taken down eventually by Harrison. If there’s a way she could pull off an upset, it might come in the later rounds when the fatigue sets in for Harrison.
There was also a point where Harrison went in for a takedown and Pacheco met her with an uppercut which was definitely acknowledged. A potential uppercut or perfectly timed knee on a takedown might knock out Harrison. However, Harrison is one of the smartest grapplers in MMA. She rarely takes her opponents down out of desperation and her takedowns are perfectly set up. She either backs her opponent into the cage or if, in the middle of the cage, she’ll feint twice then quickly grab a single or double leg.
On November 25th, we’ll be in for a brilliant display of Mixed Martial Arts. Someone’s historic record will be broken. Will it be Harrison’s undefeated streak or Pacheco’s five-fight round-one knockout streak?
The PFL World Championship event takes place on Friday, November 25, 2022, from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. The main card will be aired live on pay-per-view from 8 pm ET.