Kayla Harrison suffered an upset defeat at Friday night’s PFL World Championship 2022 event, losing to Larissa Pacheco via unanimous decision.
Harrison (15-1-0) went into the bout 2-0 against Pacheco after fighting her twice in 2019, however Friday night’s third meeting led to a very different outcome.
During the post-fight press conference, Harrison fought back tears whilst discussing the devastating first defeat of her MMA career.
“I didn’t get the result I wanted tonight. Larissa was the better fighter. I don’t have an excuse, I don’t have a reason. I feel like we did everything right in order to prepare for this fight and it didn’t go my way tonight. I made some tactical errors. A lot to work on, failure is my fuel.” she said.
“This is not the first time I’ve lost in life or a sport setting. I’ve lost many times in Judo. It’s a little different in MMA. I have just lost my title. So that hurts, it’s gonna hurt for a while.” she continued.
The two-time Olympic Gold Medallist does not debate the decision and feels as though she lost fair and square. She says Pacheco felt much “bigger” and “stronger” than in 2019.
“I felt like I needed to win the fifth round. I think that she was doing more damage than me. I think even on the ground, some of the shots from the bottom I was like ‘what the hell just hit me’. I felt like I really needed to find a way.” she said.
“She was just extremely physical this fight. I feel like there was a different person in there, to be honest. She was much bigger, much stronger than I recalled, and much more patient obviously. She kept her conditioning very well. She did a great job. She’s the champion.” she continued.
Harrison did not specify a timeframe for her return to the cage. She said she owes it to her children to take some time away before plotting a comeback.
Watch Harrison’s portion of the PFL post-fight press conference in the video below, courtesy of MMA Sucka.