The first-ever PFL Women’s Featherweight World Championship, and potentially even more history, will be on the line tonight.
Larissa Pacheco became a PFL World Champion for the first time last season when she shocked the world by upsetting Kayla Harrison in the main event of last year’s PFL World Championships event. Now, with a win tonight, Pacheco will become the first fighter in PFL history to win world championships in two weight classes. A jiu-jitsu specialist who holds the most first-round finishes in PFL history, Pacheco’s path toward tonight’s title fight came with a decision win over Julia Budd and first-round finishes of Amber Leibrock and Olena Kolesnyk.
Marina Mokhnatkina has made her own impression in the PFL SmartCage, with her only loss coming against Harrison. A seven-time Sambo champion, Mokhnatkina is looking to pull off her own upset tonight and win the women’s featherweight title. Mokhnatkina defeated Yoko Higashi and Evelyn Martins during the regular season before a first-round submission of Leibrock via armbar to earn her spot in tonight’s fight.
Which woman will claim the 145-pound title and be $1 million richer?
Mokhnatkina circling around the SmartCage. Right hand by Pacheco. One-two by Pacheco. Pacheco fires off a flurry that catches Mokhnatkina multiple times. Pacheco stuffs a takedown attempt from Mokhnatkina. Spinning attack by Mokhnatkina doesn’t land. Pacheco throws a high kick, and Mokhnatkina tries to get out of dodge. Another combination of big shots, including an overhand right and a left hook, by Pacheco. Knee to the body by Pacheco as Mokhnatkina pushes her against the fence. Pacheco quickly gets off the fence. Right hand by Pacheco. Pacheco goes for a high kick and Mokhnatkina ducks. Mokhnatkina looks for a takedown and the two go to the fence.
Pacheco appears to have her arm around Mokhnatkina’s neck but a choke isn’t in. The referee calls for work. Pacheco tries to lock the standing guillotine in. Mokhnatkina falls to her knees. Mokhnatkina rolls through and locks in a kneebar! Mokhnatkina has it in tight! Pacheco somehow survives the attempt and gets back to her feet! Pacheco gets back in top position and fires off some strong ground-and-pound from up top! Mokhnatkina is eating a bunch of hard punches. Mokhnatkina survives the round though.
Slow pace to start the second round, as Pacheco tries to walk Mokhnatkina down. Mokhnatkina trips Pacheco up, but Pacheco is able to get back to her feet. Pacheco with a knee to the body. Mokhnatkina misses a spinning backfist. Left hand by Mokhnatkina. Pacheco brings the pressure. Mokhnatkina goes for a takedown, but Pacheco stops it. Left hand by Mokhnatkina. Pacheco catches Mokhnatkina coming inside with a right. Both land a hook.
Left hand by Mokhnatkina. Front kick by Mokhnatkina, and Pacheco responds with a punch. Pacheco with more right hands. Pacheco tries to pressure, but Mokhnatkina lands a takedown on her! Pacheco locks up her guard. After about 30 seconds, the referee hasn’t seen enough activity and forces the two to their feet. Right hand by Pacheco as she gets back to coming forward. Mokhnatkina looks for the takedown again, but Pacheco prevents it. Combination by Pacheco. Mokhnatkina catches Pacheco with a right hand. Pacheco stuffs another Mokhnatkina takedown attempt before the bell.
Mokhnatkina tries to circle to start the third round. Pacheco lands a couple of strong right hands. Mokhnatkina lands inside. Pacheco goes for a front kick but Mokhnatkina lands a right hand. A left hand lands for Pacheco and she follows up with a small flurry that Mokhnatkina has to get out of the way from. Mokhnatkina goes in for a takedown and Pacheco nearly connects with a perfectly-timed knee. Pacheco with a right hand as Mokhnatkina continues to circle around the SmartCage.
Mokhnatkina grabs one of Pacheco’s legs and Pacheco goes in for a guillotine attempt. Mokhnatkina escapes from it, however. Pacheco is on top in Mokhnatkina’s guard but is able to get into full mount. Pacheco manages to posture up and goes to work in ground-and-pound. Pacheco then starts to get to Mokhnatkina’s back, looking to sink hooks in. Mokhnatkina fights the hands, as Pacheco tries to get a crank or a choke. Mokhnatkina survives the round again.
Mokhnatkina is back to her circling. Mokhnatkina flashes a jab and Pacheco lands a right. Low kick and a right hand from Mokhnatkina. Another low kick from Mokhnatkina. Pacheco goes for a toss, but Mokhnatkina rolls through and ends up on top. Pacheco looks to lock in a triangle choke, and then transitions into an armbar. Mokhnatkina counters looking for a foot lock or a heel hook. Mokhnatkina tries to switch to a calf slicer but Pacheco escapes and returns to the feet.
Mokhnatkina continues to circle. Mokhnatkina tries to get the action to return to the mat, but Pacheco avoids it. A small combination from Pacheco with about a minute left. Pacheco continues to walk Mokhnatkina down in the final minute of the round.
Mokhnatkina attempts to get another takedown but it’s easily pushed off. Pacheco uses a side kick to push Mokhnatkina back some more. Mokhnatkina with low leg kicks. Left hand misses for Pacheco. Left hand for Mokhnatkina. Low kick by Pacheco. Strong overhand lands for Pacheco. Pacheco throws a high kick, but it’s caught by Mokhnatkina, who scores a takedown. Mokhnatkina lands to the head in side control. Pacheco tries to lock up an armbar from the bottom but loses the position.
The referee calls for action as Mokhnatkina tries to get through Pacheco’s guard. Pacheco lands from the bottom as she looks to set up a triangle. Another warning from the referee for lack of activity. Mokhnatkina tries to work, but she’s struggling with Pacheco’s guard. Mokhnatkina lands shots to the body of Pacheco, but they don’t seem to be doing much. Even though she ends the fight on the bottom, Pacheco seems to have done enough easily to capture a PFL World Title in a second weight class!
Larissa Pacheco def. Marina Mokhnatkina via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)