Larissa Pacheco Continues Winning Streak, Defeats Julia Budd in PFL 2 Headliner

April 11, 2023
From: Spartacus

Larissa Pacheco has cemented her place as one of the most formidable MMA fighters of the moment after putting another champion on her list of victories. The 2022 lightweight champion has continued her winning streak in her first appearance in the 2023 PFL, outpointing the ex-Bellator featherweight title holder Julia Budd with scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 30-27.

The PFL 2 headliner was contested at featherweight, where Pacheco secured the No. 3 spot in regular season point standings, behind Marina Mokhnatkina and Amber Leibrock, who picked up earlier finishes on the preliminary card of Friday’s show at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.

Budd showed her best work in the second and third rounds, landing a right hand early in the second and matching Pacheco’s punches later in the fight. The former champ tried to earn points with takedowns, but Pacheco’s defence was too good, reversing positions on several occasions, especially in the last moments of the fight, where she impressed the judges with a flurry of ground and pound.

Despite her smaller stature, Pacheco proved to be the superior grappler, threatening Budd with submissions in the first and third rounds, even getting close to securing an armbar after escaping Budd’s back control.

It was Pacheco’s first win since her impressive upset of two-time PFL champ Kayla Harrison, which made her one of the most talked-about fighters in 2023. Although her smaller size may have worked against her in deeper waters, Pacheco’s skill and tenacity proved to be too much for Budd, and she will undoubtedly continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the MMA world. With her current form, fans can expect Pacheco to take on more significant challenges in the future and add even more champions to her resume of wins.

After her loss to featherweight queen Cris Cyborg, Budd’s record in PFL now stands at 1-3. Meanwhile, Pacheco secured the third spot in regular season point standings for featherweight, behind Marina Mokhnatkina and Amber Leibrock, who both picked up earlier finishes on the preliminary card of the event.

In another heavyweight bout, Bruno Cappelozza, the Season 3 heavyweight tourney winner, avenged his Season 4 loss to Matheus Scheffel by finishing him with a right hand in just 2:15 into the first round. The win gave Cappelozza six points and the lead in heavyweight standings, making a statement about his chances in the Season 5 tourney. While Scheffel showed early promise in the pocket with Cappelozza, he wasn’t able to stay out of danger for a win on points, unlike their previous bout.

Aspen Ladd lost to Olena Kolesnyk in a majority decision after a slow start in their PFL featherweight bout. Ladd’s rally halfway through the third round wasn’t enough to sway two of the judges, who gave the majority decision to Kolesnyk. Kolesnyk was generally more effective on her feet, although she did manage to take Ladd down with a whizzer and hip toss in the second round. Kolesnyk’s weight miss put her in fourth place in the featherweight standings with two regular-season points.

Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, won his third amateur fight by stopping Isaiah Figueroa with a powerful right hand. Two big punches staggered Figueroa, and a third forced the referee to intervene and stop the fight. Walsh admitted to being nervous before his main card appearance, but his development in the PFL is on track.

PFL 2 results:

  • Julia Budd is defeated by Larissa Pacheco in a unanimous decision. (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Round 1, 2:15: Bruno Cappelozza defeats Matheus Scheffel by TKO (punches).
  • Olena Kolesnyk defeats Aspen Ladd in a decision by the majority (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Isaiah Figueroa is defeated by Biaggio Ali Walsh via TKO (punch) in Round 1 at 1:42.
  • Renan Ferreira is defeated by Rizvan Kuniev in a unanimous decision. (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Round 2, 1:20 Maurice Greene defeats Marcelo Nunes by TKO (strikes)
  • Yorgan De Castro is defeated by Danilo Marques in a unanimous decision. (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • KO (head kick) by Amber Leibrock over Martina Jindrova in Round 1 at 2:19
  • Karolina Sobek is defeated by Evelyn Martins in a unanimous decision. (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • TKO (ground and pound) victory for Marina Mokhnatkina over Yoko Higashi in Round 2, 1:29


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