Larissa Pacheco shocks the world with stunning upset to beat Kayla Harrison in PFL Championship main event


Larissa Pacheco just shocked the world.

In a stunning performance, Pacheco handed two-time champion Kayla Harrison the first loss of her career in the main event at the PFL Championship card on Friday in New York City.

Pacheco displayed a punishing array of strikes while forcing Harrison to work for every position she got over five rounds while also nearly pulling off a submission of her own on the ground. Although Harrison was able to take down Pacheco, Pacheco continued to bombard Harrison with punches over five rounds. She was unable to do any damage and was threatening Harrison’s life.

All three judges scored the fight 48-47 with Pacheco getting the statement win over Harrison.

“It’s a culmination of a career,” Pacheco said following her upset win. “A culmination of a dream. This means everything to me .”

Nearly a 10-to-1 underdog when the night began, Pacheco starting chipping away at Harrison’s aura of invincibility as soon as she had room to work while showing no fear even in the grappling exchanges with the two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo.

As the fight got started, Harrison wasted no time closing the distance and landing a slick inside trip that brought Pacheco crashing down to the canvas in the opening round. Harrison used her technique to set Pacheco up for her ground attack, pushing her towards the cage in an effort to put her to death.

Pacheco discovered an opportunity to stop Harrison’s grappling by using a guillotine choke off of a double-leg takedown attempt. This put the lightweights in a scramble onto the mat. Harrison was eventually able to get back on her feet, but Pacheco made it clear that she wouldn’t just give up any position on the floor or the feet.

Pacheco’s stinging combo put Harrison on the back foot for her first time. Harrison tried to prevent further damage by avoiding Pacheco’s next barrage of punches.

When the fight ended on the ground, Pacheco almost locked Pacheco in a triangle choke. But Harrison didn’t give up and continued fighting her way to victory. Harrison was able to move into Pacheco’s mount, looking to overpower her with her high pressure and throwing down punches.

With no desire to play around on the feet with Pacheco any longer, Harrison immediately started closing the distance to look for the takedown once the fight faded into the championship rounds. Harrison tried her best to keep control but Pacheco kept threatening the bottom of the fight and was hitting reverses to make it stand again.

Whenever Pacheco was able to make strikes, Harrison had to pay her. She kept the fight alive until the last five minutes of the session.

As Harrison attempted to secure the victory with another takedown, Pacheco began punishing her with a series of vicious hammer fists and punches. Harrison had to release the leg in order to avoid being struck, but she was able take advantage of Pacheco’s mistake and land again on top.

Even from there, Pacheco was still throwing stinging punches from the bottom, which prevented Harrison from really mounting any offense of her own.

When the decision was made, Pacheco was elated and celebrated her biggest victory of her career. Harrison felt defeated for the first-time in her mixed martial art career.

” This belt motivates me to do even more,” Pacheco stated. “I’ve got a lot more to do in this sport.

” Just like Kayla stated before, she has always been a stronger competitor than I have and that she is driving me right now .”

The result will surely shake up the PFL heading into 2023 as Pacheco claimed the lightweight title while Harrison has already said she doesn’t plan on competing in the tournament format again. Given the stakes in this fight, it’s likely the promotion will almost assuredly attempt to match these two up again in the not too distance future.

Full results for the PFL Championship 2022 card below:


Larissa Pacheco def. Kayla Harrison via unanimous decision (48-47,48-47, 48-47)

Brendan Loughnane def. Bubba Jenkins via TKO (strikes) – Round 4, 2:38

Ante Delija def. Matheus Scheffel via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:50

Aspen Ladd def. Julia Budd via split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Stevie Ray via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 4:40

Sadibou Sy def. Dilano Taylor via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

Rob Wilkinson def. Omari Akhmedov via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00

Preliminary Card (ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m. ET)

Sheymon Moraes def. Marlon Moraes via TKO – Round 3, 0:58

Natan Schulte def. Jeremy Stephens via submission (arm-triangle) – Round 2, 1:32

Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Gleison Tibau via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Dakota Ditcheva def. Katherine Corogenes via KO – Round 1, 4:20

Biaggio Ali Walsh def. Tom Graesser via KO (punch) – Round 1, 0:45