Larissa Pacheco shocks the world with a stunning upset as she defeated Kayla Harrison in the 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 of the PFL Championship Card on Friday in New York City.

Pacheco unleashed a punishing series of punches while forcing Harrison to work for every position she achieved in five rounds while nearly making a submission herself on the floor. Even as Harrison managed to get deep into takedowns, Pacheco bombarded her with punches and did more damage over five rounds to get the nod when the fight was over.

All three judges scored the fight 48-47 with Pacheco scoring the statement victory over Harrison.

“This is the high point of a career,” said Pacheco after her surprising victory. “The culmination of a dream. It means the world to me.”

Almost a 10-to-1 underdog by the start of the night, Pacheco began to shatter Harrison’s aura of invincibility as soon as she had room to work while showing no fear even when wrestling the two-time Olympic judo champion.

As the fight began, Harrison wasted no time closing the gap and landed a smooth inside trip that sent Pacheco crashing to the canvas in the opening round. Harrison was methodical with her ground attack as she set up her punches while pushing Pacheco toward the cage to trap her there and inflict more punishment.

Pacheco found a way to counter Harrison’s altercation with a guillotine choke attempt after a double leg takedown attempt that put the lightweights in a scramble on the mat. Harrison eventually got back up, but Pacheco showed that she wasn’t going to concede just any position on her feet or on the floor.

Finally, late in the second round, Pacheco connected with a piercing combination that put Harrison on the backfoot for the first time. Pacheco charged forward with another barrage of punches as Harrison tried to avoid further damage.

When the fight finally got back to the ground, Pacheco almost locked a triangle choke, but Harrison refused to give up as she fought her way free. That led to Harrison switching to the mountain as she attempted to overwhelm Pacheco with her top pressure while raining down punches from above.

Tired of messing around with Pacheco, Harrison immediately began closing the distance in search of the takedown once the fight faded into the championship rounds. While Harrison did her best to stay in control, Pacheco constantly threatened from below and hit turning points to bring the fight back to a halt.

Every time Pacheco had an opportunity to throw strikes, she made Harrison pay while keeping the fight tight in the final five-minute session.

As Harrison attempted to secure the win with another takedown, Pacheco began punishing her with a series of vicious hammer fists and punches. Harrison eventually had to let go of the leg to dodge the punches but was able to capitalize on a mistake from Pacheco to land back up.

Even from there, Pacheco still threw stabbing punches from below, preventing Harrison from truly committing an offense himself.

When the decision was read, Pacheco celebrated the biggest win of her career, while a dejected Harrison suffered a loss for the first time in her mixed martial arts career.

“This belt just motivates me to work even harder,” said Pacheco. “I still have a lot to do in this sport.

“Like Kayla said, I’ve always made her a better competitor while she’s always made me a better competitor, and she’s propelled me to this moment right now.”

The result is sure to shake up the PFL heading into 2023 as Pacheco clinched the lightweight title while Harrison has previously said she has no plans to compete in the tournament format again. Given the stakes in this fight, it’s likely that the promotion will almost certainly try to get these two back together in the not-too-distant future.

Full results for the PFL Championship 2022 map below:


Larissa Pacheco defeated. Kayla Harrison by unanimous resolution (48-47,48-47, 48-47)

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

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

Defeated Aspen Ladd. Julia Budd by split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)

Olivier Aubin Mercier defeated. Stevie Ray via KO (punch) – Round 2, 4:40

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

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

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

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

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

Magomed defeated Magomedkerimov. Gleison Tibau by unanimous resolution (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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

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

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