Exclusive: Kayla Harrison Claims Larissa Pacheco Would Beat Cris Cyborg, Give Amanda Nunes ‘A Really Hard Time’

Harrison thinks very highly of Pacheco.

Harrison Pacheco
(via @pflmma - Instagram)

Kayla Harrison is putting her next (and last) PFL opponent on a pedestal. 

The two-time PFL women’s lightweight champion is hoping to make it a ‘3-peat’ against Larissa Pacheco, however Harrison isn’t counting out the Brazilian brawler whatsoever. She does quite the opposite, putting respect on the name of Pacheco. 

‘She Beats All Those Girls’

On the path to a third fight with Harrison, Pacheco has destroyed everyone. She has racked up 5 first-round knockouts in a row, proving she’s a force to be reckoned with in the PFL. But, Harrison doesn’t just think she’s one of the best in the PFL, she believes Pacheco’s one of the best, period— regardless of promotion. 

“I think she beats all those girls,” Harrison told Middle Easy of Pacheco. “I think that it’s unfortunate that she doesn’t get the credit she deserves. She doesn’t speak English, so it’s tough to market. I think that she’s lost to me twice, that’s tough to sell. But I think that in reality, she beats all of those girls and that includes [Cris] Cyborg.

“I think she would give Amanda [Nunes] a really hard time. I’m not sure what would happen there. These girls are all front runners though. I think that’s the big difference.”

Harrison believes Pacheco beats all of those girls, except for herself, obviously. Harrison already holds two wins over the knockout artist, beating her twice back in 2019. Since then, it’s been a collision course between the two with Pacheco making it to the finals twice (Pacheco ended up not fighting Harrison in 2021 due to a bad weight cut). 

‘She Didn’t Face The Best Version Of Me’

To the Olympian, this fight is another ‘stepping stone’ but thinks we are getting the absolute best versions of both women in the $1M PFL finale, as opposed to the last time they met where Harrison wasn’t in the best place. 

“It’s just another stepping stone,” Harrison said of her upcoming trilogy fight with Pacheco. “She’s just another person in my way to me getting what I want. I know she has a lot of confidence going into this fight. Five knockouts, I think first round— not many women are doing that in the sport. So, I know she has a lot of confidence. I know that I’m gonna face the best version of her, but she’s gonna face the best version of me. She didn’t face the best version of me those last two fights. I was going through the middle of a really bad, toxic, abusive relationship. I was struggling. I didn’t have my kids. It was a different Kayla, then my mom had a stroke. There was a lot of shit going on.

“I’m not making excuses at all. Like it is what it is. Life happens, everyone has sh*t they’re going through. But, she’s gonna face the best me, and I’m gonna face the best her and we’re gonna see who wins. That’s why we have fights, you know? She gets another opportunity and so do I. I feel blessed and grateful that I’m on this journey.”

Harrison On Pacheco: ‘She’s Good Everywhere’ 

In the lead-up to the trilogy fight, Kayla Harrison also took time to rate Larissa Pacheco’s game. 

“I think she’s a great fighter,” Harrison said of Pacheco. “I think she has a lot of experience. I think confidence is really important in this sport. People don’t realize how intimidating it can be to step in a cage and have someone try and beat your ass. So confidence, the mental side of the game is very, very important. I think she possesses that.

That’s something you can’t teach. That’s something you can’t emulate. It’s something that you have to earn and you have to grow and you have to make yourself. I think those two things are important. I think that she’s, she’s patient. She’s good everywhere. She’s got great power. But other than that, I think she’s good everywhere. She’s good. Got good ground game. She’s got good awareness. She’s a very great, very good fighter. I think that she has the ability to be one of the best. Just, you know, not where I am.”

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