Kayla Harrison and Larissa Pacheco will square off in the cage for the third time on Friday night at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden.
To some, they’ve billed Pacheco as Harrison’s biggest rivalry, but to Harrison, she thinks otherwise.
“Can you call it a rivalry if you’ve never won a round?” Harrison said at Wednesday’s press conference.
“I don’t know if that’s fair. I don’t wanna put that kind of pressure on Larissa. It’s not a rivalry. She has nothing to lose.
“… I’m gonna go out there and instill my will one round at a time, one minute at a time, one exchange at a time, one breath at a time and I’m gonna break her.”
The first time the two met was in May 2019 where Harrison defeated Pacheco with a three-round unanimous decision. She then did the same in December 2019 where she won her first PFL Championship title.
But since losing to Harrison in that championship fight, Pacheco has bounced back and gone on a five-fight winning streak over Julija Pajic, Olena Kolesnyk (twice), Zamzagul Fayzallanova and Genah Fabian – which were all finishes.
“I don’t see a lot of changes in [Harrison’s] game. All I know is she wants this as much as I do,” Pacheco said through a translator.
“She wants to stay champion. I want to become a champion. All I know is we’re gonna put on a great show Friday night.”
Pacheco is a +440 underdog.
Towards the end of the press conference, Harrison gave respect to Pacheco and said that she is the toughest opponent she’s ever had.
“She’s a great fighter. She has more experience than me… She obviously has better striking than me and hits harder than me… She has excellent submission defense. She’s the toughest person I’ve ever faced,” Harrison said.
“And I’m grateful for that because it gives me the opportunity to dig deep and figure out a way to win again… We got a lot to be grateful for and I’m thankful for Larissa Pacheco.”
A win at Friday’s PFL 2022 World Championships would mean a third PFL championship and a $1 million prize for Harrison. She confirmed that after Friday, she’s going to focus on other things than the tournament, which could mean super fights.
For Pacheco, it would mark the first time she’d be crowned a champion.
Bubba Jenkins vs Brendan Loughnane will feature as the co-main event.
Fans can stream the promotion’s first-ever pay-per-view through ESPN+ for $49.99.