Larissa Pacheco Scores First-Round Knockout to Advance to PFL Women’s Featherweight Championship

Larissa Pacheco is thisclose to becoming the first two-division PFL champion after less than 15 seconds of fight time.

The 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist didn’t break a sweat against Olena Kolesnyk (9-6), knocking her out in just 14 seconds in a women’s featherweight playoff semifinal Friday in New York.

Larissa Pacheco After blasting Kolesnyk with a straight right hand during the first exchange of the fight, Pacheco collapsed her against the cage with another hard right, then finished her with a third big right hand as the referee swiftly jumped in.

It was Pacheco’s ninth straight victory since losing the 2019 lightweight final to two-season champ Kayla Harrison. Seven of those wins have come via first-round knockout, including all three of her meetings with Kolesnyk. Another of those wins was Pacheco’s upset of Harrison in last November’s 155-pound final.

“I was super confident because I work a lot, I put a lot of effort into this,” Pacheco, who was a 21-1 betting favorite, said afterward through an interpreter. “I’m not the type of queen that just sits around and waits for people to come out and bus my table. I go out there and I go to work.”

It was the second straight fight that Pacheco has ended by knockout in the first minute — which she cited as an impediment to showing off her development. “I feel like if the fights lasted a little longer, I would be able to show more evolution,” she said. “I can’t really help it that once my hands land, they just fall.”

The top-seeded Pacheco will go for a second straight season championship on November 24 against No. 2 seed Marina Mokhnatkina (11-3), who also scored a quick finish to earn her spot in the final. Mokhnatkina, a six-time world sambo world champion from Russia, took Amber Leibrock (7-6) to the canvas seconds into their fight and immediately worked her way to an armbar, eliciting the tapout at 1:45 of Round 1. Mokhnatkina is 5-1 in the PFL, with her only loss coming at lightweight last year against Harrison.

Larissa Pacheco Knocks Out Amber Leibrock to Earn No. 1 Seed in PFL Featherweight Playoffs

Larissa Pacheco looks poised to claim a second Professional Fighters League championship…

The 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist – who shocked the world in 2022 with her upset win over Kayla Harrison in the lightweight finals to win her first PFL title – seized the No. 1 seed in the PFL playoffs on Friday with a resounding first-round knockout of Amber Leibrock.

Larissa PachecoThe featherweight bout headlined PFL 5 inside Overtime Elite Arena.

Leibrock (7-5) went into the bout with a lot of momentum, after scoring a highlight-reel head kick knockout in the opening round of the season. She looked out of her league Friday, however, as Pacheco (21-4) bombarded her with punches early.

Pacheco’s win sets up a rematch against Ukraine’s Olena Kolesnyk in the first round of the playoffs in August. Pacheco beat Kolesnyk last August via first-round TKO.

Marina Mokhnatkina earned the No. 2 seed and will face Leibrock as the 145-pound’s No. 3 seed.

Former UFC bantamweight Aspen Ladd defeated Karolina Sobek via submission but still missed the playoffs in a tiebreaker to Kolesnyk.

In the heavyweight division, Denis Goltsov (31-7) secured the No. 1 seed with a devastating 18-second knockout of Yorgan De Castro. It was the fastest knockout in PFL heavyweight history.

Brazil’s Renan Ferreira (10-4) also scored a big knockout on the main card, taking out Matheus Scheffel in 50 seconds. The win was good enough to earn him the No. 2 seed at heavyweight, and he’ll face Marcelo Nunes in the opening round of the playoffs. Goltsov will square off with Jordan Heiderman, who also picked up a first-round victory.

In the main event, Maurice Greene (11-8) came up short in a bid to topple 2022 champion Ante Delija. Delija, who missed the first round of the regular season because of injury, defeated Greene via unanimous decision. It was an impressive showing but earned him only three points, leaving him out of the playoffs.

Larissa Pacheco Upsets Kayla Harrison to Claim PFL Women’s Lightweight Championship Belt

The third time proved to be the charm for Larissa Pacheco

The 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, who twice before had faced two-time defending PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison and had lost both times times, has finally logged a victory.

Larissa Pacheco,Pacheco defeated Harrison, considered the PFL’s most dominant fighter, on Friday night in New York.

The fight was one of six weight division Professional Fighters League season championship finals contested inside Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Harrison (15-1), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, came in as an 8-1 betting favorite. She and the PFL were already making plans for next year, removing her from regular-season competition in order to book her in “superfights,” presumably with a step up in competition. Pacheco might have spoiled those plans.

The fight started well for Harrison, who scored an early takedown and threatened a submission for much of the first round. But Pacheco (19-4) withstood those difficult five minutes and fought back in the second round, using her powerful stand-up skills to land heavy strikes and utilizing strong takedown defense to turn the tide.

The fight appeared to be tied going into the fifth round, and Pacheco was the fresher fighter at that point. She landed some hard punches on Harrison, who eventually landed a takedown but could not capitalize.

All three judges scored the bout 48-47 in favor of Pacheco. Before this bout, Harrison had not lost even a single round in her career. Harrison is No. 8 in the ESPN pound-for-pound women’s top 10, the only PFL fighter in either those rankings or the divisional ones.

When Pacheco was awarded the championship belt and an oversized replica of a $1 million check, she credited her opponent for playing a role in getting her to where she now stands in her career.

“Just like Kayla said before: I’ve always made her a better competitor,” Pacheco said through an interpreter. “Well, she’s always made me a better competitor. She drove me to this moment.”

Cris Cyborg Knocks Out Sinead Kavanagh to Retain Bellator’s Women’s Featherweight Title

Less than two minutes… That’s the time it took Cris Cyborg to roll past her latest opponent.

The 36-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, Bellator’s women’s featherweight champion, was as dominant as ever in defending her belt for the third time, knocking out Sinead Kavanagh in the first round of the Bellator 271 main event on Friday night in Hollywood, Florida.

Cris "Cyborg" Justino

This fight looked like most of the fights during Cyborg’s 16-year pro career. She came out blitzing Kavanagh, trapping her against the cage and unleashing punches that within the first minute had bloodied her face.

Kavanagh (7-5), a 35-year-old from Ireland who trains in the same SBG Dublin gym as Conor McGregor, did manage to get her back off the cage and, relying on her background as an amateur boxer, she began trading punches with Cyborg, which wasn’t the best idea.

A right hand wobbled the challenger and another right sent her crashing to the canvas, flat on her back. Referee Jason Herzog immediately jumped in to wave off the fight as a knockout at 1 minute, 32 seconds of Round 1.

For Cyborg (25-2, 1 NC), a former 145-pound champion in the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC promotions, it was her fifth straight win and the 11th first-round knockout of her career.

Cyborg, who lives and trains in Southern California, has just one loss in her past 27 fights, a run of success that extends back to her pro MMA debut in 2005.

In an interview afterward inside the cage, Cyborg, who was a 25-1 betting favorite, smiled as she apologized to her coaches.

“I’m sorry, my team,” she said. “I didn’t do anything that we planned.”

Then Cyborg put this virtuosic performance behind her and shifted her focus to her next title defense. She mentioned that she had called for a fight with former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano, who has won two fights since signing with Bellator two years ago.

“But I leave it to Scott Coker,” Cyborg said, referring to the Bellator president. “I don’t choose fights.”

However, a fight might end up choosing her. Cyborg was reminded that among those in the crowd at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was two-time PFL lightweight champion Kayla Harrison, who is a free agent and has been checking out her options. She was at UFC 268 last Saturday. On Friday night, she was at Bellator 271.

“Kayla, thanks for coming to the fights. I really appreciate you’re here,” Cyborg said to Harrison, a 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in judo. “I’m here. If you want to fight me one day, it’s gonna be a great fight.”

Junior dos Santos to Make Wrestling Debut This Week for All Elite Wrestling

Junior dos Santos is movin’ from the Octagon to the ring…

The 37-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC light heavyweight champion will make his professional wrestling match debut on Friday for All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

Junior Dos Santos

The news comes after his release from the UFC earlier this year.

And dos Santos told ESPN on Wednesday that he is also in talks about making his debut in boxing.

“Let’s see,” dos Santos said. “I’ve been having some good conversations, even on boxing. Boxing, I think, would be the perfect way for me to go. I’m a boxing guy, everybody knows that. I’ve never had an official pro boxing fight. Maybe this is the time.”

Dos Santos didn’t go into detail about when he might fight in boxing or who the opponent could be, because he said he’s focusing right now on his work with AEW.

On Friday, “Cigano” will team with wrestlers Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky in a tag-team match against wrestling legend Chris JerichoJake Hager (who also fights for Bellator) and Sammy Guevara.

The match is part of an AEW storyline that involves dos Santos’ American Top Team MMA team backing up Page and Sky with American Top Team owner Dan Lambert as their on-screen manager.

Dos Santos and several other ATT fighters — including UFC veteran Paige VanZant, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and PFL champion Kayla Harrison — made their first AEW appearances as part of this storyline in August and September. Some have gotten physical in segments, but dos Santos will be the first one to actually wrestle in a match.

“I wasn’t really a big fan of it [before],” dos Santos said. “But this thing changed a lot. After Dan Lambert invited me to go there and see how hard it is. It’s not a joke, man. Those guys, they go hard. And they have to be very well-prepared for that. So, then when I saw all of it, I got very interested in it. And then I said, ‘Man, I want to do it.’ Ask Dan Lambert. I was saying, ‘Man, I need to be in that ring.'”

dos Santos said the most “amazing” thing for him was the loud, raucous pro wrestling crowds and how they interacted with the show.

“That type of energy was amazing to feel,” dos Santos said. “A long time, I don’t feel this way. Long time, I don’t feel this excited to go in the ring and perform and give the best of me and my performance. Man, I’m looking forward to Friday night.

“Back in the day, in the UFC and MMA itself, I was feeling kind of pressure all the time. I wasn’t being appreciated to be there. Now, it’s different. People love me to be there, even if they don’t like me. They are showing that.”

dos Santos was released by the UFC in March following four straight losses, though they all came against elite heavyweights.

dos Santos held the UFC heavyweight title in 2011 and 2012. He owns MMA victories over former UFC champions Stipe MiocicCain VelasquezFabricio Werdum and Frank Mir.

This weekend, dos Santos will be in a pro wrestling ring. But don’t be surprised to see him in a boxing ring at some point in the future, either.

“Let’s see what’s gonna happen next, but the boxing thing would be amazing,” dos Santos said. “As you guys know, I love knocking people out. I love punching people in the face. That would be a good way to go.”

Aguiar Wins a Bronze in Women’s Judo at the London Games

London Olympics 2012

Mayra Aguiar will be having a bronzetastic birthday at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Brazilian judoka, who turns 21 on Friday, beat Holland’s Marhinde Verkerk to claim the bronze medal in the 78 kg category in women’s judo at the London Games.

Mayra Aguiar

It’s the third medal Brazil has earned in judo at this year’s Olympics, following medal-earning performances by Aguiar’s teammates Sara Menezes and Felipe Kitadai.

Aguiar, who wasn’t able to compete for the gold medal after losing her semifinal match to world No. 2 Kayla Harrison of the United States, overcame that defeat to earn the bronze in stellar fashion.

Mayra Aguiar

Aguiar, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, exploded with happiness when she managed to hook Verkerk’s leg and throw her to the mat on her back in less than 90 seconds.