The finale of the PFL 2022 season ended last night with a massive upset as Larissa Pacheco beat dominant star Kayla Harrison in the women’s lightweight play-off final.
A former two-time Olympic gold medalist, the undefeated Harrison had been looking for her third PFL championship win in a row when she went up against Pacheco, who she had already beaten twice before, including by unanimous decision in last year’s final.
However, this time Pacheco was hell-bent on emerging victorious, and though it was Harrison who got the better of the first round on the mat, she started to come across rare moments of adversity in the second round as her rival began to find success with her striking on the feet and also got on top and threatened with a submission attempt.
Both women had there moments in the third round, with Harrison getting on top, but then had to work to break free from a Pacheco triangle choke attempt before managing to move to mount.
In the fourth round there were plenty of switches and scrambles on the mat as they both battled to gain the upperhand, and Pacheco was winning more than her fair share of it.
That left all to play for in the final five minutes, which saw Pacheco punishing Harrison with big hammerfists as she was trying desperately to secure a takedown. At one stage Pacheco also had Harrison’s back, and though it wasn’t long before she herself was on her back, she continued to be the more aggressive fighter from there as she landed more hammerfists and prevented her rival passing guard.
And so that set up a major upset as Pacheco emerged the winner by unanimous decision (48-47 x3) to win the PFL 2022 women’s lightweight tournament and take home the $1 million prize money, in addition to handing Harrison her first ever loss.
Many of the night’s other $1 million tournament finales ended inside the distance, including Brendan Loughnane TKO’ing Bubba Jenkins in the fourth round to win the featherweight championship after sinking him to the mat with a flush straight right and then continuing to blast away with that right hand until the ref stepped in.
Abte Delija made short work of Matheus Scheffel to win the heavyweight championship, TKO’ing him mid-way through the opening round with a barrage of punches, while in a clash of ex-UFC fighters, Olivier Aubin-Mercier KO’d Stevie Ray with a right hook late in the second round to claim the lightweight championship and Rob Wilkinson took the light-heavyweight championship after forcing a doctor’s stoppage against a bloodied and battered Omari Akhmedov.
Meanwhile, in the welterweight final it was Sadibou Sy who claimed the championship and prize money after a largely uneventful fight with Dilano Taylor in which he used his reach and kicking game to get the better of the action to win by unanimous decision (49-46 x3).
There were other noteworthy bouts on the card, with former UFC fighter Aspen Ladd successfully making her debut as she cast aside her previous weight-cutting issues by competing at featherweight against former Bellator 145lb champ Julia Budd and narrowly edging out a split decision victory (29-28 x3).
Meanwhile, in the featured prelim there was another clash of ex-UFC fighters that saw Marlon Moraes terrible run of form continue as he suffered a third round TKO loss against Sheymon Moraes in his promotion debut, marking his fifth loss in a row via strikes.
It was also a bad night for Jeremy Stephens, who was submitted in the second round by Natan Schulte, leaving the veteran 1-2 in his PFL run so far.
Check out all results from last night’s PFL event below.
Larissa Pacheco def. Kayla Harrison by unanimous decision (48-48-47, 48-47).
Brendan Loughnane def. Bubba Jenkins via TKO (punches) 2:38 of Round 4.
Abte Delija def. Matheus Scheffel via TKO (punches) at 2:50 of Round 1.
Aspen Ladd def. Julia Budd via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Stevie Ray via KO (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
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