Reinvented Larissa Pacheco stuns Kayla Harrison to win 2022 PFL championship

A stunner took place Friday at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden when Larissa Pacheco took Kayla Harrison’s zero.

In the 2022 PFL Championships main event, Pacheco (19-4) defeated Harrison (15-1) by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) to become the women’s lightweight champion and earn a $1 million payday.

The win was a big upset. Pacheco was a +529 underdog on average across major online sportsbooks, according to BestFightOdds.com.

The first round was all Harrison. She displayed her strong grappling and heavy top game from the get-go. In Round 2 however, things got a little more interesting. Perhaps more so than any other round in her career, Harrison faced adversity.

Pacheco found not only success in her striking as she pursued Harrison, but on the ground, too. Pacheco landed some solid punches, which Harrison did not respond well to. Moments later, Pacheco gained side control after a choke attempt, but Harrison defended.

More challenges for Harrison appeared in Round 3. After Harrison smartly took the fight to the canvas, Pacheco shot up a triangle, which looked tight. Arm placement was an issue, however, and it allowed Harrison to escape. Tired, Pacheco attempted to scramble up but Harrison mounted her. Pacheco survived the round with Harrison on top.

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The championship rounds were as closely contested as any, with judges scorecards potentially any which way. As the fight progressed, Harrison’s cardio burned at a quicker rate than Pacheco’s. The difference became apparent.

Though Harrison was able to neutralize much of Pacheco’s attack (especially errant and overused body kicks). Pacheco gained control of Harrison’s back at one point. The fight finished with Harrison on top, and an active Pacheco on her back.

The 2022 PFL Championships headliner was the third meeting between the two fighters. Harrison won both previous. The first was a unanimous decision and it took place in the 2019 regular season. The second was the 2019 PFL Championships main event. In that fight, Harrison defeated Pacheco via unanimous decision to claim her first major promotional title.

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Full 2022 PFL Championships results include:

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2022 PFL Championships.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie