2023 PFL World Championship Preview: Larissa Pacheco – Marina Mokhnatkina

2023 PFL 8: New York City at the The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Tomorrow night, the PFL has their 2023 World Championship event from Washington D.C. and the card is incredibly stacked. On the main card, the women’s featherweight championship is on the line for the first time as 2022 lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco (22-4) looks to win her second straight championship as she takes on Marina Mokhnatkina (11-3).

Last season, Mokhnatkina had the tough task of taking on former champion Kayla Harrison in the opening event. She took Harrison the distance but lost a decision. Following that, she defeated Abby Montes by decision and then got a regional win before starting the 2023 season. This season, Mokhnatkina went 3-0 with two finishes to earn this spot in the finals against Pacheco.

After a brief run with the UFC, Larissa Pacheco made the jump over to the PFL in 2019. That season, she took on and lost to Kayla Harrison twice with the final fight coming in the finals. In 2021 when the promotion returned, she won two straight fights by first round knockout. However, a weight miss took her out of the semifinals and she didn’t return until 2022.

Since the start of the 2022 season, Pacheco is 7-0 with five knockouts and one of those wins came against Harrison in the 2022 PFL World Championships. She has looked incredibly dominant and she’s looking for another finish tomorrow night.

PFL Championship Prediction

The big question is, can Marina Mokhnatkina stop the freight train that is Larissa Pacheco? To do so, Mokhnatkina is going to have to get the fight to the ground. We’ve seen how good she is on the ground this season alone with a TKO win and a submission win.

However, if Kayla Harrison couldn’t take down Pacheco and control her, how can Mokhnatkina? If this fight is standing, it’s like Mokhnatkina will be holding a ticking time bomb. It’s not a matter of if the fight will get finished but a matter of when.

Ultimately, I just don’t see Mokhnatkina having a path to victory here unless Pacheco were to completely gas out. I think Mokhnatkina is good and tough enough to get to the second round, but Pacheco will claim her second PFL championship in the second round.

Prediction: Larissa Pacheco by TKO – Round 2