This past Friday night, the 2023 PFL World Championships went down in Washington D.C. and we saw six million dollar champions crowned. In addition to the tournament championships, we also saw the return of one of the biggest stars in the promotion in former Olympic Gold Medalist and PFL champion Kayla Harrison (16-1).
Harrison returned to action for the first time since the 2022 championships when she took on Aspen Ladd. Ladd was a game opponent, but Harrison proved to be too much for the young contender and defeated her by unanimous decision. That bout was the second one on the main card.
Later on in the card, 2022 lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco (23-4) was looking to make history. She was trying to become the first PFL fighter to win a championship in a second weight class when she took on Marina Makhnatkina. Pacheco had a scary moment in the first round but largely dominated the fight to win her second world championship.
As the world knows, PFL acquired Bellator last week ahead of their championship event. The head of the promotion Donn Davis said that one of the first things they will do is run a champions versus champions card pairing the promotions against each other. One of the biggest fights would feature all time great and current Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (27-2).
Will PFL choose Pacheco or Harrison?
If the PFL wants to truly stick to the champions versus champions idea, Larissa Pacheco has to be the one to take on Cris Cyborg. Davis reiterated this in the post-fight press conference saying that he believes the Cyborg – Harrison fight would happen, but the Pacheco fight has to happen first.
Of course, some people believe this is a bad move by the PFL. Larissa Pacheco is sensational and honestly has a very real shot to beat Cris Cyborg. Cyborg would be the favorite, but Pacheco would be by far the most dangerous opponent Cyborg has faced since she squared off with Amanda Nunes in the UFC.
From a stylistic standpoint, Cyborg – Pacheco is the much more exciting fight. Two fighters who would stand and trade bombs until one of them fell. However, in terms of name value and past heat, Cyborg – Harrison is the bigger fight on paper. If you’re asking which is best for business, I’d say the Harrison fight should happen.
However, the fan in me would much rather see Cyborg – Larissa Pacheco next. It’ll be interesting to see how PFL moves forward with this, but as of today, I’d put my money on the Pacheco fight happening.