PFL 2 2023 Preview: Larissa Pacheco’s quest for a second title begins

This Friday night the PFL will host their second event of the 2023 regular season with the women’s featherweight and heavyweight divisions on display. Headlining the card is 2022 lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco (19-4) as she takes on former Bellator champ Julia Budd (16-5).

Pacheco of course shocked the world last year when she upset Kayla Harrison in the finals of the 2022 season. She had lost twice in lopsided decisions, but it was clear all last season, this was a different Larissa Pacheco. She looked like a woman possessed and she took that championship.

For this season, the PFL has decided to have the women fight in the featherweight division. The lightweight division seemed to be to accommodate Harrison, but with the former champ not competing in the regular season, the promotion moved things down to 145.

Julia Budd was once the Bellator featherweight champ and looked at as one of the best in the world. However, she’s off to just a 1-2 start in the PFL. She welcomed Aspen Ladd to the promotion during the championship event and lost by split decision. Ladd will also be competing Friday night against Olena Kolesnyk.

One thing to note is that Larissa Pacheco was removed from the 2021 semifinals after missing the 155 pound weight limit. I’m curious to see if she has any trouble making 145 after adding all the muscle she did to win the lightweight championship.

PFL Heavyweights

The original main event of PFL 2 2023 was supposed to feature the 2022 heavyweight champion. Ante Delija (23-5) was supposed to headline the card against promotional newcomer Yorgan De Castro (9-3). However, Delija had to pull out of the fight due to an injury.

De Castro is now facing off against Denis Goltsov (29-7) on the main card. Delija is still expected to compete later in the season, but at this point, there’s no telling on if he’ll get an opening round match or not. He will likely need a huge performance to make the playoffs.

The featured heavyweight bout features a rematch from last year. 2021 heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza (15-6) will take on Matheus Scheffel (17-9). Cappelozza had two wins over Delija to secure the 2021 championship. However, he suffered a massive upset loss to Scheffel during the 2022 season.

Meanwhile Scheffel lost twice by knockout last year, both to Ante Delija. One of those instances where MMA math makes no sense. Nevertheless, this is a very compelling rematch and fight fans should be tuning in for this one.

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