PFL World Championship: Larissa Pacheco brutalizes Marina Mokhnakina over five rounds to become featherweight champion

2023 PFL Championships Ceremonial Weigh-Ins at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Tonight on the main card of the PFL World Championship event, the women’s featherweight title was on the line. 2022 lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco (22-4) was looking to win her second straight championship and she was looking to become the first fighter to win a title in a second weight class as she took on Marina Mokhnakina (11-3).

Pacheco has done nothing but dominate since the start of the 2022 season. Had she not missed weight, she might’ve been going for a third straight championship tonight. The 2022 lightweight champion has won nine fights in a row and she’s scored finishes in seven of those nine fights.

Marina Mokhnakina entered tonight looking like she would be a decent challenge for Pacheco. Mokhnakina entered the Smart Cage having won five straight fights and hadn’t lost since her decision loss to Kayla Harrison last season. She was hoping to pull off a miracle win against Pacheco to win her first PFL championship.

PFL World Championship Recap

Round 1

The PFL featherweight title fight kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Mokhnakina circles on the outside and Pacheco is just inching forward looking for openings. Big right hand lands for Pacheco to get the striking going. Mokhnakina throws back but then she gets blasted with a combination from Pacheco.

Spinning backfist attempt from Mokhnakina that misses badly. Pacheco makes her pay with vicious shots. Pacheco is just walking Mokhnakina down here. Mokhnakina looks for a takedown and Pacheco defends easily. Another huge right hand lands for Pacheco. Combination lands for Pacheco and Mokhnakina gets a clinch to halt things for a moment.

Pacheco has a guillotine here but it looks like they are just catching their breath. Mokhnakina rolls for a knee bar and it’s deep. Oh my goodness, we are on the verge of a massive upset. Mokhnakina is cranking on it and Pacheco is remaining composed here. Pacheco gets out and she starts throwing bombs at Mokhnakina. I don’t know how Mokhnakina is surviving here. More and more shots land for Pacheco but the round comes to an end. Exciting round at the PFL World Championships.

Round 2

Entering the second round and I’m very curious to see how both fighters look after that action packed first at the PFL World Championships. Pacheco immediately on the pressure to start the second. A much slower pace to start the second. Not much being thrown in the opening minute. Big takedown attempt from Mokhnakina but Pacheco defends and lands a nice jab.

Long jab from Mokhnakina lands and Pacheco lands a big right. Takedown attempt from Mokhnakina is easily defended by Pacheco. Mokhnakina lands a right hand as they start striking again. Pacheco stalking Mokhnakina here and she lands a big right hand. 1-2 lands for Pacheco and Mokhnakina moves away. Big right hand lands for Mokhnakina and Pacheco shakes it off.

Jab now from Mokhnakina. Right hand from Pacheco. She tries upping the pressure and a combination lands. Level change from Mokhnakina and she gets a takedown. However, she doesn’t do anything with it and the referee stands them up after a short amount of time. Big shots from Pacheco and a bad takedown attempt from Mokhnakina. Pacheco defends and the round comes to a close. 2-0 likely for Larissa Pacheco at the PFL World Championships.

Round 3

Entering the third round at the PFL World Championship and Pacheco goes right back on the pressure. Both ladies showing some signs of fatigue. Big right hand from Pacheco and Mokhnakina lands a spinning backfist. Right hand over the top now from Mokhnakina. Pacheco goes right back on the pressure.

Huge left hand from Pacheco and that might’ve rocked Mokhnakina. Big combination behind it but Mokhnakina just eats it. Right hand from Mokhnakina briefly backs off Pacheco. Mokhnakina tries for a takedown but Pacheco time a knee and that landed. Right hand from Pacheco now.

1-2 lands flush for Pacheco. Halfway through the round and I’m stunned by the chin of Mokhnakina. Mokhnakina tries for another takedown but ends up on her back. Massive shots from Pacheco from the top position. Full mount for Pacheco and she’s looking to posture up with 90 seconds left to go.

Postures up and here comes the big shots. Mokhnakina gives up her back with one minute left in the round. Pacheco starts attacking a rear naked choke and Mokhnakina is staying composed. Pacheco has thrown everything at Mokhnakina and she’s just taken it. The round comes to a close and it’s another dominant one for the 2022 PFL lightweight champion.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at the PFL World Championships and Mokhnakina needs to get a little offense going. They touch gloves and here we go in the fourth. Mokhnakina circling on the outside and Pacheco looks to cut her off. Right hand lands for Pacheco. Right hand over the top now from Mokhnakina.

Pacheco looking to close the distance here and eats a right hand from Mokhnakina. Huge leg kick from Pacheco and they end up in a clinch. Takedown from Mokhnakina but Pacheco immediately starts working a triangle choke. Mokhnakina gets out and goes for another leg lock. Pacheco gets out and they go back to their feet.

Pacheco plotting forward with two minutes left. Big exchange in the center and both ladies landed there. Right hand from Pacheco and Mokhnakina goes for another takedown. Pacheco defends easily and they are back to the feet. Mokhnakina looking a little deflated at the moment.

Pacheco closes the distance and lands a huge combination. Right hand over the top from Mokhnakina but there wasn’t much on that shot. Pacheco pushes forward with another big combination. Nice combination from Mokhnakina as the round ends but this is 4-0 Pacheco with one round left at the PFL World Championship.

Round 5

Entering the final round here and it’s going to take a finish from Mokhnakina. Pacheco takes the center and the two fighters trade jabs. Takedown attempt from Mokhnakina and Pacheco defends well. Brutal calf kick lands for Pacheco. Now a jab from the 2022 lightweight champion.

Sloppy right hand there from Mokhnakina but it does land. Leg kick and a huge right hand from Pacheco. High kick from Pacheco lands but Mokhnakina catches it. Takedown from Mokhnakina and she’s in side control. She looks like she’s trying to work a submission but she might not have the energy.

Halfway through the round and the referee is warning them about activity. Two minutes now left in the round and Pacheco isn’t really trying to get back to her feet here. She seems content on riding this out from the bottom to become a two-time champion. Shots from Mokhnakina landing from the top position.

90 seconds left in the round and Mokhnakina lands a nice right hand. More shots landing from Mokhnakina who is well on her way to winning this round, but she’s not going to win the fight. The round comes to a close and it should be 4-1 Pacheco and she should win the PFL featherweight championship.

Larissa Pacheco def. Marina Mokhnakina by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)