by Dane McGuire
The Professional Fighters League took center stage in the theatre at Madison Square Garden, a historic night. The face of the promotion, Kayla Harrison made headline after her title fight went to Larissa Pacheco.
All three judges scored the fight 48-47 with Pacheco getting the statement win over Harrison.
“It’s a culmination of a career,” Pacheco said following her upset win. “A culmination of a dream. It means the world to me. This belt just motivates me to work even harder. I’ve got a lot more to do in this sport.
“Just like Kayla said before, I’ve always made her a better competitor while she’s always made me a better competitor and she drove me to this moment right now.”
It’s worth noting that MMA Fighting reports Harrison has already said she won’t compete in a tournament/season format again and she could be testing free agency again in the future.
Ahead of the bout, it was revealed Harrison only has two fights left on her current contract. She had been a free agent before re-signing and competing in the 2022 PFL season. She revealed on the MMA Hour she becomes an unrestricted free agent next year.
“Well, I have two more fights left on my contract with the PFL,” Harrison said. “After Friday, I’ll have two more fights. I think [the contract] ends sometime in 2023. It ends immediately. So there’s no matching, no restriction, no 30 days, nothing.”
She has had grievances with the promotion, including before her loss, saying:
“I’m annoyed slightly,” Harrison explained. “No [cut of the pay-per-view]. Obviously, I’m not a member of the board or a decision maker, but what does Cyborg keep saying? ‘Let’s see if she sells pay-per-view.’ So from a personal standpoint, it’s a little frustrating to me that they make the first pay-per-view fight a fight that I’ve already had twice, and they only give it like a month to sell. I would have liked to promote it better.”
An emotional Harrison said at the post-fight press conference:
“I felt like I needed to win the fifth round,” Harrison said. “She was doing more damage than me. Even on the ground, some of the shots from the bottom I was like, what the hell just hit me? I felt like I really needed to find a way, and I was even thinking that before the fight. ‘Twenty-five hard minutes, I’ve got to find a way.’ And I just didn’t find a way tonight…
“She was just extremely physical this fight. I feel like it was a different person in there, to be honest. I don’t know. She was much bigger, much stronger than I recalled. Much more patient, obviously. There were a couple times she flurried and blitzed, but she kept her conditioning really well. She did a great job. She’s a champion.”