After her latest 2023 PFL Championship win, Larissa Pacheco expressed interest in fighting Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg. And despite the long history of rumors pushing the Kayla Harrison-Cris Cyborg bout, Pacheco insisted that she has the rightful position to challenge the Bellator fighter first.
With PFL’s purchase of Bellator, the faceoff of both promotions’ fighters has become possible. This gives Harrison the hope to fight Cyborg in the cage soon. In her recent statement after defeating Aspen Ladd at the 2023 PFL Championship, Harrison even made an anonymous callout to “a girl in Bellator who thinks she’s a bad b*tch.” Needless to say, it can be deduced that Harrison was referring to Cyborg, who took offense to the words.
“PFL went and acquired Bellator. Now, there’s really nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We’ll see what happens,” Harrison told MMA Junkie. “I think it would be a great fight,” Harrison said. “She’s one of the best to ever compete in this sport for a reason. She’s a top dog, she’s a grinder, she’s tenacious, she goes out there and puts it on girls. I aspire to be like that as well. I go out there and try to be dominant and try to implement my gameplan to the best of my ability. So, I think it would be a great fight, and I think that I will beat the sh*t out of her.”
PFL founder Donn Davis earlier affirmed Harrison’s vision to soon fight Cyborg, saying the bout “may be on a pay-per-view next year.” However, the executive underscored that the company would have to prioritize the bout between Pacheco and Cyborg.
“It’s champ versus champ,” Davis said at the PFL post-fight press conference. “Larissa’s earned that but then will Cris fight Kayla in 2024? One hundred percent, that is going to happen. Cris will have two fights in 2024. Kayla will have two fights in 2024. One of those will be Cris against Kayla, but we think that Larissa’s earned that.”
Pacheco reiterated the statement recently, explaining her right to challenge Cyborg first in a “legendary fight.”
“The reality is that she was the champion, and she was a two-time champion,” Pacheco said. “Before she was like, ‘Oh, I’m two-time champion. I’ve won the championship twice,’ but now I’m a two-time champion, and there’s nothing more fair than for me to get that fight instead of her.”
While that is all true, both PFL fighters would still have to wait a bit longer as Cyborg is expected to first face Kelsey Wickstrum in a boxing match. Yet, as Harrison mentioned, with the PFL’s acquisition of Bellator, there is “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide” for Cyborg now. With this, the Bellator champ has no choice but to face Pacheco and Harrison inside the cage sooner or later.