PFL 7 2019 Results: Larissa Pacheco Bloodies Kaufman, Earns Spot in Finale

Sarah Kaufman was a favorite to win it all in the PFL women’s lightweight tournament, but Brazil’s Larissa Pacheco had other ideas Friday in Las Vegas.

Top seed Sarah Kaufman, a former Strikeforce and Invicta FC champion, took on Larissa Pacheco in the women’s lightweight semifinals at PFL 7 2019 on Friday. The Las Vegas event, the first of three playoff shows, was a chance for Canada’s Kaufman to punch her ticket to the million dollar finals on New Year’s Eve.

Due to Roberta Samad missing weight at PFL 4 2019, Kaufman had only entered the PFL cage once during the regular season.

Pacheco opened up with a two-punch combo, and the Brazilian immediately began touching Kaufman up with a number of strikes. Kaufman would land a couple of blows of her own, but was eating more than she was landing. Pacheco’s 1-2 was finding success; she soon caught a Kaufman kick, dumping the Canadian on her back. Kaufman early swept, however. Pacheco re-established control on top, while Kaufman employed a butterfly guard, then worked back to the fence and wall-walked up. Only for Pacheco to take her right back down. Pacheco would move to side control, and soon enough began landing some heavy punches. She’d finish the ground on top, with several more bursts of ground n’ pound.

Suffice to say, Pacheco won the opening round. In the second, she landed early, and Kaufman appeared to have slowed a step. She was also cut above the ear. Pacheco landed a hard right hand. Kaufman would continue to walk forward, landing at times, including an overhand right of her own. But Pacheco’s counters were doing more damage, and Kaufman’s nose was opened up as well. That was a waterfall of blood, but Kaufman was still in the fight. However, Pacheco would land a takedown right at round’s end, and head to the third up by two.

Round three had Kaufman landing early with a right. Once again, she was leading the dance, moving forward. However, when she did land, it wasn’t doing much to hurt the Brazilian. Pacheco’s size advantage, and strength advantage, was clear as day as the fight progressed. Kaufman would land another right, and Pacheco opted to lock things up with a clinch, trying to take her opponent down. A trip finished the job, and Kaufman was in a bad spot, needing a finish with 90 seconds remaining, but on the ground. She’d work her way to Pacheco’s back, but slip off, eliminating any real threat.

Official Result: Larissa Pacheco def. Sarah Kaufman by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

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Sarah Kaufman believes Larissa Pacheco might be a tougher difficulty for her than Kayla Harrison

Dave Mandel, Invicta FC

As quickly as Sarah Kaufman signed to combat in the Specialist Fighters League lightweight department, she knew the end objective was likely being established for her to face two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison in the finals.

The 29-year old highly decorated judoka is currently 5-0 in her career and she stays among the top prospects to ever enter the sport of mixed martial arts. The only problem Harrison has faced is discovering beneficial competitors since not a lot of leading women’s fighters compete at 155 pounds.

With a $1 million grand prize up for grabs for the season winner, Kaufman could not skip on that opportunity even if she was fighting well above her typical weight class of 135 pounds. Now she stands one win away from facing Harrison in December as the final 4 fighters prepare to square off at PFL 7 on Friday.

“It’s going to be an actually fun last 4,” Kaufman said when talking to MMA Battling. “I believe Kayla will probably enter early and try to put Genah [Fabian] on her back and obviously she’ll dominate there however Genah’s striking and her length could provide a lot of issues to Kayla.

“That’s an intriguing matchup there and with Larissa [Pacheco] and myself, it’s two former 135’ers now battling at 155 [pounds] It’s an excellent final 4. I think both fights are going to be fan friendly and it establishes an excellent last.”

(Editor’s note: Harrison will now be dealing with Bobbi-Jo Dalziel on Friday after Fabian was due to issues over her weight cut)

Prior to she gets to Harrison, Kaufman first has to get though Larissa Pacheco, who is a UFC veteran with a wealth of experience under her belt with battles versus names such as Irene Aldana, Germaine de Randamie and Jessica Andrade.

Pacheco actually was up to Harrison in her PFL debut earlier this year but still made her method to the playoff with a win in her last battle against Bobbi-Jo Dalziel.

While the 25-year old Brazilian could not get past Harrison in the very first fight of the season, Kaufman still takes a look at her as a really dangerous challenger, maybe a lot more than the fighter she’s anticipated to face in the finals.

“I think Larissa’s really the toughest in the division aside from me,” Kaufman said. “She’s absolutely had the experience, she remains calm and she remains concentrated and she definitely tries to find chances. She doesn’t waste her energy. She’s not somebody who is going to go away quickly and just break psychologically and quit.

“Absolutely in some ways [she’s tougher than Kayla Harrison] I understand it’s difficult due to the fact that Kayla beat her rather decisively but I believe stylistically, I believe Larissa brings more to the table and brings more measurements to the table than Kayla does.”

When it’s all said and done, Kaufman still expects to advance to the finals and she believes Harrison will do the very same, which will set up an extremely expected face-off for December.

“I believe it will be Kayla,” Kaufman said about her next opponent. “I think Genah has the ability to land some pretty solid strikes and rock Kayla but the longer the battle goes, the more it favors Kayla. The PFL will get what they want with Kayla and myself in the finals.”

Long term, Kaufman says she’s been nothing however delighted considering that joining the PFL lineup but her hope is to defeat Pacheco and Harrison, win the $1 million grand reward and then convince the promo it’s time to add her natural weight class.

“I’m really delighted with the PFL. They’ve treated me well. They have actually put us on an even playing field when it comes to our pay scale and just the total treatment that I’ve received is awesome. I believe the format has actually been incredibly exciting for me,” Kaufman stated.

“I would be happy to stay with the PFL however I want to see them do a department that’s lighter than 155 come next season. I win it, ideally I get the opportunity to voice my viewpoint and bring in my own division.”