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Larissa Pacheco: ‘A lot of people showed up asking for money’ after $1 million win over Kayla Harrison

Larissa Pacheco
Cooper Neill, PFL

Once Larissa Pacheco became a millionaire by beating Kayla Harrison for the 2022 PFL featherweight championship, she knew her life would change.

Pacheco said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca that as she walked out of the cage that night, “I had to prepare mentally for this weight of being champion.” She also had to prepare for all the new “friendships” that would come now that she was an MMA champion.

“I’ll open the Pacheco bank, because a lot of people showed up asking for money,” Pacheco said with a laugh. “But that happens, right? I think I wasn’t the only one — any athlete or person that wins good money and comes from a poor family must go through this as well. Distant cousins show up, friends from elementary school, people that never said hi all of a sudden show up.

“But that’s OK. I know how to handle that well. I’ve learned, especially because I’ve had highs and lows before. I had moments where I’ve made some money — not this much, of course — and things like that happened as well, so it’s OK.”

Pacheco said she didn’t do anything “extravagant” with her seven-figure prize. Instead, the 28-year-old MMA fighter bought a new apartment and her dream car, a Honda Civic. Pacheco also bought her wife a car, and paid all her previous debts.

“I was always in debt before fights and had to pay them [after fights],” Pacheco said. “I’ll start the season with no debts now, so that makes me more comfortable and helps my training.

“I’m getting used to this now, and I’m ready to go after another belt and another million.”

The Brazilian talent is slated to headline PFL 2 on Friday in Las Vegas against former Bellator champion Julia Budd, a veteran that went 15-3 in her pre-PFL career with wins over the likes of Germaine de Randamie and Marloes Coenen; her three defeats came against Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, and Amanda Nunes.

Budd debuted in the PFL with a victory over Kaitlin Young but dropped decisions to Genah Fabian and Aspen Ladd in her following bouts.

Pacheco, who moved down from 155 to 145 pounds for this year’s PFL season, vows to be violent and aggressive on Friday.

“When I get in there, I transform into another person,” Pacheco said. “I let out everything I have inside of me, all the resentment in my heart, to come back with the win. If she wants to brawl with me, I love that. I love that adrenaline. If she wants to go to the ground, we’ll go to the ground. Everything is sharp. My knives are sharp everywhere.”

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