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PFL 2 results: Larissa Pacheco outpoints ex-Bellator champ Julia Budd


In her first 2023 PFL appearance, 2022 lightweight champ Larissa Pacheco put another champion on her resume of wins, outpointing ex-Bellator featherweight titleholder Julia Budd via scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.

The PFL 2 headliner was contested at featherweight, where Pacheco took the No. 3 spot in regular season point standings behind Marina Mokhnatkina and Amber Leibrock, who picked up earlier finishes on the preliminary card of Friday’s show at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.

Budd did her best work in the second and third rounds, tagging Pacheco with a right hand early in the second and matching the Brazilian’s punches late in the fight. The ex-champ hoped to earn points with takedowns. Instead, Pacheco reversed positions on several occasions, most importantly the last moments of the fight, where a flurry of ground and pound made an impression on judges.

Pacheco’s smaller stature did her no favors in deep waters. Still, she was the superior grappler and threatened submissions in the first and third round, getting close with an armbar after escaping Budd’s back control. It was her first win since a massive upset of two-time PFL champ Kayla Harrison made her the woman to watch in 2023.

Budd is now 1-3 in PFL, where she signed after a title loss to featherweight queen Cris Cyborg signaled the end of her time at the top of that division.

Cappelozza avenges Scheffel loss

Matheus Scheffel spoiled Bruno Cappelozza’s Season 4 outing, so Cappelozza returned the favor in Season 5.

Cappelozza, the Season 3 heavyweight tourney winner, starched Scheffel with a right hand before finishing the job just 2:15 into the first round. The win earned him six points and the lead in heavyweight standings, and it also put him back on the right foot after a unanimous decision loss to Scheffel set up the rematch on Friday.

Scheffel showed early promise in the pocket with Cappelozza. But unlike his previous outing, he wasn’t able to stay out of danger for a win on points, and Cappelozza made a statement about his chances in the Season 5 tourney.

Kolesnyk upsets Ladd

It took Aspen Ladd two-and-a-half rounds to fight her fight, and by that time, Olena Kolesnyk was already ahead on two scorecards.

A rally halfway through the third left the impression that Ladd had righted the ship after two rounds of takedown denials. One judge even scored it a draw via 28-28 by the enf of 15 minutes. The other two, however, awarded Kolesnyk the 29-28 decision for a majority call to send Ladd back to the drawing board after her debut win over ex-Bellator champ Julia Budd.

Kolesnyk, sporting a newly shaved head after barely missing weight, wasn’t revelatory in her early work against Ladd. But she was generally more effective on her feet, where the majority of the action took place, save for a nice whizzer and hip toss that put Ladd on the mat in the second. With her weight miss, she took the No. 4 spot in featherweight standings with two regular-season points.

Walsh wallops Figueroa

Biaggio Ali Walsh has a right hand, and he likes to use it.

The grandson of Muhammad Ali picked up his third win as an amateur by stopping Isaiah Figueroa’s takedown and thumping him with his right hand. Two big shots clearly hurt Figueroa, and a third prompted ref Mark Smith to save the up-and-comer from further punishment.

Afterward, Walsh admitted his nerves in opening the main card. But the PFL’s development plan for him is, for now, going according to plan.

PFL 2 results:

Larissa Pacheco def. Julia Budd via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Bruno Cappelozza def. Matheus Scheffel via TKO (punches) - Round 1, 2:15

Olena Kolesnyk def. Aspen Ladd via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Biaggio Ali Walsh def. Isaiah Figueroa via TKO (punch) - Round 1, 1:42

Rizvan Kuniev def. Renan Ferreira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Maurice Greene def. Marcelo Nunes via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 1:20

Danilo Marques def. Yorgan De Castro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Amber Leibrock def. Martina Jindrova via KO (head kick) - Round 1, 2:19

Evelyn Martins def. Karolina Sobek via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Marina Mokhnatkina def. Yoko Higashi via TKO (ground and pound) - Round 2, 1:29

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