Larissa Pacheco bets on maturity for a new chance in the UFC
The only Brazilian among the eight athletes selected for TUF 28. The Paraense believes that Featherweight competition will be fundamental differential for success in the reality show
In 2014, at the age of 19, Larissa Pacheco was hired by the UFC as one of the promises of Brazilian women’s MMA. At the time, the champion Jungle Fight failed to yield results and was ultimately let-go after two defeats. Now you have a new chance. She is the only Brazilian selected for the 28th season of the reality show “The Ultimate Fighter,” which will debut on August 29th and will have a total of eight women in featherweight (up to 66kg) and eight heavyweight men 120kg). Each tournament winner in his category will receive a six-figure contract with the UFC, and teams will be led by middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and number four Kelvin Gastelum.
“I’m feeling good about being the only selected, Brazilian women, I was very happy for that. I do not know much about the other fighters, my mother who is more connected, kept calling me and talking about the girls. My passing through the UFC was quick, I could not show what I knew how to do, I fought with very experienced girls and I was very young. Things happened very fast in my life, I joined the UFC and I’ve already had very expressive fights, I think I have the ability to show a little more of myself, my job, I have more security for that” – says Larissa.
In her first appearance in the UFC, Larissa was called up to replace Canada’s Valerie Letourneau at UFC Brasilia in September 2014 and ended up with Jessica Andrade. Six months later, at UFC 185, she was outscored by Germaine de Randamie by TKO after her arm was broken in a kick during the fight. The injury took away the Brazilian for more than 2 years of competition.
“I broke my arm in my last fight in the UFC and had to undergo 2 surgeries, recovery, and whenever I was close to recovering, I would break again and again. I said: I will not do anything else this year, I will not fight, I will not force. I had a treatment and I was well. Then I did a fight, which was very good by the way, which was when my name began to be spoken again.”
The return was in March of that year, when Karolline finished Rosa Cavedo in the WOCS 49 in the second round. It was Larissa’s first fight in the Featherweight division, which she believes is the ideal to continue her career with 11 wins and two losses.
“I fought off Bantamweight and was too weak to hit the weight, because of my height and bone structure, I was very thin but I was not well, I could not recover. I made the debut in the weight, I felt very well, very at ease, I really see that this is my category. I think I will feel calm inside the house, I will be as relaxed as possible, especially with the question of weight, I will not press. Everyone is in the same situation, if I get too tense this can hurt me. I’ll be at your best, psychologically prepared for it.”
During the selection of nominees, Ultimate’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg made an appearance on the Las Vegas recording. Despite liking a fight between Cris and Amanda Nunes, the bantamweight champion, Larissa believes in the importance of Cyborg to develop the division up to 66kg.
“She’s an incredible champion, there is nothing else to say about her. If I ever have the opportunity to face her, it will be an honor. I talked and talked a little with Cris, she even gave me a T-shirt, was very nice and very calm, it was nice to see her. I think it would be a good fight for both of them, but I think that Cris should not abandon her category, right now that she has conquered and has the TUF to further grow the division. If you have a great champion, you want to be as good as he … I think it only strengthens the category.”