Kayla Harrison was prepared for the best version of Larissa Pacheco and didn’t lack motivation for their trilogy.
Harrison fell for the first time in her MMA career by a unanimous decision to Pacheco at the 2022 PFL Championships. It was not only the first loss of her career but also the first time during her PFL tenure that she left the cage without a belt.
Harrison defeated Pacheco on two separate occasions in 2019, including at the year-end championships. In her 15 previous wins, she went to a decision just three times, with 12 victories by knockout or submission.
The discussion surrounding Harrison’s loss hasn’t slowed down in the aftermath. Some fans and pundits leading up to the loss questioned how Harrison would find the motivation to face Pacheco for the third time.
Despite the disappointing result, Harrison assures motivation was the least of her issues on fight night.
Kayla Harrison Didn’t Lack Motivation Entering Larissa Pacheco Trilogy
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Harrison dismissed the idea that she wasn’t motivated to face Pacheco again.
“Obviously she had a lot more to gain, I just lost everything,” Harrison said. “I was very motivated. I stand by what I said, I was in the best shape of my life, I trained my ass off, and I did not take her lightly at all…I knew how formidable she was three years ago and I knew she was only getting better. She did a great job.”
Harrison’s former American Top Team teammate, Amanda Nunes, admitted that lack of motivation was a factor in her stunning loss to Julianna Peña at UFC 269. She went on to defeat Peña just months later at UFC 277 via a unanimous decision.
Harrison has the opportunity to bounce back similarly next year. Super fights with Nunes and Cris Cyborg remain on the table, although the fourth fight with Pacheco is also waiting in the wings.
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