Professional Fighters League women’s lightweight playoff semifinalist Larissa Pacheco was forced out of the tournament due to weight issues. After missing the mark by two pounds, the Brazilian was withdrawn from the competition and replaced by back-up fighter Mariana Morais, MMA journalist Igor Melotto reported on Twitter.
Originally scheduled to face Taylor Guardado for a spot in the finals, at PFL 8, Pacheco had already knocked out both Julija Pajic and Olena Kolesnyk to get to the semifinals. Other than champion Kayla Harrison, who has defeated Larissa twice before, the Brazilian was the second biggest favorite to reach the end of the tournament.
In an interview with Combate, Pacheco explained that she started to cut weight too late, which could be the reason why she missed the mark at the official weigh-ins. Nonetheless, Larissa states that there is no one else to blame, but feels disappointed about being removed from the competition.
“I got here too close to fight day,” Pacheco said. “I had work out my visa in Rio de Janeiro. I went too long without training and I my weight was unstable. Yesterday we had a press conference and I stayed there for a long time. I should have started cutting weight by then. They put me in a room without a bath tub, so there was that mistake, but I managed. I started cutting too late and my body was too tired. I left the rest of the weight to be cut this morning, but I went over the time limit and they wouldn’t give me more time. Those are the rules. I couldn’t do it.”
“I feel awful,” Pacheco continued. “It’s my job. It’s my first time in 10 years where this happens. I never missed weight. I apologized to Guardado, to Ray Sefo, to the promotion, to everybody. In the end, it’s our fault. There are no excuses for this. I couldn’t do it. It bums me out, but I can’t let it get to me. It’s time to move on. I’m going to recover, work and make sure this doesn’t happen again next year.”
Already expected to fight on the prelims against Claudia Zamora, Morais was bumped back into the tournament following the news.
PFL 8 is expected to take place on August 19, in Hollywood, Florida. The card is set to be headlined by the other women’s lightweight semifinal bout, between the 2019 champion, Kayla Harrison, and Genah Fabian.