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Scouting Report: Larissa Pacheco


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Larissa Pacheco

Born: September 7, 1994 (Age: 28) in Belem, Brazil
Division: Women’s Lightweight
Height: 5’6”
Reach: 69”
Record: 18-4 (7-2 PFL)
Association: Joao Bastos Team
Stage of Career: Prime

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Summary: Pacheco has shown major improvement each season in the Professional Fighters League and is now easily the best striker in the women’s lightweight division. Her punches are crisp, technical, accurate and powerful, with a strong jab setting up either the left hook or right cross, both of which have legitimate knockout power and represent her two best weapons. Making it harder to avoid, Pacheco is constantly throwing combinations and can attack from range with solid kicks. While her grappling is good enough to beat weaker opponents, with an effective judo hip toss and a solid guillotine, it is actually a liability against elite grapplers. She has been taken down plenty of times, struggles to get up and can be vulnerable to ground-and-pound, even to the point of a stoppage. However, this is mitigated in the PFL by the promotion banning elbows to a downed opponent. Her cardio is only average, so the deadliness of her striking may be confined to the first stanza.

STRIKING

Stance: Orthodox.
Hand Speed: Slightly above average.
Jab: A little telegraphed but straight and powerful.
Cross: Straight, technical and slightly faster than her other punches. Though it is predictable at times, it is a powerful shot and has knocked out multiple opponents.
Left Hook: Accurate, with solid arc and rotation, and powerful, having hurt or stopped a number of adversaries.
Overhand Right: Practically never throws it.
Uppercuts: Hardly ever throws them.
Solitary Striker or Volume Puncher: Throws punches in bunches constantly.
Favorite Combinations: The one-two.
Leg Kicks: Technical and accurate but lacks some power.
Body Kicks: Carries the same properties as her leg kicks, whether it is a roundhouse or front kick to the midsection.
Head Kicks: Offers some power but too lumbering and telegraphed.
Chains Kicks to Punches: No.

Pacheco has developed into an excellent striker, showing considerable improvement in each of her PFL seasons. Her punches have gotten faster and more accurate, technical and powerful. She throws a solid jab, which sets up her dangerous right cross and left hook. Her two best strikes have hurt, floored and knocked out many opponents. Pacheco loves to throw punches in bunches and has a number of combinations, though she favors the classic one-two. Her kicks are decent and technical but lack some power. At 155 pounds, she is easily one of the best strikers in the world.

CLINCH

Physical Strength: Adequate. • Technique: Average. • Knees: Rarely throws them, but they lack power when she does. She often chooses to grapple instead.
Elbows: Does not throw them at all in the clinch.
Defense Against Knees/Elbows: Passable.

Pacheco can potentially be exploited in the clinch. Macy Chiasson threw her from the position to secure a takedown, though Pacheco is likely much improved now. However, most fighters are unable to do so. With that said, the clinch is not an area of strength for Pacheco, as shown in her two previous bouts with Harrison.

GRAPPLING

Wrestling from a Shot: Rarely pursues this avenue.
Wrestling in the Clinch: Features a judo hip toss she used to get Chiasson, Karol Rosa and Sarah Kaufman down. It is easily the best part of her grappling game. While she caught Kaufman’s kick, waist locked her to the ground and outside tripped her in the clinch, Pacheco had a large size advantage.
Takedown Defense: Subpar. She was lifted and slammed by Chiasson when she used overhooks against the cage and had her legs close together. Rosa hit her with an outside trip, and Pacheco was obviously taken down at will by Harrison.
Ability to Return to Feet: Poor, as most times, she simply locks up the opponent in a closed full guard.
Submissions: Wields an effective guillotine choke, though it does not work against better opponents, and an armbar from her back, which likely only serves her against those with virtually no Brazilian jiu-jitsu background.
Defense/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from the Bottom: Slightly below average. She does not control the biceps well and benefits from the PFL not allowing elbows on the ground. Otherwise, Harrison likely would have finished her twice. Pacheco throws up many submissions from the bottom, although most of them are not particularly dangerous. She can regain guard when mounted.
Top Control: Cognizant of the importance of the position and not going for phantom submissions.
Ground-and-Pound: She can finish efficiently when she progresses to full mount and creates separation against a dazed opponent, as she hammers away with right hands. In actual guard against someone who is not yet compromised, her efforts are basic and lack damaging qualities, consisting instead of arm punches at an average rate of fire.

While Pacheco can outwrestle and even submit opponents with weak grappling credentials, her own deficiencies become a liability against better grapplers. She can be taken down—and not necessarily by elite wrestlers. Once on her back, she is quite vulnerable to ground-and-pound, though this is partly mitigated in PFL’s ban on elbows on the mat. She does have an effective judo hip toss in her arsenal and some top control, and she has finished many lesser opponents with a guillotine choke. Pacheco’s own ground-and-pound leaves a lot to be desired.

INTANGIBLES

Athleticism/General Physical Strength: A solidly built lightweight, as opposed to others in the division who are blown-up bantamweights or featherweights.
Cardio: While adequate, she has looked at least mildly winded in later rounds, event against much smaller opposition like Kaufman.
Chin: She has rarely faced big punchers, but when she was confronted by Germaine de Randamie, she was consistently hurt by her blows before being knocked out.
Recuperative Powers: Satisfactory.
Intelligence: She understands her advantages over other fighters and how to exploit them.
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