Larissa Pacheco (PFL MMA)

PFL 2: 2023 Regular Season Preview and Predictions

The Professional Fighters League resumes this weekend in Las Vegas for another night of 2023 PFL action. On Friday, Apr. 7, PFL 2: 2023 Regular Season will feature the return of the women’s lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco as she moves back down to featherweight. Pacheco is best known for defeating longtime champion Kayla Harrison back in the 2022 PFL Championship. She will look to extend her win streak against veteran Julia Budd in the main event.

The remainder of the card features three heavyweight bouts that should translate into entertaining back-and-forth affairs. The combatants include Bruno Cappelozza, Yorgan De Castro, and Rizvan Kuniev. The preliminary card features two UFC veterans in Aspen Ladd and Maurice Greene. Ladd looks to make it 2-0 as a PFL competitor, while Green will try to earn his first victory inside the PFL cage.

The preliminary card airs live on ESPN+ starting at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the main card on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET. Let’s take a look at the preview and predictions.


Larissa Pacheco is coming off the biggest win of her career; does she continue her hot streak and defeat former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd?

Yes, she does. Larissa Pacheco is a better fighter than Julia Budd at this point in both women’s respective careers. She is on a six-fight winning streak and is capable of finishing her opponents using her stand-up or ground game. The Brazilian has gotten better with every PFL appearance and is riding an undeniable hot streak. After losing to Harrison twice, Pacheco was able to defeat her rival in a competitive five-round bout, which resulted in Pacheco defeating Harrison 48-47 on all three judges’ scorecards. Pacheco’s stock as a PFL star has skyrocketed, since defeating Harrison, and she will look to extend her streak this coming Friday.

Budd is an established veteran and certainly no pushover. However, she is on a two-fight losing streak, is 39 years old, and is approaching the end of her career. Budd brings a wide array of experience and has fought in some of the biggest promotions in the world, including Bellator. However, this should be a showcase fight for the champion, and she will blast her way to a late stoppage or unanimous decision victory. It is difficult to imagine Budd finding a way to defeat the confident, powerful and younger Pacheco, as she continues her run in the PFL.

Bruno Cappelozza hasn’t fought since losing in the regular season last year to Matheus Scheffel; can the 2021 PFL heavyweight champion get revenge on his countryman this Friday?

Scheffell won a clear 29-28 unanimous decision the last time these two powerful heavyweights met inside the PFL octagon. The fact that neither went down due to a knockout is fairly shocking. Both are two extremely powerful punchers who combine 26 victories by knockout. This time, I suspect one of them will go down, and it will be Cappelozza. Scheffell will be eager to get back to his winning ways after being defeated by Ante Delija in Nov. 2022. The pair will stand and trade up until Round 2. Scheffel will clip the former heavyweight champion and earn a second-round knockout victory.

Yorgan De Castro makes his promotional debut against Denis Goltsov; does the UFC and Eagle FC veteran pick up a victory?

No, he does not. Yorgan De Castro clearly showed he is not capable of hanging with the best heavyweights in the world during his time in the UFC. He finished his UFC stint with a 1-3 record, but he has recently been able to secure a three-fight winning streak.

Unfortunately, he will be going up against a towering heavyweight finisher in Denis Goltsov. Goltsov is on a two-fight winning streak and will hold a distinct height and reach advantage over De Castro. Goltsov will give De Castro a warm welcome by finishing him before the end of Round 2.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

The heavyweight bout between Patrick Brady and Michal Andryszak. Brady is 5-0 as an MMA competitor, while Andryszak has over 30 professional fights under his belt. This fight will prove to be entertaining. Brady will be aggressive and bring the fight to Andryszak, whose experience will play a big part in how this fight plays out.

Fight Pick
Main Card (ESPN2, 10 p.m. ET)
Women’s FW: Larissa Pacheco vs. Julia Budd Pacheco
HW: Bruno Cappelozza vs. Matheus Scheffel Scheffel
HW: Denis Goltsov vs. Yorgan De Castro Goltsov
HW: Renan Ferreira vs. Rizvan Kuniev Kuniev
Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET)
Women’s FW: Olena Kolesynk vs. Aspen Ladd Kolesynk
LW: Biaggio Ali Walsh vs. Isaiah Figueroa Figueroa
Women’s FW: Martina Jindrova vs. Amber Leibrock Leibrock
HW: Marcelo Nunes vs. Maurice Greene Nunes
HW: Michal Andryszak vs. Patrick Brady Andryszak
Women’s FW: Evelyn Martins vs. Karolina Sobek Sobek
Women’s FW: Marina Mokhnatkina vs. Yogo Higashi Mokhnatkina