Why the World Needs Serrano vs. Pacheco

February 26, 2024
2 months

Amanda Serrano and Larissa Pacheco are amongst the elite women in their respective combat sports fields. Serrano has won titles in various boxing weight divisions, calling herself ‘The Real Deal.’ Pacheco became the first-ever dual-weight champion in the PFL as she found success in mixed martial arts. So why should the two fighters break away from their current course and fight one another in a crossover fight?

Serrano Already Taken the Biggest Fights in Boxing

Puerto Rican fighter Amanda Serrano sits in the top echelon of boxing royalty with an awe-inspiring 46-2-1 overall record. Unfortunately, after she lost to Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden, she’s had much less enthralling fights, slowly diluting her legacy.

She defeated Sarah Mahfoud, Erika Cruz, Heather Hardy and even Danila Ramos – a fighter who doesn’t even have her own Wikipedia page! A logical step for her now in boxing would be to fight Katie Taylor again, but she and her management, Most Valuable Promotions (Jake Paul’s company), have always shied away from the concept of a re-match with the Irish prize fighter. 

The only other remaining path for her would be to size up to the super featherweight classification (she’s already fought at that weight) and challenge Alycia Baumgardner or Choi Hyun-mi for a championship strap. Any other match doesn’t excite fight fans or boxing news sites.

Does Pacheco Need a Third Run in the PFL?

Everyone who appreciates the trials and tribulations that MMA fighters endure will also appreciate Larissa Pacheco’s growth. The Brazilian girl who struggled with her weight in the UFC conquered the PFL by winning the women’s tournament twice across two weight classes – overcoming her weight management demons. Now, at 29 years old, she’s at a decisive juncture in her MMA career. The PFL has been good to her, but there’s nothing left for her to win besides the duplicate titles. Sure, collecting another one would be impressive and put her in PFL royalty for sure. However, taking time out to fight an established boxer like Amanda Serrano would take her fame beyond the MMA world.

The most glaringly obvious career move for the Brazilian would be for her to rejoin the UFC. She was young in her original run there and couldn’t find the proper weight division to foster success. While she might not want to have to cut or change again, the allure of the biggest MMA promotion (and most financially blessed on the planet) might be enough to sway her back to Dana White’s stable. If she were to do that, fight fans and MMA news sites would demand a fourth match between Pacheco and Kayla Harrison.

Serrano Can Entertain the Cage

MMA news websites and fight journalists have noted that Amanda Serrano is more than a handy fighter in MMA. The Puerto Rican has had three professional fights and gone undefeated, winning her prior two. In August 2023, it was announced that she would participate in some future PFL events. This brings this hypothetical fight against Pacheco even more chance of materializing. In addition to her MMA exploits, Serrano has a 5-0 record in submission grappling, which is more than validating that she has the skills to compete against Pacheco.

Could Pacheco Box Serrano?

While Serrano has experience in MMA, there’s still a possibility that Pacheco could turn her hand to boxing to facilitate the fight in the sweet science. While she has no professional boxing bouts, she wins many fights with her tenacious punching attacks. She has a decent amount of time left in her fight career, meaning she could re-train as a boxer for this fight and even beyond.

What Weight Class Would It Be Fought In?

The beauty in booking Amanda Serrano is that she can get to almost any weight division. She’s fought between super flyweight and light welterweight, meaning she could put in the time at the gym to meet Pacheco almost anywhere, whether she would have to hit the weights or an intense cardio regime. The Brazilian would most likely request the fight at featherweight, given that she is in that division.

How Would the Fight Play Out?

There couldn’t be two bigger opposites facing off in this hypothetical contest. Both fighters have distinct preferences in the way they would like to have their hand raised. Larissa Pacheco’s idea of a good win is achieving a KO victory within seconds. She’s amassed many first-round wins with her brutal power. The Brazilian would go for an early win to catch Amanda Serrano off guard whether the fight was contested in either MMA or boxing rules. However, Pacheco isn’t just a power fighter. If she couldn’t land the killer strikes during that fight, she could easily refine her in-fight straight and try to win on points.

While Serrano used to be famed for a KO win, that incarnation of Serrano hasn’t been visible for many years now. Out of the last six victories, they all have gone the distance. She’s no longer the blood and thunder fighter and would prefer to keep her opponents at bay, control the fight, and win on points. Whether or not fighting a non-traditional boxer would coax out the old Serrano is unknown, but the style clash would be fascinating.

A Fight For More than Silverware and Bragging Rights

Amanda Serrano and Larissa Pacheco strongly believe in changing the world for the better. Serrano recently vacated her WBC championship as the sanctioning body refused to allow their women’s belt to be defended in three-minute rounds like the men’s boxing. She stated that she is not interested in working with institutions that are actively trying to create gendered division within boxing. 

Pacheco is an openly lesbian woman and has often spoken out against those in MMA who are oppressive of non-conforming sexual orientations. She is notably omitted from the PFL champions against Bellator champions card; with it being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, she may have decided to swerve the event as the Gulf country doesn’t have a good track record for human rights regarding LGBT communities.

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By Dean McHugh.