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Amber Leibrock gains momentum atop PFL leaderboard with highlight reel head kick: ‘Don’t sleep on me’

“I’m trying not to be like, ‘Oh, I’m at the top of the leaderboard,’ but it does feel really cool.”

PFL 2, 2023 provided some nice knockouts from the promotion’s mix of Featherweight and Heavyweight talent.

Amongst the batch of finishes, none were better than the cracking first-round head kick landed by Hayward, California’s Amber Leibrock (7-4). The bout against Czech striking sensation, Martina Jindrova, was Leibrock’s first in PFL and led her to the top of the Featherweight season’s leaderboard with six points.

Thanks to Jindrova’s striking acumen, Leibrock, 35, was anticipating displaying a wrestling-oriented game plan, which was something she hasn’t often gotten to do in her career. Instead, the kick she’d been seeking early into the round eventually found a home and put a bow on one hell of a debut.

“Honestly, I just want to get back to work,” Leibrock told MMA Mania. “I’m so excited to have momentum for the first time in a really long time, but it does feel amazing. I’m trying not to be like, ‘Oh, I’m at the top of the leaderboard,’ but it does feel really cool. Especially because I was the underdog of the season pretty much. I’m pretty sure I will still be the underdog of the season.

“It feels good to show people this is who I am. Don’t sleep on me,” she concluded.

Leibrock was just one of two Featherweights in the tournament to score finishes on the night. Right behind her was Russia’s Marina Mokhnatkina, who defeated Deep Jewels champion, Yoko Higashi, via a second-round technical knockout (ground and pound punches).

Mokhnatkina’s win awarded her five points and second place, leaving only her and Leibrock ahead of last year’s Lightweight champion, Larissa Pacheco, who has three. The Brazilian knockout artist had a hard-fought battle with the former Bellator champion, Julia Budd, but ultimately came out on top via a unanimous decision.

“Touch ‘Em Up” was only more excited and motivated to continue onward after seeing all the action play out. Of course, Pacheco still stands out as the one everyone wants to watch and potentially get their hands on.

“I was really excited to watch all the fights,” Leibrock said. “I think all the women came out and really did their thing and watching them all week, seeing some of them cut weight. It was a super dope experience.

“I think Larissa is just feisty. If you wanna stop Larissa, you really gotta stop Larissa. Because whether she’s on her back or whatever, I love Larissa Pacheco. I am a fan. I think that was a great fight. I thought that they counted Julia Budd way out though. Some of the odds and stuff like that. Of course, Larissa has earned her right as the queen, but Julia Budd’s a vet. She’s a pioneer. She’s been doing this for years. Put some respect on her name, too.

“It’s gonna be fun to enter the cage with some of these ladies,” she concluded.

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