PFL Exclusive: Olena Kolesnyk motivated by legacy and representing Ukraine ahead of semi-final clash

Ukrainian MMA star Olena Kolesnyk has set her sights on building a legacy and representing her war-torn nation as she prepares for one of the biggest fights of her PFL career.

The 32-year-old will square off with Brazil's Larissa Pacheco in the PFL women's lightweight semi-final on August 20. 

Kolesnyk booked her spot in the play-offs with a split decision win over Abby Montes in May, and a unanimous decision victory over Vanessa Melo last July.

The Odesa-born fighter is now just two wins away from her first PFL championship and the $1million prize that comes with it.

Despite this, monetary gains are not the driving force for Kolesnyk, who told Planet Sport: "Money is just energy, money is nothing. The most important is legacy that will stay after us.

"For me the main thing is to be the winner. To be the winner of the next fight. If you don't win the next fight, there is no final. It's ridiculous to speak about this money and final fight. Anything can happen."

Kolesnyk and Pacheco are no strangers, having first met in the cage over one year ago.

On that occasion, the Ukrainian fighter had just two weeks' notice from her previous coaching team, which inevitably led to a first-round knockout defeat.

This time, the Ukrainian has had over two months of preparation time and subsequently, she expects a different outcome.

She said: "It's going to be a totally different fight from last time and I cannot wait. I'm excited that it's happening because as I came home from the last fight, I had good intuition that we would meet again. I was sure I would have a chance at revenge.

PFL fighter Olena Kolesnyk
Photo Credit: PFL

"I'm really excited, it is a huge opportunity because as you know, a lot of Ukrainians now are in London. A couple of my close friends and relatives will come to support me in the fight.

"It's a huge responsibility in their eyes, in all Ukrainian eyes."

When asked what she hoped to do differently against her opponent, Kolesnyk added: "I'm not hoping. I know what I'm going to do.

"I prepare well, I have no doubt about anything I do in my plan against her. For me what I need is just to step in the cage and take this fight. As soon as I get in London, the party starts. I just can't wait."

Kolesnyk previously stated she had ambitions of setting up a gym where underprivileged kids could train for free.

When asked whether that remained her dream, she added: "It's one of my goals but for me it's hard to say because a lot of change has happened since last year.

"Let's try to focus not on my dreams, but let's try to focus on this fight. After this, I can think about my dreams. For now, I have responsibility to represent Ukraine."

Kolesnyk and Pacheco go head-to-head at the Copper Box Arena in London on August 20.

Waiting for the winner in the final will be the victor of another much anticipated clash between Kayla Harrison and Martina Jindrova.

READ MORE: PFL Exclusive: Chris Wade believes he is the world's top five featherweight ahead of Loughnane bout

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