Alexa Grasso retained her title in her rematch against Valentina Shevchenko, but did not add a win to her record.
In the main event of Noche UFC at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Grasso (16-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) took on Shevchenko (23-4-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC) in Immediate rematch for the women’s flyweight title. After five tough back-and-forth rounds, the judges were unable to decide a winner. Two judges ruled a duel with the score 48-47, while the third scored it 47-47, resulting in a draw.
The pro-Mexico crowd erupted in various chants in the opening moments of the fight as the main participants started the event with their first stunning exchanges. Shevchenko was going to mix things up with a takedown, but Grasso wasn’t having it. However, after a few moments, Shevchenko succeeded in taking the fight to the canvas. Grasso almost abandoned her back, but she returned to her feet, sparking more cheers from the audience.
Shevchenko continued to lead the dance on the feet early in the second round, but a takedown attempt was thwarted by Grasso. Shortly after the reset, Grasso connected with a powerful right hand that sent Shevchenko down. Grasso rushed to capitalize, but Shevchenko was able to hold on to slow down subsequent attacks.
– ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 17, 2023
Grasso found space to connect with some short jabs, but Shevchenko survived the scare and then completed a brilliant double leg. Grasso threatened a guillotine choke, but Shevchenko eventually worked free. Grasso landed some nice shots from underneath before the horn.
Shevchenko dropped Grasso cleanly with the first big move of the third round. She then quickly attacked the neck, jumping onto a pinned guillotine attempt. Grasso remained calm, which eventually led to Shevchenko giving up the submission. Shevchenko then got Grasso’s back and controlled the position for the rest of the round.
Grasso made a good takedown attempt, landing a few nice knees to the head while Shevchenko tried to keep one hand on the mat. She then threw Shevchenko to the mat and attacked his arm, but Shevchenko slipped and the pair returned to exchanging blows in the center of the cage. Shevchenko looked for a takedown with less than 30 seconds left, but found herself defending a knee from Grasso.
As the fight approached the final round, someone had to make a statement in the final five minutes.
Shevchenko worked behind a quick jab and provided top volume as the bloody Grasso gave chase. Shevchenko went to remove the headlock, but Grasso slipped into a reversal and brought it back. Grasso rains down big punches. She then locked up a body triangle and went for a rear-naked choke. Shevchenko didn’t tap, but she also couldn’t get Grasso off her back before the final horn.
After an incredible 25 minutes, all that was left was to decide the winner – except there would be no winner on the evening when Bruce Buffer announced the divisional draw.
– ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 17, 2023
“I was very close the whole time, and I did a lot of damage,” Grasso told Daniel Cormier during her post-fight interview. “I know I was trying to submit, and I think I did enough.”
But Shevchenko was more vocal in her opinion about the outcome of the fight.
“I think it was 3-2 in my favor, but I think the referees felt a little pressure because it’s like Mexican Independence Day,” Shevchenko told Cormier. “That’s why I think they’ll give another one to the Mexican fighter.
…I fought until the end, and I think I did enough. In a fair fight, in a fair competition, victory will be mine.”
The pair first met at UFC 285 in March, where Grasso pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year by submitting Shevchenko in the fourth round. The result led to an immediate replay of the match. With the second meeting ending in a draw, a third match may be on the horizon.
Noche’s full UFC results include:
- Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko ends in a draw (48-47, 47-48, 47-47)
- Jack Della Maddalena def. Kevin Holland via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Raul Rosas Jr. defeated. Terrence Mitchell via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:54
- Daniel Zellhuber def. Christos Giagos via submission (anaconda choke) – Round 2, 3:26
- Kyle Nelson defeated. Fernando Padilla via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Lope Godinez defended. Elise Reed via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:38
- Roman Kopylov defeated. Josh Fremd via TKO (body punch) – Round 2, 4:44
- Edgar Chérez vs. Daniel Lacerda declared a no contest (referee suspension overturned) – Round 1, 3:47
- Tracy Cortez def. Jasmine Jasudavicius by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Charlie Campbell defeated. Alex Reyes via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:38
- Josephine Knutson beat. Marnik Man via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25, 30-27)
To learn more about the card, visit Noche UFC’s MMA Junkie Event Center.
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