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Alexa Grasso confident that she beat Valentina Shevchenko at Noche UFC

LockerRoom Team
18 September 2023

Alexa Grasso may not have a victory officially recorded in her UFC record from Noche UFC, but the reigning UFC flyweight champion is confident that she outperformed Valentina Shevchenko in their rematch.

“I’m happy with my performance,” Grasso stated during the post-fight press conference. “For me, it was 3-2 — the second, fourth, and fifth rounds were for me — but I’m not the judge.”

She added, “I expected everything. She’s very competitive, I’m super competitive, and I was expecting a war.”

Grasso and Shevchenko ultimately engaged in a thrilling and closely contested five-round bout that ended in a controversial split draw during Saturday’s main event. Judge Sal D’Amato scored the fight 48-47 in favor of Shevchenko, judge Junichiro Kamijo scored it 48-47 for Grasso, and judge Mike Bell's scorecard baffled many by awarding Grasso a perplexing 10-8 in Round 5. Media scores, as recorded on the database website MMA Decisions, also leaned narrowly towards Grasso at 12-11.

Despite the contentious outcome, Grasso retains her UFC title, and the division is buzzing with top contenders Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot both vying for the next title shot. UFC officials now face a challenging decision of whether to arrange a trilogy bout between Shevchenko and Grasso or move forward with a new challenger.

Grasso addressed the dilemma, saying, “It’s an interesting question. I don’t like to stop the division. There’s a lot of girls fighting to have this opportunity like I did, so I don’t like to stop it. It all depends on the UFC. If they want a trilogy, let’s do this. If not, I would like to give an opportunity for another girl. I know how it is to be fighting all the time, to wait for your spot, and I wouldn’t like to stop this division. But whatever the UFC says.”

When pressed about her preference for a trilogy with Shevchenko or a new challenger, Grasso remained noncommittal. She said, “I just fought, I don’t want to fight right now. But I don’t know, whatever the UFC says. I’m always up for whatever and any challenge they put in front of me.”

Despite the controversy surrounding the result, the Grasso vs. Shevchenko rematch showcased exceptional heart and technique between two highly skilled fighters. Both fighters exchanged powerful strikes and came close to securing submissions throughout the intense 25-minute contest. Grasso even knocked Shevchenko down in the second round, prompting the champ to rely heavily on her wrestling to stay competitive.

“I was expecting that,” Grasso explained. “I know I always do damage with my hands, and it’s something I was expecting from her, so I was prepared. When you have a good punch, of course, you have to change your strategy, and I knew that she changed [her strategy after the knockdown].”

Grasso's most dramatic moment came in the final round, where, with the fight still hanging in the balance, she reversed a Shevchenko takedown attempt and spent the closing minutes hunting for a rear-naked choke submission from her opponent's back. This scene eerily echoed her shocking submission victory over Shevchenko at UFC 285.

“I had flashbacks,” Grasso admitted. “But like I said, we are super competitive. She did her job, and it was hard to repeat it again.”

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“The plan was to finish the fight, but I showed my power,” Grasso added. “I’ve been showing, every single fight, my evolution, everything I’ve been working on, and I’m just happy with everything I did in that fight.”

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