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Destroy my opponent and take my belt back: Shevchenko reveals plan for Grasso

LockerRoom Team
15 September 2023

In a highly anticipated rematch, Valentina Shevchenko is determined to reclaim her UFC flyweight title six months after losing it in an unexpected turn of events. The former champion faces Alexa Grasso at Noche UFC on Saturday, aiming to rectify the only blemish in her recent career.

Shevchenko's seven-fight championship reign came to a sudden end when an ill-fated spinning backkick led to a takedown from Grasso, followed by a rear-naked choke submission. This marked the first time in almost six years that Shevchenko had tasted defeat, and notably, it was her first-ever true MMA loss. Her previous TKO loss to Liz Carmouche had occurred due to a cut during a fight she was winning.

Despite her clear dominance throughout most of the fight, Shevchenko's single mistake cost her the championship. She has expressed her confusion regarding the narrative that suggests Grasso's victory was a result of Shevchenko losing a step or her reign coming to an end.

"She had one successful shot maybe in the first round," Shevchenko stated. "This shot was caught on cameras and now everyone is looking at this shot only without watching all the fight and saying all this stuff they can bring it up. It was not like that. It’s kind of like one moment, but unfortunately this moment defines the whole result. I was winning the fight. This is what is MMA. MMA is a hard-fought style, a very tough game. Sometimes this happens, but the most important thing is that I have the opportunity to make everything right, how it’s supposed to be the first time."

While some former UFC champions have described losing the belt as a relief due to the pressure and attention that comes with it, Shevchenko sees things differently. For her, the UFC title was not just a status symbol; it was a representation of her goal to be the best in the world. Losing the belt only ignited her desire to reclaim it.

"I actually don’t understand people who are saying it was kind of a relief losing the belt," Shevchenko said. "I really don’t understand. Because it’s not a relief. It’s extra pressure because you have to get it back now. If you ask me what I choose, I choose pressure with the belt."

Her desire to become champion again is only matched by her determination to avenge her loss to Grasso. Although she harbors no ill will toward the Mexican fighter, Shevchenko is motivated to erase the memory of defeat and regain her title. Known for her unwavering focus, Shevchenko promises to enter the cage without unnecessary anger or aggression but with a renewed sense of purpose to secure victory at all costs.

"I’m not playing around," Shevchenko emphasized. "I’ll just go there, my goal — enter the octagon, finish, destroy my opponent, take my belt back, and continue what I have to continue."

With her "doomsday approach" to the Grasso rematch, Shevchenko refuses to consider what lies ahead until after the fight. While she plans to continue fighting beyond Saturday, her sole focus is on the upcoming bout. She is determined to seize the opportunity and regain her championship on September 16.

For those who doubt her ability to reclaim the title, Shevchenko has a clear message: "The end is when I decide, and it’s not going to be any time very soon. I’m going to be fighting while I feel like fighting. I want to fight. I want to win this belt, and I will win this belt."

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