Current women’s flyweight champion Alexa Grasso facing off with Valentina Shevchenko before their Noche UFC title fight. Source: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Current women’s flyweight champion Alexa Grasso facing off with Valentina Shevchenko before their Noche UFC title fight. Source: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Noche UFC: Grasso vs Shevchenko 2

UFC Dins Davids Ozols 16.09.2023

After a jaw-dropping event in Australia last Saturday, where Sean Strickland dethroned Israel Adesanya from the middleweight title, the UFC returns to its home turf. And what better way to celebrate the Mexican Independence Day than with a dedicated fight show represented by several native fighters – Noche UFC. The event takes place early tomorrow morning at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be headlined by a highly-anticipated rematch between Alexa Grasso (16-3-0) and Valentina Shevchenko (23-4-0) for the UFC flyweight champion belt.

Their first meeting

The world watched in astonishment when Grasso pulled off a stunning submission victory over Shevchenko at UFC 285 back in March. Some skeptics have dismissed it as a fluke, but such a take seems remarkably disrespectful to Grasso’s skills. It seems that only a select few remember how much success the Mexican was having in the striking department of their duel. So what actually happened? Let’s take a look back.

Both fighters started off the fight vigorously, both landing a good number of significant strikes. However, Grasso surprised Shevchenko by switching from her usual orthodox stance to southpaw. This helped Grasso to enjoy a lot of success, landing several hard punches and convincingly securing the first round.

However, Shevchenko came back stronger in the second and third, performing her signature grappling and takedowns. The Kyrgyz fighter compensated for the first round, winning the second and third. The fourth round brought more entertainment. Even though Grasso was more aware of the takedowns, it seemed that Shevchenko was edging the fourth round as well. However, with one minute to go, the champ attempted a spinning kick, which to everyone’s surprise, Grasso dodged and instead grabbed Shevchenko’s back, ultimately managing to pull off a rear naked choke until her opponent was forced to tap out.

A dominant champion until then, Shevchenko was forced to experience a slight decline in her reign. This mirrors to what we’ve seen with other champions like Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya in their respective title losses. Shevchenko, at 35 years old, has faced the best in the division for years, and the accumulated wear and tear, both mentally and physically, may be catching up to her. Her previous defeat prior to Grasso happened six years ago. During this time, she enjoyed a nine-fight winning streak which featured seven successful title defenses. You can be more than sure of her hunger and motivation to reclaim her belt after holding on to it for so long.

Fighting styles

While Shevchenko’s advantage lies in her takedowns, 30-year-old Grasso prefers standing encounters, which clearly reflects in their fighting records. The current champ boasts 16 wins out of her 19 fights, with only two of them coming by way of submission. She’s won by a knockout four times while not suffering a single loss by this method. As mentioned before, the current champion is well-versed on the feet, using her extensive boxing knowledge to overwhelm her opponents. However, despite her clear love for striking, the new flyweight queen is capable of impressing with her grappling, which she has been clearly working on, securing two submission wins in her last three fights.

Meanwhile, Shevchenko is definitely someone who nobody wants to mess with inside the octagon. She is a well-rounded fighter who has mastered different martial arts, such as Muay Thai, Judo, and Taekwondo, with black belts in the latter two. Out of her 23 victories, eight were won by a knockout, seven finished with a submission, and another eight went the distance. This displays her versatility, endurance, and capabilities. Truly no one can argue that she might just be the complete mixed martial artist. Her illustrious career includes wins against such well-known fighters as Holly Holm, Julianna Peña, Jéssica Andrade, and several others.

What are the odds?

Despite owning the women’s flyweight division champion belt, Grasso is still considered an underdog. Sure, her resume doesn’t include success against as many big names as her upcoming opponent. Her biggest success to this day is still the win over Shevchenko. However, there’s no doubt that Grasso has been diligently working on her takedown defense, which might prove to be the key to her victory. Ultimately, she enters the fight with the odds of 2.40, while Shevchenko is a convincing favorite to win the title at 1.60. Will the “Bullet” Valentina really prove that their previous encounter was just a mishap? Or will we witness the beginning of the end of her legendary career? As the saying goes, all good things come to an end, however, it’s up to her to prove that time hasn’t come just yet. Either way, we’re sure this fight card will bring nothing but excitement and surprises.

Other bouts

Noche UFC not only features the highly anticipated championship rematch but also showcases other thrilling matchups that will keep fans on the edge of their seats. With the spotlight on Mexican Independence Day, this event is poised to deliver an unforgettable night of MMA action. In the co-main event, we have a showdown between two explosive fighters, Kevin Holland and Jack Della Maddalena. Holland, known for his entertaining style, recently (less than two months ago!) secured a remarkable D’arce choke victory against Michael Chiesa. Meanwhile, his opponent is a rising prospect with devastating striking abilities and currently rides on a 15-fight winning streak.

For the prospect enthusiasts, 18-year-old bantamweight Raul Rosas Jr. aims to bounce back from his first career loss. He faces the experienced Terrence Mitchell, a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter 24. Rosas had a tough time in his last outing against Christian Rodriguez, while Mitchell endured a stoppage loss due to ground strikes in his UFC debut. It’s worth noting that Mitchell turned pro in 2009 when Raul Rosas Jr. was just four years old, adding an interesting narrative to this clash of generations.

Dins Davids Ozols

Dins is a self-raised copywriter whose burning desire for punctuality and correctness of texts has combined with a lifelong passion for sports. He's on a mission to provide OlyBet.TV visitors with content on current sports events. His favorite topics include major football leagues and competitions, NBA, and UFC.