Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight prospects Randa Markos and Alexa Grasso collided last night (Aug. 5, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 114 inside Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico.
Though she’s without consecutive wins inside the Octagon, Markos entered this bout as a top 10 fighter with a fair bit of UFC experience. The grappler had overwhelmed other tough strikers with her relentless jiu-jitsu, and she was looking to add another win to her record last night.
Meanwhile, Grasso was in a fairly unique position, made more complicated by the fact that she missed weight two days ago. She entered the UFC as an extremely hyped prospect and dominated her debut, but her sophomore performance was pretty average.
All in all, it put quite a bit of pressure on her to perform in Mexico City.
Markos opened with a lot of lateral movement and went after her foe with combinations. Grasso stood her ground and fired back, and it didn’t take long for the women to begin exchanging at a fast rate.
In the early portions of the round, Markos’ speed advantage and aggression was winning exchanges. However, her frantic attack slowed a bit, which allowed Grasso’s superior technique to become apparent. At range, she landed long shots and punctuated her combinations with kicks. Markos attempted a head-and-arm throw in the final couple minutes, but she gave up top position and mount in the process.
Markos returned to her feet with some time remaining, but it was still Grasso’s round.
Rejuvenated by the minute break, Markos went after Grasso to start the round once more, firing punches and timing a takedown well. Despite the slick set up, Markos couldn’t finish the shot and exhausted a lot of energy trying. Despite that, Markos caught a kick moments later and converted it into a takedown.
Grasso returned to her feet with two minutes remaining in the round. However, another naked body kick allowed Markos to take top position in the mount, where Markos landed some big shots.
Markos controlled until the end of the round, leaving it all up in the air in the third.
Grasso lowered her stance in preparation for a takedown but still gave up a really slow shot a couple minutes in. This time, however, she kicked to her feet quickly and went back to stalking her opponent.
Grasso smartly avoided kicks once back on her feet. Pushing forward behind the jab, The Mexican athlete was able to avoid takedown attempts and still punish her opponent. Things heated up in the final minute, and it was Grasso who landed the most powerful shots.
Ultimately, two of the three judges awarded the decision to Alexa Grasso.
While the fight was close, it was the right call. Grasso was the more damaging and consistent striker, while her opponent worked in bursts and spent a decent amount of time backing away from exchanges as well.
Grasso made some mistakes that showed her inexperience — namely giving up a pair of key takedowns off naked kicks — but she also adjusted. That’s very important, as one more takedown in the third would have sealed the decision in Markos’ favor.
After this win, Grasso has earned a position inside the rankings. Grasso both clearly has talent and some growing to do, so a non-top 10 fighter like Maryna Moroz would make plenty of sense.
Markos fought quite well. She pushed a hard pace considering the elevation, and her boxing has never looked better. All in all, this was among the more consistent performances of her career, and she’s clearly getting better as well.
Unfortunately, it does continue the alternating wins and losses pattern of her career. In order to really become relevant at 115 lbs., Markos has to string some wins together.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 114, Alexa Grasso scored a close decision win over Randa Markos. Who should Grasso face next?
For complete UFC Fight Night 114 “Pettis vs. Moreno” results and play-by-play, click HERE!