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Noche UFC start time, full fight details | Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, to stage Noche UFC later TONIGHT (Sat., Sept. 16, 2023) in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. And with Canelo Alvarez opting to push his fight against Jermell Charlo back a couple of weeks to Sept. 30 instead of this weekend (as is customary), UFC is taking advantage by staging a free title fight for its fans. Indeed, Alexa Grasso will defend her women’s Flyweight title against former champion, Valentina Shevchenko. In the co-main event, Jack Della Maddalena will battle Kevin Holland in a pivotal Welterweight affair.

What’s Hot:

Since winning the women’s Flyweight title with a decisive win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2018, Valentina Shevchenko has looked near-unstoppable. She defended her title an unprecedented seven times, while leaving a pile of bodies behind, including Liz Carmouche, Jessica Andrade and Jessica Eye. But, then she ran into Alexa Grasso, the unassuming and quiet warrior who flipped women’s MMA on its head by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in MMA title fight history (at that time), submitting “Bullet” at UFC 285 in the fourth round. That extended her win streak to five and reminded the rest of the division that Shevchenko is, after all, only human. As expected, Shevchenko rightfully was awarded an immediate rematch and is out to get one back against only the third women to ever hand her a loss.

To nobody’s surprise, Shevchenko comes in as the favorite despite facing the champion based on her impressive resume and history. She was, after all, winning the fight up until Grasso pulled out her slick submission game, capitalizing on a rare mistake Shevchenko made by throwing a lazy spinning kick. That’s why most are expecting to hear “and new” come fight night, but Grasso is out to prove she is not a one-hit wonder and wants to carry the flag for her country after Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno coughed up their straps in their most recent fights (results here and here). Can she do it once again? She showed that she can, and she now comes in a bit more confident after her first win. But, she will have to keep her head on a swivel because Shevchenko is coming in laser-focused with revenge on her mind. On that note, “Bullet” also has to be careful not to get too overzealous and allow the desire for revenge overwhelm her and throw her off the gameplan. If she can do that, stick to what she knows and dominate the fight on the feet, she should be walking home with her belt.

What’s Not:

If the promotion’s purpose was trying to push its Latin fighters at Noche UFC, then why is Tracy Cortez fighting on the undercard? Cortez is marketable, speaks fluent Spanish, has been a part of some of UFC/ESPN’s promos leading up to the event, yet the matchmakers buried her on the “prelims.” Perhaps putting her fight against Jasmine Jasudavicius on the main card would’ve been a better play. Matchmakers could have bumped Christos Giagos vs. Daniel Zellhuber to the undercard, instead. Cortez is scorching hot with a 10-fight win streak, while Jasudavicious has won two in a row. This was a bad call.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Original Card Vs. Actual Card:

Daniel Rodriguez was in line to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio before he tested positive for the banned substance Ostarine. As a result, Ponzinibbio revealed he wouldn’t be competing on the card against anyone else. Cynthia Calvillo was supposed to tango with Elise Reed, but pulled out of the fight for undisclosed reasons. Reed was then paired up with Loopy Godinez.


Kelvin Gastelum was forced out of his scheduled fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov after suffering a facial injury. Chris Curtis suffered a rib injury and was forced out of his scheduled fight against Anthony Hernandez, who then pulled out of the fight against late replacement, Roman Kopylov, after suffering an injury of his own. Kopylov will now face Josh Fremd, who is on a two-fight win streak. As for Kopylov, he has won three straight after starting off his UFC career with two straight defeats.

New Blood:

Charlie Campbell will be one of three fighters making their promotional debuts on Saturday, facing off against Alex Reyes on the undercard in a battle of budding Lightweights. Campbell was knocked out on Contender Series back in 2022, but got back on UFC’s radar after earning his own knockout under the Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) banner. Now, he will have a chance to make a statement right off the bat when he battles a man who came up short in his UFC debut six years ago. That’s right, Reyes will be coming off a six-year layoff, having been on the sidelines since his first-round knockout loss at the hands of Mike Perry on Sept. 16, 2017.

Undefeated Strawweight contender, Josefine Knutsson, competed and won on the Contender Series just last month, and will now get the chance to make her UFC debut in a quick turnaround. Undefeated at 6-0, “Little Thunder” will square up against fellow debutante Marnic Mann. “The Sawed-Off Savage” came up short in her fight on the Contender Series, but managed to get back in the win column under the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) banner. At 6-1, she and Knutsson have similar pro experience so this should make for a competitive fight.

How The ‘Prelims’ Look:

We’ve already discussed three of the six “Prelims” bouts, so let’s take a deep dive into the other half, shall we?

Godinez is 4-1 in her last five fights and is quickly building up some momentum as she battles Elise Reed in a Catchweight fight of 120 pounds. Godinez has won her last two fights against Cynthia Calvillo and Emily Ducote, whom she defeated just four months ago. The scrappy contender is eying her first three-fight win streak, but she will try to accomplish that against a tough opponent in Reed. The problem with Reed is that she can’t get in the win column on a consistent basis. Since making her UFC debut in July 2021, she has alternated wins and losses and has only managed to rack up a 3-3 record. She is coming off an impressive win over Jinh Yu Frey.

In the men’s Flyweight division, Edgar Chairez will attempt to pick up his first win inside the Octagon after losing to Tatsuro Taira in his debut this past summer. He will face Daniel Da Silva, who is on a horrid four-fight losing streak, all of them going down inside the Octagon. To be frank, I am surprised the promotion has kept him despite losing all four of his fights. Should he lose his fifth straight, there is no doubt he will be getting his walking papers.

Cortez is eying a spot in the Top 10 and she could very well get there if she manages to pick up her eleventh straight victory in “Sin City.” That’s right, since losing her MMA debut in Aug. 2017, Cortez hasn’t tasted defeat, including winning all four of her UFC fights. If she can get another impressive win, this time against Jasmine Jasudavicius, she could get a huge boost on the rankings. Jasudavicius is 5-1 over her last six fights, which includes going 3-1 so far inside the Octagon. She is looking to boost her own stock, and being the one to slow Cortez’s roll is the way to do it.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Believe it or not, Shevchenko needs a huge comeback win here. While she has been dominant pretty much forever, if she loses her second straight it could be the start of a downward spiral. However unlikely that may seem, we have seen it in the past. All it takes is a couple of losses for a once-dominant champion to lose his or her touch and confidence. Just look at Ronda Rousey and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, they weren’t the same after a couple of losses. Should she come up short on her revenge tour then there is no telling what the future will hold. I fully expect her to keep fighting, but she could very well be looking at a change in divisions.

Interest Level: 6.5/10

In the co-main event, Jack Della Maddalena will try to continue his ascension up the 170-pound ladder when he battles the always-game Kevin Holland. Maddalena is currently on a 15-fight win streak, winning his first five fights with the promotion. Coming out of the Contender Series, “JDM” has quickly risen the ranks by winning five straight inside the Octagon in a rapid manner and has a huge opportunity to perhaps crack the Top 10 with a win over Holland.

Speaking of which, “Trailblazer” has turned things around after back-to-back defeats to win his last two over Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michael Chiesa. Holland is always a threat and has the skills to upset long as he has a nice gameplan. Holland can be sporadic at times with his offense, but against Maddalena that is a sure-fire recipe for failure. If “Trailbazer” can stop “JDM’s” roll, he can be looking at a big boost in the rankings and the top fights that come with it.

Raul Rosas Jr.’s momentum was slowed by Christian Rodriguez earlier this year, four months removed from making a splash in his UFC debut by defeating Jay Perrin via first-round submission at UFC 287. Since Rosas came in with a lot of hype off the Contender Series as the youngest fighter in UFC history at the age of 18 it amplified his loss that much more. But that’s the advantage of being young, a loss won’t ruin your career. He has a ton of time and a lot of room to grow. Plus, lofty expectations shouldn't be placed on such a young kid with the promotion, so slow and steady should be the game here.

Rosas will be taking on Terrence Mitchell, who had a rude welcome to the UFC courtesy of Cameron Saaiman, who knocked him out in the very first round of his promotional debut at UFC 290 this past summer. Prior to that brutal loss, Mitchell had won 11 straight and hadn’t tasted defeat in 12 years. If he can hand Rosas Jr. his second loss, he could steal a bit of his spotlight, as well. Another loss, however, could mean his UFC career can be over as quickly as it began.

In the opening fight of the main card, Fernando Padilla and Kyle Nelson will collide in a Featherweight scrap. Padilla made a splash in his UFC debut by knocking out Julian Erosa in the very first round this past April. The win upped his win streak to three and now eyes four in a row against Nelson, who has had a rough run inside the Octagon. He is coming off a win over Blake Bilder, but prior to that he racked up a 1-4-1 record. That simply is not going to cut it, but he can prolong his career if he can take out the Mexican-born fighter.

Enjoy the fights!

Full Noche UFC Fight Card:

Noche UFC Main Event On ESPN+:

125 lbs.: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko

Noche UFC Main Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):

170 lbs.: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Kevin Holland
135 lbs.: Terrence Mitchell vs. Raul Rosas Jr.
155 lbs.: Christos Giagos vs. Daniel Zellhuber
145 lbs.: Fernando Padilla vs. Kyle Nelson

Noche UFC Prelims Under Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):

115 lbs.: Loopy Godinez vs. Elise Reed
185 lbs.: Josh Fremd vs. Roman Kopylov
125 lbs.: Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel Lacerda
125 lbs.: Tracy Cortez vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
155 lbs.: Alex Reyes vs. Charlie Campbell
115 lbs.: Josefine Knutsson vs. Marnic Mann

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire Noche UFC fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest Noche UFC: “Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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