The women’s flyweight title rematch between champion Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko had some really good moments last night (Sat., Sept. 16, 2023) at Noche UFC live on ESPN+ from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the main event fight still ended in a disappointing split draw.
Shevchenko promised to come out more aggressive in the rematch and that’s exactly what she did. Grasso was game to exchange in close quarters, but “Bullet” also changed levels with a timeline takedown in the first.
There was a big knockdown early into the second as Grasso found a home for a powerful counter right. Shevchenko fell to the canvas, but quickly got back up. Grasso poured it on along the cage and looked to be on her way to a possible finish, but Shevchenko responded with an elbow before breaking away and landing a takedown.
Shevchenko went back to her wrestling in the third. As Grasso started to scramble Shevchenko grabbed a hold of a tight guillotine choke. Referee Herb Dean let Grasso work and the champion eventually popped her head free. Shevchenko kept working from top, though, and regained considerable momentum.
The former champion kept things rolling in the fourth round before Grasso responded with some good knees during a scramble off the canvas. She then scored a slamming takedown and nearly locked Shevchenko up in an armbar.
“Bullet” fired back in the fifth round and looked to be cruising to a title win. However, Grasso once again found a window of opportunity to grab Shevchenko’s back and almost end the fight again with a submission. Unlike their first meeting when Grasso submitted Shevchenko, the former champion was able to defend and get to the bell.
In the end, the judges scored the fight a split draw. The issue is judge Mike Bell gave Grasso a 10-8 score in Round 5. There’s no way Grasso did enough to earn that score. Had Bell given Grasso a 10-9 round then Shevchenko would have walked away with the title.
Check out the video highlights and official scorecard below courtesy of UFC/ESPN:
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