Noche UFC went down last night (Sat., Sept. 16, 2023) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a women’s Flyweight championship rematch between Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko. When it was all said and done, the fight ended in a split-draw, which means Grasso remains the champion (highlights). In the co-main event, Jack Della Maddalena scraped by Kevin Holland via split decision (recap here).
Biggest Winner: Raul Rosas Jr.
There were a lot of impressive finishes last night that could’ve earned several fighters this spot, but we’re giving the top honors to Rosas Jr. The 18-year-old needed a statement win in his return after suffering the first loss of his young professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career in April of this year ... and he got just that. Indeed, “El Nino Problema” dropped Terrence Mitchell with a nasty left hook and then proceeded to deliver some vicious ground-and-pound to get the job done. Rosas Jr. looked like a man possessed on his quest to redemption, putting everything he had into the finishing strikes. The young star will now go into his next fight with newfound momentum following the $50,000 bonus-winning performance that took all of 54 seconds. His victory even got the attention of Conor McGregor.
Runner Up: Charlie Campbell
We’re going to go with Charlie Campbell as the runner up — a spot that could’ve gone to several worthy winners — but “The Cannibal” made the most of his chance to make a great first impression. “The Cannibal” made a splash in his first-ever UFC fight, flattening Alex Reyes — who was returning after a six-year hiatus — improving his professional record to 8-2. And not only did he get his “show” and “win” money, he pocketed a $50,000 post-bonus award to go along with it, too. And he did it all in less than five minutes. Not a bad first night at the office, kid.
Biggest Loser: Valentina Shevchenko
No, “Bullet” didn’t lose the fight, but she gets the spot here because she didn’t get to reclaim her title, either. As a result of the split draw, Grasso keeps her belt and Shevchenko is left stewing at the decision, one she said was a result of the judges feeling the pressure to leave the Mexican-born champion as the title holder since the event was dedicated to Mexican Independence Day. I’m not sure how that statement is going to go over, but the fact remains “Bullet” is once again belt-less and if she’s expecting a trilogy fight, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Grasso didn’t seem too keen to it when asked about it post-fight, which means she might want to get a fresh challenge for her next title defense. Shevhcenko was once again leading the fight after a couple of rounds, but after Grasso warmed up, she starting getting her points in and eventually making it tough for the judges to declare a winner. If Shevchenko does have to fight someone else, it will be the first time in 11 bouts that she competes in a non-title fight.
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