Valentina Shevchenko didn’t lose at Noche UFC, but she still walked away from the event without the title she once held.
Women’s Flyweight gold was on the line between current champion, Alexa Grasso, and former queenpin, Shevchenko, in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past weekend (Sept. 16, 2023). The pair delivered an epic rematch after Grasso’s big upset face crank submission (watch highlights) at UFC 285 in March 2023. Unfortunately for both, the fight was declared a split draw (watch highlights) after judge, Michael Bell, scored round five in favor of the champion with a 10-8 score.
“The Bullet” still can’t wrap her head around the scoring of the crucial round and wants to hear an explanation from the veteran fight decider.
“Emotions. As I said on Saturday, it’s kind of double. For one part, I’m very proud of what I did inside of the octagon,” Shevchenko told The MMA Hour. “I do know exactly three rounds, for certain, from the fight were my rounds. I won those rounds. From the other side, a few things in the side were completely unfair. Definitely the scorecard in the final round, 10-8. Mike Bell, he did some inexplicable things and I think the whole world would love to hear an explanation. But from the other side, it’s not me. He is going to live with that mistake forever.”
The fight hinged on round four, according to the other two judges, Sal D’Amato and Junichihiro Kamijo, as both had differing 10-9 scores for each fighter. However, all three agreed on the first three rounds with 29-28 in favor of Shevchenko, giving her 10-9s in rounds one and three. D’Amato and Kamijo both gave round five to Grasso with 10-9s.
Before their trilogy bout, Shevchenko will need to recover from a broken thumb, which will require surgery, per MMA Fighting. Therefore, Shevchenko will be out for at least three months following the procedure.
“There is nothing clear in that, the reason it was a 10-8,” Shevchenko said. “No one is speaking about it, and my guess is because there is no explanation for that. It’s kind of like he had me on his scorecard winning three rounds, and it looks like in the final round he was like, ‘Oh my God, I cannot let this happen! I’ll just switch my mind and give a 10-8.’
“In our sport, 10-8 is when a fighter cannot do anything,” she continued. “He just goes in the round, running around from the opponent and trying to survive. This is 10-8. But you could see in the fifth round, it’s not even close to a 10-8. In the standup, all the hits that I was hitting were hard hits, and I felt that a few of them, they landed very hard to her and she was kind of shook up. I felt it. It’s completely not a 10-8. Control doesn’t mean 10-8. Control, is nothing. Damage, there wasn’t any damage like that in the final round.
“I want to hear it from him, to say otherwise,” Shevchenko concluded. “I want to hear it from him to say that was not the reason why. I want to hear from him why it was three rounds, me winning, and then suddenly decide, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to let it happen. 10-8.’ It’s good it was not 10-7. [Laughs.]”
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