Valentina Shevchenko is coming back with a vengeance.
Until she fought Alexa Grasso at UFC 285 this past March 2023, Shevchenko had never been finished inside the Octagon or tasted defeat south of 135 pounds. That all changed in round four of their title tilt after a poorly timed spinning kick from “The Bullet” resulted in Grasso’s ultimate capitalization.
Grasso pulled off the massive upset via a nasty face crank (watch highlights) in the pair’s first encounter. Shevchenko, 35, has already promised that her downfall won’t happen again. Now, she’s taking her intensity to a whole new level ahead of their rematch at Noche UFC in Las Vegas next weekend (Sat., Sept. 16, 2023).
“There’s only one [way it plays out],” Shevchenko told Low Kick MMA. “I go in there for the victory. I go there to destroy my opponent. I go there [not to] play. I go there not to joke around. I go there to take what is mine and show not the best version, the greatest version of me.
“I don’t have life after the fight,” she continued. “I don’t have plans after the fight. I don’t have anything. My life has the end [on] September 16. This is what I live now. My focus is September 16.”
Shevchenko appeared to be borderline unstoppable at Flyweight before the Grasso fight. The Kyrgyzstan native went on a nine-fight winning streak with seven of those coming in title fights, a women’s record in the promotion. The former champion is 1-1 in rematches, defeating the future Bellator champion, Liz Carmouche, and suffering a close split decision loss to former Bantamweight and Featherweight queenpin, Amanda Nunes.
As for the current champion, Mexico’s Grasso has been perfect since her move to 125 pounds from Strawweight in August 2020. Grasso seeks a sixth straight win in the division when rematching the all-time great Shevchenko.