Grasso Retains Title By Split Draw Following Technical Battle With Shevchenko

Las Vegas has hosted boxing events on Mexican Independence Day for three decades, and this past weekend MMA became part of the special weekend as the UFC hosted their first-ever Mexican Independence Day event, headlined by a rematch between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title.

The event, titled Noche UFC, emanated from Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena and saw Grasso retain her Championship after a 5-round battle by split draw.

Throughout the fight, the main event competitors showed high level skill and tactical instinct, both on the feet and during grappling exchanges. Shevchenko worked well behind her jab, and really made Grasso pay for being a step behind in speed. Meanwhile, the Mexican champion made the necessary adjustments that led to her finding the right opportunities to land huge punches, most notably the straight right that dropped Shevchenko in round-2.

Shevchenko bounced back in the third round, and took things to the canvas by changing her level to shoot for, and complete, the double-leg takedown. In addition to racking up points in the judges eyes by adding to the multiple takedowns she achieved in the first two rounds, Shevchenko also found herself in an opportunistic situation as she latched on to Grasso’s neck and attempted to end the night with a mounted guillotine.

Thanks to an extreme level of fortitude, Grasso was somehow able to survive the choke, but Shevchenko would remain in complete control while threatening additional submission attempts for the rest of the round.

The championship rounds of the fight were very closely fought, but a pivotal moment in the fifth opened up a massive opportunity for Grasso to end the evening on a dominant note. In the back half of the round, Shevchenko decided to take a risk and attempt to execute a throw from a standing head and arm position, despite the success she was finding in the stand-up battle. This proved to be a crucial error, as Grasso countered the throw beautifully and slipped to Shevchenko’s back and found herself in top position.

Grasso remained in complete control for the rest of the fight while threatening the rear naked choke, which she submitted Shevchenko with in their first meeting back in March at UFC 285. While she was unable to finish the fight, this turning point saved her from an almost sure-thing decision loss.

While many disagree with the split draw that this bout resulted in, mainly due to the 10-8 round for Grasso on Mike Bell’s scorecard, the fact remains that this fight really could have gone either way.

Official Result: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko Ends in a Draw (Split) – 48-47, 47-48, 47-47

 

Official Scorecards:

 

Reactions:

 

 

Full Card Results:

 

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  • Main Event: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko Ends in a Draw (Split) – 48-47, 47-48, 47-47
  • Co-Main: Jack Della Maddalena def. Kevin Holland via Decision (Split)
  • Raul Rosas Jr. def. Terrence Mitchell via KO (Punches from Mount) – Round 1, 0:54
  • Daniel Zellhuber def. Christos Giagos via Submission (Anaconda Choke) – Round 2, 3:26
  • Kyle Nelson def. Fernando Padilla via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Lupita Godinez def. Elise Reed via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 2, 3:38
  • Roman Kopylov def. Josh Fremd via KO (Liver Punch) – Round 2, 4:44
  • Edgar Cháirez vs. Daniel Lacerda Ends in a No Contest (Premature Stoppage) – Round 1, 3:47
  • Tracy Cortez def. Jasmine Jasudavicius via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Charlie Campbell def. Alex Reyes via KO (Left Hook / Right Straight) – Round 1, 3:38
  • Josefine Knutsson def. Marnic Mann via Decision (Unanimous)
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