Alexa Grasso retained the UFC women’s flyweight champion as she battled Valentina Shevchenko to a split draw in an epic encounter that headlined Noche UFC at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Six months after shocking the world by submitting Shevchenko to become the first Mexican woman to hold gold in the UFC, Grasso sought to prove that her victory was no fluke on a card built to celebrate Mexican Independence Day in front of a rabid crowd.
And it almost ended in a similar fashion as the first fight.
With the fight hanging in the balance, a failed Shevchenko takedown attempt saw Grasso take her back and go for another neck crank, the same finish that won her the title. However, Shevchenko managed to fight off the submission as the fight came to a close.
Judge Mike Bell awarded Grasso a 10-8 round, which resulted in a 47-47 scorecard and offset the 48-47 Grasso and 48-47 Shevchenko scorecards for the draw.
Prior to those high-stakes final moments, Grasso and Shevchenko were engaged in a thrilling back-and-forth encounter that was filled with dramatic moments throughout.
After pacing the fight with her jab and counterpunching in the first round, Shevchenko found herself on her backside when Grasso erupted with a counter right hand that put the former champion down. Shevchenko recovered quickly but found herself on the receiving end of punches and knees in the clinch along the fence.
The pendulum swung back in Shevchenko’s favor in round three when she secured a takedown and swiftly transitioned to a mounted guillotine. Grasso fought her way out of the choke but was controlled by Shevchenko for the rest of the round.
The fourth round was relatively even as Grasso scored early with borderline illegal knees and a slam, but Shevchenko scored with her jab in a closely contested round.
Shevchenko appeared to be pulling away in the fifth and busted Grasso up with short elbows and combinations. But an ill-fated takedown attempted ruined the goodwill that Shevchenko had earned and nearly cost her the fight.
Given the thrilling battle, could a third fight be on the horizon?
Noche UFC full card results
- Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko ends in a split draw (48-47, 47-48 & 47-47); Grasso retains for the UFC flyweight title
- Jack Della Maddalena def. Kevin Holland via split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 28-29)
- Raul Rosas Jr. def. Terrence Mitchell via 1st round TKO (punches) (:54)
- Daniel Zellhuber def. Christos Giagos via 2nd round submission (anaconda choke) (3:26)
- Kyle Nelson def. Fernando Padilla via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27)
- Lupita Godinez def. Elise Reed via 2nd round submission (rear naked choke) (3:37)
- Roman Kopylov def. Josh Fremd via 2nd round TKO (body punch) (4:44)
- Edgar Chairez and Daniel Lacerda ends in a No Decision (3:47)
- Tracy Cortez def. Jasmine Jasudavicius via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28)
- Charlie Campbell def. Alex Reyes via 1st round TKO (punches) (3:38)
- Josefine Lindgren Knutsson def. Marnic Mann via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25 & 30-27)
How to watch Noche UFC: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko 2
|Date||Channel + Live Stream (main card)|
|United States||Sat. September 16||ESPN+, ESPN|
|Canada||Sat. September 16||BELL, Rogers, Shaw, SaskTel, Videotron, Telus, Eastlink|
|United Kingdom||Sun. September 17||TNT Sports|
|Australia||Sun. September 17||Main Event on Kayo|
The prelims and main card for Noche UFC will be available on ESPN and the ESPN+ streaming service.